Bariatric (weight loss) surgery is an approach to weight loss typically reserved for those individuals who have a BMI of more than 40 (morbidly obese) and who have been unable to lose weight despite sincere and prolonged efforts. Gastric (stomach) bypass may also be used for those individuals whose weight is threatening health and life.
This kind of surgery will indeed cause weight reduction. However, it also changes the way one eats because the natural pathway of food has been disrupted. Eating habits will need to be changed because the size of the stomach has been greatly reduced and you will have a feeling of "being full" after consuming much smaller amounts of food.
Members of the surgical team will provide you will information and guidance about the kinds of foods you can...and cannot...eat. Following are some general guidelines as to what you may expect.
Immediately following the surgery your diet will consist of 'pureed' foods (liquid) for two or three weeks and then soft foods will gradually be added according to your tolerance. Eventually you will be eating regular foods again but in much smaller amounts. You will eventually be able to eat larger amounts of food at one sitting because usable stomach pouch will stretch a bit. However, you must not attempt to artificially stretch the pouch by eating excessively. Your body is no longer designed to process large amounts of food.
You will need to eat more slowly than you most likely have in the past. You will need to puree your food with your teeth and the chemicals (enzymes) that are naturally present in the inside of your mouth before you swallow. This will take some practice but you've been through more difficult challenges than learning to chew slower. You can do it.
Remember this tiny pouch that is now your stomach, when stretched, will hold less than one-fourth of its previous capacity. If you swallow food that has not been thoroughly chewed, you may cause a blockage of the opening between your stomach and the intestine. This will cause nausea, vomiting, or a sensation of deep pain under your breastbone. Therefore:
1. Chew your food until it is smooth.
2. Eat slowly. Allow 20-30 minutes for each meal.
3. Eat small amounts.
4. Stop eating at the first feeling of fullness.
5. Keep a food journal and note which foods give you distress.
6. Increase your daily intake of fluids but do not drink anything during your meal or for thirty minutes after your food. (Mealtime is to fill the small stomach pouch with food...not liquid.)
7. When you drink liquids, don't gulp. Sip slowly over a period of time.
8. Follow the diet your surgeon has outlines for you. This will ensure that your intake is nutritious.
The decision to have gastric bypass surgery is a big one. Follow your post-operative instructions to the letter and call your surgeon whenever you have problems.
If you want to avoid this unsavory scenario, Look at this "eating plan" 1st.
By Sue Bristol, R.N.
There is only one correct way to eat.
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