By Tabitha Johnson, certified health and life coach at Blossom Bariatrics
Weight-loss surgery is life-changing. At Blossom Bariatrics, we show you the adverse effects of habits like eating sugars, snacking between meals, and drinking alcohol. We also demonstrate the benefits of establishing healthy routines like prioritizing protein-rich foods, finding time for exercise, and attending regular support groups. Committing to this healthy lifestyle sets you up for long-term success after a Sleeve Gastrectomy.
Avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars after weight-loss surgery
Consuming refined carbs and sugars after a sleeve gastrectomy actually causes you to feel hungrier. The National Institute of Health claims sugars and refined carbs lead to overeating for two main reasons.
First, refining strips these foods of all their fiber, minerals, and vitamins. This causes your body to digest them quickly. Unlike foods high in protein and fiber, refined carbs and sugars only satisfy your hunger for around an hour.
Second, because sugars and refined carbs are digested quickly, they cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar level. This fluctuation stimulates the chemicals in your brain controlling rewards and cravings and makes you hunger for more.
These sugars and processed grains are all around us. They are in white bread, white rice, pastries, pasta, candy, desserts, and breakfast cereals. Drinking sugary beverages such as soft drinks and fruit juices can be just as detrimental to long-term weight loss as eating these foods.
Eliminating snacking after bariatric surgery
Snacking is a challenging habit to break, especially if it’s been a part of your life for a long time. We often snack for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Maybe certain foods make you feel better when you are stressed, angry, or sad. Perhaps, you are drawn to eat when you are bored. Whatever your reasons for eating between meals, snacking slows your weight-loss progress and interferes with your long-term weight loss success.
Weight-loss surgery limits the amount your stomach holds. It can help you control portions at each meal, but it cannot prevent you from snacking between meals.
Unfortunately, our favorite snacks are often high-calorie foods like chips, cookies, and soft drinks. Even a habit of eating low-calorie snacks adds to your overall calorie count. The additional calories you take in through snacking each day can derail your weight loss success.
Protein is power after weight-loss surgery
After your sleeve gastrectomy, make sure to focus on protein. Protein enables you to build muscle mass and increase your metabolism. You’ll be eating less at each meal, so consume protein-rich foods first.
Women should consume between 60 to 80 grams of protein each day, and men, between 70 to 90. Low-fat foods that are rich in protein are the best means of consuming that recommended amount. Examples of these foods include meats such as turkey, chicken breast, and tuna. Eggs, low-fat cheese, and Greek yogurt are excellent protein sources. For plant-based protein sources, you can try soy products, beans, nuts, and grains like quinoa and Kamut.
Refusing alcohol after bariatric surgery
Just like refined carbs and sugar, we’re saying “no” to alcohol after sleeve gastrectomy. Most alcohol is packed with sugar. In addition, alcohol contributes to stomach ulcers, which you’re at a higher risk for because of your surgery.
After your surgery, you will experience less alcohol tolerance due to changes in how you digest food and absorb nutrients. First, stomach enzymes called alcohol dehydrogenase help your body break down alcohol. Making the stomach smaller through a Sleeve Gastrectomy reduces the amount of these enzymes in your body and allows more alcohol to enter your bloodstream without being broken down. In addition, higher levels of body fat mean a higher tolerance to alcohol. As you lose weight, you lose more and more of that tolerance.
Incorporating exercise after bariatric surgery
You should include 30 to 45 minutes of exercise into your daily routine after bariatric surgery. The exercise routine will be most effective if three or four days each week include aerobic activities. Start with walking five minutes each day, then increase the lengths of your walks. When you’ve worked up to 15-minute walks twice a day, add aerobic activities such as swimming, biking, and jogging to your routine.
A recent study finds that 200 minutes of weekly exercise after bariatric surgery leads to increased weight loss and better quality of life. The study’s participants who were active lost, on average, 13.2 more pounds than those who were inactive. Interestingly, those patients who fit exercise into their routines experienced increased health scores and decreased feelings of depression and anxiety.
Discovering support groups after weight-loss surgery
Weight loss surgery is not a change you should undergo alone. So many people in the same situation are willing to share their stories.
A positive outlook will enable you to maintain long-term dedication to your new health goals. Make a point of finding and attending a local weight-loss or bariatric support group. These groups allow you to share your challenges and successes with people who understand. Your odds of success increase dramatically when you establish a supportive network.
Weight-loss surgery is extremely effective for people who avoid sugars, alcohol, and snacks and prioritize protein, exercise, and emotional support. We can’t do it for you, but we can be with you every step of the way. If you have questions about lifestyle changes accompanying a sleeve gastrectomy, don’t hesitate to contact the medical professionals at Blossom Bariatrics.
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