After you have had a gastric sleeve, it is very important that you follow a specific diet. This is known as the “post gastric sleeve diet”. This is important for two reasons:
- It ensures you will recover quicker and that your healing is faster.
- It ensures your chances of long term weight loss are enhanced.
In most cases, you will also have had to follow a pre-gastric sleeve diet, to help you prepare. You will have been asked to stop eating sugar or substitute, and to cut out fatty and fried food from your diet. If you are able to follow all these recommendations, you will generally find it easier to follow the post gastric sleeve diet as well.
When you have a gastric sleeve, the amount of food you can consume is restricted. In fact, your stomach will only be able to hold about 25% of what it used to. Hence, the surgery forces you to eat small bites, but it cannot force you to make sure those bites are healthy ones. That is all down to you and your commitment to the procedure.
What Should You Eat After Surgery?
After your surgery, you will have a consultation with your surgeon and a nutritionist or dietician who will advise you on what to eat. Usually, you will lose most of your weight within two years after having the surgery. During this time period, you should try to stick to 600 to 800 calories every day. After that, you can increase your calorie intake to between 1,000 and 1,200 calories daily. You should also receive specific recommendations in terms of what to eat, and this is generally divided into four phases:
- In the first phase, you eat only liquids. This lasts about two days. It starts straight after surgery and will help you to recover much quicker. You can have any clear liquids, although no fats or sugars.
- In the second phase, you will move on to pureed foods. This includes beans, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats, diluted with gravy, skim milk, broth, or water. You should make sure there are no solids in your food. Usually, phase two starts on day three after surgery and you should maintain it for between three and four weeks.
- In the third phase, which starts after four weeks, you can eat mashed food. This includes tender meat, fruits, and vegetables. You can simply use a fork to mash your food. Do not add salt, sugar, and oil, however. Usually, you will be in this phase for a few weeks, until up to 12 weeks after your surgery.
- The fourth and final phase is where you return to solid foods. What is important, however, is that you continue to avoid calorie dense foods, spices, and oils.
After about one year, you can start to eat a normal diet again, but you should take this slowly.
A gastric sleeve will reduce your stomach’s size by between 60% and 80%. Hence, besides following a certain diet for a while, you actually have to change your entire dietary lifestyle. Some of the general guidelines include:
- Do not eat and drink together, because your stomach will struggle. Drink before or between meals. Make sure you drink plenty of liquids every day.
- Eat small quantities of food, and try to eat at least five times per day. Food should be balanced so that you get the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
- Do not lay down straight after your food, as this can lead to reflux.
- Make sure your food is properly chewed.
Last but not least, exercise!