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Post-Bariatric Surgery Nutrition: Stage 4

At 6 weeks, you'll begin your long-term way of eating. This is how you'll need to eat for the rest of your life to maintain the effectiveness of your weight loss surgery. You still won't be able to eat as much as you did pre-surgery without feeling sick. You should aim to reach your daily protein goal through whole foods, rather than protein shakes or supplements.

Once you reach this stage, any texture of food is safe. Try one new food at a time to see what you can tolerate. If it doesn't sit well the first time, try again a couple of weeks later or prepare it differently next time.

How to eat during Stage 4:

Suggested eating schedule:

  • Breakfast – 30 minutes to an hour after waking
  • Mid-morning snack – two to three hours after breakfast
  • Lunch – two hours after mid-morning snack
  • Mid-afternoon snack – two to three hours after lunch
  • Dinner – two hours after midafternoon snack
  • Nighttime snack – two hours before bed

Use the post-surgery Plate Method:

  • 3 oz – 4 oz of lean protein (about the size of a deck of cards)
  • ½ cup non-starchy vegetables or fruit
  • ¼ cup (or one-half piece) fiber-rich whole grains or starchy vegetables
Bariatric Surgery Balanced Plate

Other Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet Tips

  • Take 20 – 30 minutes to thoroughly chew and swallow your food.
  • Protein should make up at least half of each meal.
  • Eat protein foods first, fruits and vegetables second, and whole grains or starchy vegetables third.
  • Foods can be cooked using cooking spray or small amounts of healthy fats, such as olive or avocado oil.
  • Pasta and rice should be overcooked until mushy to keep them from expanding in your stomach. They should also be eaten in small amounts.
  • Foods can be mixed with nonfat mayonnaise or nonfat salad dressing.
  • Avoid or limit foods that contain sugar.  Sweets can cause dumping syndrome and decrease your weight loss. Opt instead for eating fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • DO NOT drink fluids while eating or for 30 minutes afterward.
  • DO continue sipping liquids throughout the rest of the day (40 – 60 ounces total).
  • Stop eating when you feel satisfied.
  • Do not consume alcohol until one year post-surgery.

Physical Activity

Moving your body is essential to optimal health, and any physical activity is better than none! Physical activity will aid in your weight loss and your long-term weight maintenance. Exercise can also help relieve fatigue, prevent loose skin, fight disease, increase "feel good" endorphins, improve self-esteem, and protect bone density. Start small, but do start.

There are three key areas you should focus on when it comes to exercise:

Cardio – Burns Calories and Gives You More Energy

Get a minimum of 150 minutes continuous exercise of moderate intensity every week (30 – 45 minutes five times per week).

Strength Training – Keeps Your Lean Muscle Mass

When it comes to strength training, it's important to start slow. Start with 1 pound to 5 pound weights, then increase weight once you can do three sets of 15 – 20 reps. If you feel sharp pain, don't try to push through it. Stop and try a different exercise.

Lunges, squats, and lifting weights are all great exercises for strength training. Sit-ups, crunches, or other core exercises can also be an excellent toning exercise and can produce greater core strength to prevent future injuries.

Flexibility – Prevents Injuries

Flexibility training is important to help you avoid injuring yourself. If you feel sore or tight after your workout, flexibility training can help. It can also help you avoid straining yourself when you're running or lifting weights. When you're stretching, it's important to be careful. Take each stretch slowly and hold it for 10 seconds – don't bounce up and down. Go far enough that you feel a burn, but pull back if you feel sharp pain.

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