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Successful bariatric surgery is about much more than the operation. It’s also about what you do before and after surgery to help you reach your goals. Working closely with a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist is one of the most important steps you can take.
“Your diet is a key part of your bariatric surgery journey,” says renowned bariatric surgeon Gustavo E. Bello, MD, FACS. “A dietitian can help you better understand nutrition and smart food choices for before and after surgery that will ultimately benefit your whole health, too.”
Before Bariatric Surgery
In the months leading up to bariatric surgery, your care team may recommend that you participate in a physician-monitored diet. Some health insurance plans require this as a condition of coverage.
During this time, you can work with a dietitian who can teach you how to improve your current eating habits. For example, you could learn how to rework some of your favorite dishes or make healthy food choices without sacrificing flavor.
In the weeks leading up to your surgery, you may follow a special pre-op diet. Your bariatric surgeon and dietitian may ask you to drink low-calorie shakes in place of some meals, for instance.
“Our team will work closely with you in the weeks and days leading up to your procedure and outline steps for you to follow,” says Dr. Bello. “The closer you adhere to your surgeon’s guidance, the better your outcomes can be after surgery.”
After Bariatric Surgery
After your surgery, your body needs ample time to heal, and the right diet can make all the difference. Your dietitian may have you start out on a liquid diet and gradually move to pureed and soft foods before returning to a more regular diet.
At this point, you’ll likely work with your dietitian to devise a safe, realistic eating plan. Your bariatric surgeon and dietitian may advise you to:
- Consume 60 to 100 grams of protein per day: this helps maintain your muscles during rapid weight loss
- Drink plenty of fluids: for example, drinking at least 64 ounces per day helps prevent dehydration, constipation and kidney stones
- Limit foods high in added sugars or refined carbs: this can lead to better weight-loss results
- Take certain vitamin and mineral supplements daily: this is because some procedures reduce the amount of nutrients your body absorbs from food
Follow-up visits with your dietitian can help you stay on course with your progress. At every stage, your bariatric surgery journey can go smoothly with an expert dietitian by your side — and the guidance you receive can help you stay healthier for longer, too.
“After your procedure, the healthy eating plan that you develop with your dietitian can turn into healthy habits to last a lifetime,” says Dr. Bello.
Get Started With Bariatric Care That Works for You
At AdventHealth, our weight-loss solutions are tailored to fit your needs. That’s why we offer support to optimize your lifestyle — think diet and exercise — alongside proven bariatric surgery options from leading providers like Dr. Bello.
We’ll work hand-in-hand with you to understand your needs and goals so you can achieve meaningful results and feel whole in body, mind and spirit. Click here to learn more about our personalized bariatric and weight-loss options and get started today.