GET STARTED Start your journey with our “Do I Qualify” questionnaire

Nutrition Aftercare

Nutrition Aftercare

Weight Loss Surgery’s
Nutrition Aftercare

There are two parts to bariatric surgery. The first is the surgery itself which changes the volume you can eat and hunger that you feel. Then we have the nutrition part that will last you the rest of your life, which will optimize your success, help maintain your efforts in the long term, and improve your overall health in the future.
There is no doubt that the nutrition component is a vital one after surgery, which is why we have an expert dietitian on our team to guide you both before and after surgery. No bariatric surgery medical practice is complete without an established nutrition program. All of the services mentioned below are included in the price of the surgery.

Before and After Your Surgery

Before Your Surgery:
You will meet with our dietitian to review your current eating habits and to discuss how to eat after surgery. You will be provided access to all the nutrition and vitamin documents before this appointment so that you may review these and prepare a list of questions, if you prefer.
You will receive a free hard-copy of the book “The Complete Guide to Weight Loss Surgery: Your questions finally answered”, co-authored by our very own dietitian, Monica Bashaw.
You will be on a low-calorie liquid shake diet for 2-4 weeks before your surgery. The dietitian will provide you with the shakes and explain everything you will need to get through this mandatory diet before surgery.
After Your Surgery:
Your diet progresses very slowly after surgery to give your stomach the time it needs to heal. You will follow a liquid menu for 2-3 weeks, then a puree menu for another 2-3 weeks, and then slowly you’ll transition to soft and easy to digest regular texture foods.
You will have appointments with the dietitian at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after your surgery. In between these appointments, you will be able to email and call your dietitian as often as you need. If you’re experiencing digestive issues, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty drinking enough water, etc., she can provide tips and support.

What can I expect eating to be like after surgery?

Below is a list of the 12 Golden Rules to follow after bariatric surgery for optimal results. You may choose to begin following some of these recommendations. If you have any concerns, you can discuss these with our dietitian at your first consultation. Rest assured that our dietitian is very experienced and happy to work with you and your lifestyle to make your surgery a long term success.
01. Have 3 meals + 2-3 snacks every day.
Eating every 2-3 hours is very important.
02. Aim for around 1 cup of total food at meals and snacks.
Your portions at meals and snacks will increase slowly over time. Most of our patients reach 1 cup of food between 3-8 months after surgery. It’s a process!
03. Eat slowly and chew your food really well.
Patients who eat quickly after surgery and don’t chew well enough have a lot of issues with nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. After surgery, digestion needs to start in your mouth!
04. Meet your protein goals most days.
Your dietitian will calculate your daily protein goal for you. In the beginning, you’ll need to rely on protein supplements (ex. protein shakes, protein powders, protein water, etc.) in combination with your food to meet your goal. As time goes by, you will eventually be able to reach your protein goal with food alone.
05. Have fruit and vegetables daily.
Although protein is one of the most important nutrients after bariatric surgery, fruit and vegetables are still important! These high fiber food groups provide many important nutrients and their fiber helps prevent constipation.
06. Choose high fiber grain products often.
In the beginning, lower fiber grain products are easier to digest. Longer-term however, it’s important to transition back to higher fiber products like whole grain bread, high fiber crackers, quinoa, etc.
07. Avoid drinking and eating at the same time. Stop drinking 15 minutes before eating and wait 30 minutes after eating.
This recommendation is key to avoiding digestive issues and to help you feel satisfied on small portions. Not following this guideline is a major reason for weight regain in the years after surgery.
08. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks.
Water should be your drink of choice after surgery. If you consider yourself a soda addict and/or currently don’t drink any water, this is one to start working on now.
09. Limit sweets and salty junk food.
After surgery it will be up to you to find a new balance with these foods. Ideally the goal is to have these foods less often, and when you do, to taste rather than fully indulge.
10. Avoid eating for stress, anger, anxiety, etc. on a regular basis. Find healthier ways to manage your emotions.
Emotional eating is a normal response to uncomfortable emotions for most people, however it can’t be your only coping strategy. Working with a psychologist, reading books on mindful/intuitive eating, exercising, practicing meditation, etc. are all good starting points to developing new coping strategies.
11. Take your vitamins every day.
After surgery you will need to take vitamins daily for the rest of your life.
12. Plan for blood tests at 6 and 12 months after surgery and then annually.
Blood tests after surgery are done with your family doctor. It’s your responsibility to be proactive and book these appointments.

Are there foods that I will no longer be able to eat after surgery?

The following are a list of foods to avoid or limit after surgery and the reasons why. If you have any concerns about any of the foods listed being a ‘favorite’ food, our dietitian will work with you to understand how some of these may still occasionally be included in your diet, or provide you with tips to be able to better manage some cravings for these foods.
Food product
  • Concentrated sweets
  • Sugar, juice, pastries, cookies, cake, ice cream, candy/chocolate bars, honey, maple syrup, jam, etc.
  • Dumping syndrome; reactive hypoglycemia; weight gain (when consumed in high amounts regularly)
  • Greasy/High fat foods
  • Fatty meats, skin on poultry, bacon, sausage, added fats (i.e. excess butter, excess oil), heavy cream sauces, fried foods, etc.
  • Dumping syndrome; weight gain (when consumed in high amounts regularly)
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Soda, mineralized water, sparkling water, beer, etc.
  • Heartburn; Bloating; Increased cravings for junk food and/or fast food
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, etc.
  • Heartburn; Poor sleep. Limit to 400 mg per day (ex. 3-4 cups of regular coffee). Be mindful of how many calories you’re adding to your coffee and tea (i.e. cream, sugar, flavoured syrups, etc.)
  • Alcohol
  • Beer, wine, spirits, etc.
  • Heartburn; Weight gain and stomach ulcers (when consumed in high amounts regularly). Avoid alcohol completely for the first 3-6 months after surgery. Note: There are higher rates of alcohol abuse after bariatric surgery, specifically after the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure.
  • Soft “doughy” grain products
  • Untoasted breads, pasta, rice, etc.
  • Dysphagia (“stuck” feeling when swallowing) for some patients
  • Fibrous foods
  • Celery, artichokes, raw broccoli, corn, lettuce, pork chops, barbecued steak, etc.
  • High fiber food and dry meats are harder to digest. It takes most patients many months after to be able to eat these foods comfortably.

Other Nutrition FAQ's

Will I need to take vitamins after surgery?
Yes, you will be prescribed vitamins for life after surgery which will be important for your health lifelong. Our dietitian will walk you through the vitamin regimen and can recommend alternative options, if needed.
What if I need extra nutrition support aside from the planned appointments with the dietitian?
Once you have met with our dietitian, you will be provided with their contact information. If you ever have questions, problems, or just need support because you’re having a hard time with the nutrition changes after surgery, our dietitian will always be available for you to contact in between your appointments.
What if I want to be followed by a dietitian longer than 6 months?
While the surgery fees include support up to and including 6 months after your surgery, we recommend longer term follow-up with expert bariatric dietitians. We have been referring our patients for many years to Bariatric Surgery Nutrition, a team of expert dietitians who we highly recommend. Rest assured that you will be in good hands.
Nutrition Aftercare Monica Bashaw good