You just had bariatric surgery and are home from the hospital - now what? Before surgery and as you were getting discharged, you were given detailed instructions on what to do for your diet until you are seen in your bariatric surgeon's office again. However, many patients find themselves overwhelmed with information and still unsure where to start. Now is the time that all the practiced behaviors of eating slow, taking small sips, staying hydrated, and focusing on protein become real.
One of the most important things after any surgery is hydration. Dehydration can happen very easily after surgery for several reasons. One-third of all post-op emergency room visits are related to dehydration1. The ASMBS recommends that patients consume enough fluids throughout the day to maintain adequate hydration (at least 1.5L per day2). Throughout your entire post-op experience, make sure you are taking small sips of fluids all day. You can even play around with the temperature of your fluids to help you increase your intake.
Typically, you will follow a specific diet progression for the first 6 weeks that will take you from liquids to solids slowly. The progression is needed to promote hydration, reduce nausea/vomiting, reduce complications, and allow you to get comfortable with behavioral changes3. When it comes to the diet stages and length of each stage, you’ll find that every surgeon will have their own preferences, and it's important to follow their guidelines. Following are some diet stages you might find. If you are ever unsure what to do, call your surgeon’s office to clarify instructions.
Keep in mind: each day after your surgery, you will feel more and more like yourself. No matter how great you’re feeling, follow your diet progression as instructed by your bariatric surgeon, as this will allow you long-term success.
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