This article is part of a series on Living Well after Gastric Bypass that covers diet, nutrition, and weight control. Read the first article in the series here.
My experience with my bariatric surgeon's support group is that it was useful in preparing me pre-surgery and for a short-term post-op in managing my new anatomy. However, it did little to educate me on how to maintain lifetime obesity disease management. My surgeon told me, "I do the surgery. The rest is up to you." So, in this series of posts, I will discuss the tools that I use to sustain long-term weight loss following bariatric surgery.
The tools I use: Pouch Rules for Dummies
The pouch rules are often overlooked once a patient is further out from his/her weight loss surgery. Yet the rules are one of the most important tools to use for maintaining long-term weight loss after obesity surgery. If you haven't been using this tool, now is the time to take it off the shelf and use it to perform its intended task.
Let's be clear on what "the pouch" is: As part of the gastric bypass weight loss surgery part of the stomach is used to form a small pouch, which is separated from the rest of the stomach and connected directly to the small intestine. Food enters the small stomach pouch then exits directly into the intestines, bypassing the normal caloric absorption process. This is a simplified explanation of gastric bypass and suffices for the purpose of this sharepost.
Thinking back to my own bariatric surgery, I don't believe that my surgeon really discussed the pouch rules or stressed their importance with me. So, I am really glad that I came across the "Pouch Rules for Dummies" published on the Internet.
The document is 10-pages and reading it is well-worth your time. Following these rules should be a lifestyle - it will help you achieve lifetime obesity management! I'll share some of my favorite nuggets of information in this Sharepost. First and foremost:
A common problem is obesity surgery patients who, after a year or two out from their surgery, plateau at a level above their goal weight or regain some of their initial weight lost. These patients return to the pouch rules: Fill themselves quickly with hard to digest foods, water load between meals, and increase exercise. The weight should come off more easily than if they followed conventional diets designed for the average overweight individual that has not have obesity surgery.
Patients should be careful not to follow the advice given to the average overweight individual, which is to eat several small meals and/or substitute a liquid protein meal for a solid food meal. This is not the way to go for obesity surgery patients!
My personal experience confirms this to be true. I recently tried two highly regarded diets, neither of which resulted in weight loss after several months. I returned to the pouch rules and lost 10lbs in one month.