Let’s start with taking a couple of steps back, two weeks to be precise, and see what our diet of the week before and after surgery is going to look like. So you’ve completed your surgery, or know someone that has completed their gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy surgery. Now what are we going to eat?
Diet of The Week Pre-Op | 2 Weeks Prior
Yes, two weeks before your Bariatric surgery, you will need to start a strict diet. Why? Well, you are overweight and it’s important that you put your body and even more importantly, your liver on this diet. Being overweight also causes your liver to be overweight. Which is a surgical risk.
Fortunately, your liver responds quickly and will reduce to a safer size if a strict diet is followed. Not only this, since you’ll be on a diet for the rest of your life, this is good practice!
Example of a Gastric Sleeve Surgery Diet of The Week Pre-Op
First and foremost follow your surgeon’s recommendations for the diet of the week Pre-Op. There should not be much deviation from the following:
- Remove Sugars (complete remove candy, juice, soda, and candy)
- Increase Protein intake (consume lean meat)
- Reduce carbohydrate intake (eliminate breads, cereals, rice, and pasta)
Who said this was going to be easy?
It is extremely important that you follow this diet for the entire two weeks. This diet is what will reduce the size of your liver and reduce the associated surgical risk.
Let’s take a typical day’s diet of the week if your within the two-week window:
- Breakfast (Protein shake with NO sugar)
- Lunch (Lean meat and vegetables)
- Dinner (Lean meat and vegetables)
Throughout the day make sure you drink plenty of fluids. This can be most anything without sugar and with reduced calories.
Two Days Before Your Surgery
Surgeons vary in their methods. Be mindful of what your surgeon recommends, but generally their approach will be to completely cut-out any caffeine and carbonated drinks.
Additionally, many surgeons will recommend a liquid only diet. Now this can include broth, such as chicken or beef, any sugar free non-carbonated beverages, and don’t forget the yummy protein shake.
Diet of The Week For Post Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Good job, you’ve made it. Think back to your pre-op diet (or scroll up the page). That pre-op diet is going to seem like a steak and seafood dinner compared to the next 1-4 weeks. Seriously.
As with the diet of the week pre-op, it is extremely important to follow the post-op diet. Even more so because you do not want complications because you broke down and consumed a slice of pizza or an ice cream sundae. These complications will not be minor. You do not want to go back under the knife.
As an aside, warn your family and friends that you will not be the most ‘friendly’ of individuals. Why? There are many physical and psychological reasons that this article on Depression after Bariatric Surgery explain very well.
It’s important not to second guess your decision at this point. You had the gastric sleeve surgery for your health and to prolong your life. Period.
Let’s take a look at the scrumptious diet for post-op weeks 1-4
Diet of The Week One
Clear liquids only! Let’s list them out, and remember, No Sugar!
- Jell-O (sugar free)
- Popsicle’s (sugar free)
- Tea (decaf)
- Coffee (decaf)
- Non carbonated sugar free drinks
Diet of The Week Two
Remember, follow your surgeons recommendation. Your week two diet will look something like this:
- Non-fat ice cream (sugar free)
- Sorbet (sugar free)
- Yogurt (non-fat)
- Soup broth with noodles
- Diluted no-sugar Juice
- Oatmeal (very thin and watery)
- Protein powdered shake (sugar free)
- Pudding (sugar free)
- Applesauce (sugar free)
Check out all the food. A virtual cornucopia of delectable delicacies. Actually, it is isn’t it, compared to the last several weeks. Keep going, two weeks remaining.
Diet of The Week Three
Okay, now the real food can starts to come back into your diet. Whew! You will still need to have greatly reduced intake of fats and sugars. The food will also need to be pureed.
It is important to mention is that as you begin to introduce pureed food back into your diet, to do it slowly and recognize that your body is different than it was pre-surgery. You may easily get an upset stomach or diarrhea and also your tolerance for diary products may be well reduced.
You are now allowed to take in 50-60 grams of protein per day.
- Ground chicken and/or beef.
- Steamed vegetables
- Soft cheeses (watch the fat value here)
- Steamed fish
- Mashed fruits (bananas, apples, peaches, and some canned low sugar fruit)
- Scrambles eggs
- Cottage cheese (low fat)
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Protein shake mixed with coconut or almond milk is tasty
Diet of The Week Four
Home stretch does not mean it’s time for Home Town Buffet! Great job getting this far.
Kick the pureed foods to the curb, but maintain your vigilance around softer foods. It has only been 3-4 weeks since your surgery and your body is still healing.
- Protein shakes (you should know by now these things are never going away, so just enjoy)
- Beef and Chicken – chew well
- Baked potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Vegetables (still steam them to make them soft)
- Tea and Coffee (don’t go overboard here, start light)
Diet of The Weeks 1-4 Complete. Now What?
It is still extremely important to follow any advice and recommendations that your surgeon provided and not to deviate. For the most part you are out of the woods and well on your way to being a much more healthy human, both inside and out.
Some good rules to follow post week four.
- Maintain your three meals a day routine
- No sodas!
- Start an exercise routine
- Maintain your intake of 50-60 grams of protein
- You know I’m going to put it here… Protein shakes!
- Daily vitamin regiment
- Drink plenty of fluids (low sugar) throughout the day to stay hydrated
- Snacks: Vegetables and fruits (No, not corn chips or chili cheese fries. These are no longer considered snacks, ever!)
As you’ve been told, it is not going to be a bed of roses every single day. Make mental preparations for those days when you’re feeling down. Seek out other individuals that have gone through a similar surgery. There are plenty of Facebook groups to help with and cope with the tough times.
Foods to avoid after Gastric Sleeve Surgery
It is probably safe to say here, that anything you enjoyed prior to surgery should be avoided. Let’s list some for good measure.
- Fried foods
- Whole milk and other whole milk products
- Carbonated sugary drinks
- High carbohydrate and low nutritional value foods (pasta, pizza, fries, etc.)
- Asparagus and celery (okay, perhaps this is the real reason you wanted the surgery?)
As with all weight loss surgeries and procedures, modifications of behavior and dietary compliance with a strict weekly diet is critical in determining your long term success.
All surgery presents a risk. Weight, age, and medical history determine your specific risks. Ask your doctor if gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery, sleeve gastrectomy, or related weight loss surgery is right for you.