Once you have had gastric bypass surgery, the chapter in your life that was poor health and low self-esteem will end and the chapter that is the transition to improved health will begin. Your job is to realize that while your life has improved, the choices you make after gastric bypass surgery will determine whether that change is permanent or not.
Hopefully, you have had a number of meaningful conversations with your bariatric treatment team by now. If so, they will have drafted an honest plan of what is needed to succeed in achieving and maintaining significant weight loss following your bariatric surgery.
They also will have been equally honest about the effort that is needed to best ensure that success. In other words, they shared with you that recovery is often challenging and can even be difficult at times. My promise to you is that it is doable.
Changing Your Eating Habits
Change is the operative word. You will be required to change your diet and begin a program of exercise. You will be required to take bariatric supplements to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These changes are for a lifetime… a lifetime of obesity disease management. It is worth it; you are worth it.
As your bariatric diet plan progresses and normal eating standards rebound, it might be suggested that you eat a number of smaller meals per day rather than the conventional three. Eating as assigned and as planned is acceptable.
A number of experts are recommending several smaller meals per day rather than the usual three. Eating at regulated intervals maintains blood sugar levels and prevents a mid-afternoon energy fade. Eating every few hours will also add nutrition that could be missing from the smaller meals you are eating after gastric bypass.
The Difference Between Snacking and Grazing
A return to the poor eating habits that preceded gastric bypass surgery will result in unwanted weight gain. Grazing is among those poor habits.
Healthy snacking is beneficial. It is planned as part of your baratric diet but is not meant to replace meals. Small bits of select foods between meals actually can reduce your intake of calories by reducing your appetite come meal time. Snacks should be carefully assessed though. Fruit or vegetables with lean protein are always good choices.
Snacking is eating planned food between meals. Grazing is mindless daylong feeding. Snacks are planned with consideration to nutrition and calories while grazing is a constant eating that never completely satisfies hunger. Mindful selection of snacks results in an energy boost and fueling of the body. Grazing rarely has any nutritional value. Grazing defeats the gastric bypass because too many empty calories are consumed and absorbed.
Wise Snack Choices
Carefully selected snacks will help avoid poor eating habits and unwanted weight gain two-, five-, ten-years and out from your gastric bypass surgery. Wise snacks for the bariatric patient are those that are high in protein, low in sugar and carbohydrates, and unprocessed. Foods that are rich in calcium, vitamins, and minerals are desirable. Some good choices are protein bars and protein shakes, leftover turkey and chicken, shrimp or tuna salad made with plain Greek yogurt, fresh berries, and hard-boiled eggs.
Some Tips to Avoid Grazing
Keeping prior poor eating habits at bay sometimes can be difficult when you are two-, five-, or ten-years out from your gastric bypass surgery. Therefore, a more sensible approach might be to avoid getting back into the habit at all.
Here are some good practices to develop: When snacking, fill your plate and eat only what is on it and no more. Snack without distractions and give full attention to eating (mindful eating). One serving is sufficient; do not immediately return to the kitchen for a second helping. Practice moderation.
Finally, plan your snacks as you would a meal. Mindful eating is a great pre-intervention.
Living After WLS http://www.livingafterwls.com/Library/Snacking%20Grazing.html - accessed 5/1/12
SparkPeople http://www.commonhealth.virginia.gov/documents/SnackingHealthy061509.pdf - accessed 5/1/12
Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindfu-eating/200902/mindful-eating accessed 4/20/12
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My Story… You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.