Your eating habits are part of your post-op success
Bariatric surgery isn’t the start of another diet. But a 180-degree lifestyle change. Changing your lifestyle is hard. Unlearning the patterns that shaped you over the years is a process that takes time.
You have to work on changing your habits each and every single day. Eating habits are a part of your post-op succes. Let’s look at 3 habits that will help you in your bariatric journey.
#1 Mindful eating
Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your pouch to let your brain know that you’re full? When you chew well, you’ll allow yourself to notice your satiety (fullness) cues better. This will prevent overeating and unnecessary pouch stretching.
Here are 7 things you can do to practice mindful eating:
- Put down your utensils in between bites
- Push your plate away every time you take a bite
- Pay attention to your satiety cues. It’s best to stop eating before you’re full. Satiety cues can look like: burps, hiccups, bland tasting food and slower eating
- Eat your meals at the dinner table
- Stop eating your meals in front of the TV
- Chew at least 20 times on each bite (or at least until the food has the texture of apple sauce). This is a part of the 20/20/20 rule!
- Don’t put food in your mouth when there’s food in your mouth
Allow yourself time to change. It may take months or even years of practice before you acquire mindful eating. Everything is a learning process. Give yourself grace along the way. You’ve got this!
#2 Mindful sipping
It’s recommended to take small sips in between your meals after bariatric surgery. Your stomach is reduced to the capacity of 15-20 ml – so take it slow. Pretend like you’re drinking a hot cup of tea – one sip at at time. And keep in mind that there will be a time – months or years later – where it would be possible to gulp. Try to keep on sipping, also years later.
#3 Keeping solids separate from liquids
It’s strongly recommended to keep your solids and your liquids separate once you had bariatric surgery. Mixing solids and liquids can lead to the following complications:
- Protein deficiency: Filling your pouch with liquids during a meal, will take away from the gastric volume. You’ll have less space for nutritious high protein foods. Eventually, this could lead to a protein deficiency or other nutrient deficiencies.
- Dumping syndrome: Mixing solids with liquids can lead to faster gastric emptying – your food may enter your small bowel too quickly. When (high-sugar, high-carbohydrate) foods enter your small bowel too quickly, you may experience dumping syndrome.
- Pouch stretching: Your pouch is designed to shrink and stretch naturally. But if you’re mixing solids and liquids consistently, you could stretch your pouch. You won’t stretch your pouch from overeating once, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Did you know that?
Dumping syndrome happens when high-sugar and high-carbohydrate foods enter the small intestine too quickly.
There is a difference between early dumping and late dumping.
Early dumping usually takes place 10-30 minutes after a meal and cause symptoms like nausea, dizziness, weakness, rapid pulse, cold sweats, fatigue, cramps and diarrhea. Late dumping occurs 1-3 hours after a meal and mimic the symptoms of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels).