IMPORTANT AUTHOR NOTE: As a note for those who are reading this post, please understand that if you have had weight loss surgery, your doctor will give you a list of what you can eat, how much you can eat, and when you can start adding more options to your diet. Always follow your doctor’s advice and understand that each doctor gives different advice.
The first week after surgery you will not be eating much. Mostly, you will be adjusting to having a small pouch. You will be home after 1 to 4 days typically and you will be sore. Your external incisions if your doctor did laproscopic surgery will be small and healing, but the drastic stuff is all internal. You won’t want to eat anything and yet you have to get in your nutrition. You will be having broth, water, and protein shakes which all seem to have a funky aftertaste to them. If you are like many of my WLS (weight loss surgery) friends, you will begin to despise the shakes, although I hear that Premier protein shakes are pretty decent and have less of that after taste. I also liked the Lift protein drinks and the isopure liquid clear drinks, but after a while I even disliked those. I have yet to try the Premier brand.
So, for a week or more you will be on a liquid diet and then you will progress through the pureed stage, soft foods stage, and finally on to real food.
In the pureed stage, I chose to go with Gerber baby foods as it was only for about a week. I have to say, they aren’t half bad. A dash of salt in the meats (not the meats with rice or other stuff…just plain meat) and you have a decently tasty meal. Gerber carrots, and the Gerber pumpkin are awesomely delicious. The best part is that you can toss them in your bag and go. Be sure to bring your spoon though.
I was told to have about 1-2 ounces of protein and about 1-2 ounces of vegetables in this stage. As I was doing a lot of driving during that time, I would literally get in my truck and place my baby food containers on the dash to warm up. By lunchtime I had a perfectly warm meal. If you are at home and decide to microwave the baby food, beware. Only let it go about ten seconds and then open the microwave and stir the baby food before continuing another ten seconds. Of course, “remove the metal lids” should go without saying.
You can also make your own meals and puree them. I made a roast and pureed the meat and carrots. It was divine. Just be careful to not eat too much.
As you progress to the soft foods stage, you can choose eggs, tuna, and cooked vegetables such as broccoli. Just stick with the broccoli head more than the stems as the stems will be too fibrous for your pouch to handle yet. You are typically less than or right at a month out from surgery still at this stage, so you will have to take it easy. This is not a race to see who can eat full meals first. This is all about you and your body healing properly. You will typically be allowed 1-2 ounces of protein and 1-2 ounces of fiber food, but no starches such as peas, dry beans, or corn yet. Those are much later.
By the time you get to real foods you will be allowed 2-4 ounces of protein and 1-2 ounces of fiber foods until you get about 6 months out and you can add some extra items (I am not there yet so I don’t remember offhand what they are). Your doctor or nutritionist will let you know how much liquid and protein you need to have per day. I was told to get 100 grams of protein for my height and weight and at least 80 ounces of liquid. I have asked them about calories and they say to not focus on calories at this stage.
I can tell you that at 82 days now post surgery, breakfast can be the most obnoxious meal of the day. You have some options, but eggs and cheese always seem to make it into my breakfasts somehow. The picture at the top is an egg over easy, topped with chopped up kale , onions, and goat cheese. Sometimes I substitute broccoli for the kale and sometimes I have the egg and cheese with cucumber slices on the side. Other times, when I am over the monotony of eggs and cheese I will have cottage cheese and peaches that have been canned in sugar free liquid. Caution needs to be addressed when eating anything canned as the fruit has natural sugar, and many times the no sugar added marketing does not mean the product is sugar free. Those peaches have natural sugar in them and those juices that they use to can them in are typically concentrated, adding to the sugar levels. So, read the labels, be aware of the terminology, and eat small amounts. Then hope you do not dump. If you do, don’t eat that product anymore.
So I get tired of the eggs. One of the foods I can have is oatmeal, but when you portion it down to the amount you should have, the protein count is pretty low. This morning I had some oatmeal that I had made yesterday and let cool in the pan. Then I threw it in the pan with some coconut oil spray and browned it. Delicious, but only about 3 grams of protein. I had some mandarin oranges with it and then a bit later I had some jerky for another 11 grams of protein. So breakfast this morning was only 14 grams of protein, but it will hold me over for a while until I have a glass of milk (more protein) and then have lunch.
Lunch today will be turkey slices rolled up around cheese and then cut into to small pieces. On the side I will have some cucumber and tomato slices I have been soaking in balsamic vinegar and oil.
Then comes dinner and trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. With WLS, one of the biggest issues is making small portions. When you are used to making big meals for your family to enjoy, it is hard to think in miniscule amounts. My husband and I are still trying to figure out meals that work for the two of us. He has lost about 15 to 20 pounds just from cutting down on the big dinners we used to have that were full of carbs.
Sometimes we will make a meal we can both enjoy and other times we will each just make something that interests us separately. It is just the two of us, so it works for us. I have cut up raw chicken into three to four ounce pieces and laid them flat in a zipper bag and placed them flat in the freezer so that each piece is frozen separately. I can pull out a piece of chicken that is perfect sized for me and cook it up in just a few minutes from frozen to delicious. He has hamburger patties that he will cook up for himself if he just wants something quick. We are pretty easy going when it comes to our meals here.
For those families who have children at home, you will probably begin to cook more healthy options as you go, cutting out the starches, adding in more protein, and getting them to try more vegetables. Just remember that when you go shopping, your meals for yourself are so small at this point that you just don’t need to buy much.
You are learning as you go. Learn! Do! Achieve great results!