Bariatric surgery is a major operation that involve a number of extensive invasive procedures. However, before you can have your procedure it is essential that you follow a strictly calorie-controlled diet. This is to reduce the size of your liver so that it can be safely moved aside during your operation, and to help to minimize the risk of any complications associated with your surgery.
Your bariatric surgeon or dietician will provide you with a comprehensive diet plan to be followed for a specified period of time. This must be followed closely. Many patients feel a powerful urge to have one final “last supper” just ahead of their surgery, but in fact this will reverse some of the liver-reducing effects of your diet and put you at increased risk during your surgery.
Your pre-operative bariatric surgery diet
Your exact diet plan will be provided to you by your dietician or surgeon. However, some general guidelines that you should follow include:
Cut out all alcohol
Stop smoking! Smoking dramatically slows the healing of wounds.
Drink at regular intervals during the day. Make sure you consume at least 2 liters (more if it is a hot day!). Remember that any milk, squash etc should be included in your total calorie count for the day.
Spread your food and drink intake quite evenly throughout the day.
Take a multivitamin and a mineral tablet every day.
If you currently control diabetes or another condition with medication, the dosages may need to be adjusted in line with your reduced calorie intake. You will also need to monitor your blood sugar levels closely to prevent any “hypos”. If you aren’t sure what medication you need to take, please do consult with your surgeon for comprehensive advice.
The diet you are given will typically provide around 100g of carbohydrate per day, moderate levels of protein and be low in fat.
Your post-operative bariatric surgery diet
It will also be a challenging time after your bariatric surgery. During the first few days after the procedure you will only be allowed to drink completely clear liquid. Take small sips as large gulps will probably make you sick. Once you get past this stage you will be able to introduce other liquids such as milk and soup. The amount you can eat will remain very small and you will work your way up to resuming a semi-normal diet. The stages you can expect to pass through include:
Clear liquid only
Other liquids such as milk and juice
Again, your surgeon will provide you with a comprehensive diet plan to follow after your surgery.
What can I do to help?
There are a number of things that you can do to help keep your weight loss on track and sustainable for a healthy future. These include:
Eating and drinking slowly. This helps to keep your blood sugar levels controlled and balanced and helps you to feel fuller quicker.
Keep your meals small. Six smaller meals each day are fetter better for you than three big means. This is because six smaller meals keep your metabolism pumping and burning fat!
Boost your high protein foods. Protein is notoriously difficult to break down, making your body work harder to break it down and keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Avoid “bad” foods. Anything that is heavily processed is bad for your body