Feb 2021
Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine

15 Ways to Stop Weight Regain After Weight Loss Surgery

Wooden spoon wrapped with a tape measure


Made up almost entirely of artificial ingredients, it has absolutely no nutritional value.
Even diet drinks have an abundance of two of the things you need to take in moderation: sodium and artificial sugar.

We could go over the negative effects on your blood pressure, blood sugar and kidneys; however, for the purpose of this article, we’ll stick with the problem of hidden calories. It is very easy to lose track of how many of these drinks you consume in a day, which could easily lead to weight regain after weight loss.

At 120 to 300+ calories per 375 ml serving, it will easily undo all of your good work so far.

Steer clear of the ‘zero’ and ‘diet’ drinks. They are full of artificial chemicals that affect your body’s functions.

They provide no nutritional value and can cause fluid retention.

Drink more water. Your body is designed to use water to flush out toxins and keep your body and your brain running at its best.

If you do not like pure water, squeeze some fresh fruit into it or try out some hot or iced spiced herbal teas.

Soak sliced cucumber and limes in water for 1-5 hours for a cool and refreshing infused drink.

Make sure to get a minimum of 8 glasses or 2 litres of water a day to perform at your best.


Alcohol is very close behind soda in its hidden calories. Even wines are full of simple sugars!

Mixed drinks are even worse with sugary syrups and colors to make them appealing. In addition, to empty calories, alcohol is a depressant and can impact your motivation to eat well and exercise regularly (think how much time we waste on a hangover)!

A small serving of a mixed drink can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake.

It does not take much to counteract the progress you made with your new exercise regiment or healthy protein and veggie-rich.

Avoiding alcohol is important for your weight management. Apart from being an appetite stimulant, you’re more likely to make poor food choices when socializing once you are intoxicated.


Remember, it’s natural to feel hungry and it’s unnatural to feel full.

To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories. To consume fewer calories, you must eat less.

In order to eat less, you must allow yourself to get within reason. Hunger is a sign you need to listen to, but never being hungry is actually a sign your digestion is being overloaded with food too regularly.

Like alcohol, snacking is usually a substitute for something else, whether it's stress, boredom, or emotional.

Get to the root cause.

- Drink water when a craving hits. In many cases, our body confuses the first stages of dehydration with hunger. If you think you are hungry, first drink 1 glass of water and wait 15 minutes to see if the craving fades.

- Take a walk, read, or enjoy a hobby. When we are bored or under-stimulated, the body will send out hunger signals. Low-grade exercise or new mental stimulation often helps turn off the cravings. - Stop the snacking habit as soon as you can.

- Limit yourself to only fresh fruit or a handful of nuts. While they are still additional calories that you need to get control of, they are better for you than snack foods that also offer no nutritional benefit AND can slide through your pouch or sleeve leaving you hungry not long after.

If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you shouldn’t be eating.


Bread, muffins, and other pastries all quickly add 150+ calories per recommended serving to your meal on its own
- even before you add butter, peanut butter or jam etc.

I've seen a ‘cafe style muffin’ contain as many as 400 calories from the daily allotment!

Particularly, white bread is not much more than a vehicle for calories that can lead to weight regain after weight loss procedure. Generally made from refined flours, with preservatives and bleach, all the goodness found in the bread, muffins, and other pastries all quickly add 150+ calories per recommended serving to your meal (before adding butter, jams, or other spreads and toppings).

Bread is nothing more than a vehicle for calories. Bread also wreaks havoc on your blood sugars and is an absolute no-no for diabetics.

Even ‘healthy’ whole grain and seed breads are guilty of greatly increasing the calories you take in and can contain a bunch of preservatives you don't want to go into your system on a daily basis.

There are more fulfilling and nutritious whole grains and complex carbs out there to fulfill your needs.

Try out Lettuce and Cabbage wraps for a new and tasty fix.

Avoid sandwiches altogether and opt for a protein-rich salad (a real salad, not the iceberg tomato and cucumber salads people are familiar with).

And remember: PASTA is to be treated like bread!

If you are completely committed to having bread as part of your lifestyle, opt for dark rye sourdough. It is one of the more nutritious and satisfying breads available. Rye has been shown to assist in Blood Glucose management.

Pastry is a weight loss nightmare! Full of refined carbs and often loaded with TRANS fats that are linked to heart disease and obesity.

Avoid pastries and biscuits unless you are confident they are not just a load of cheap flour and sugar. You can opt for tasty bread alternatives that are easily bought in the market.


Even the "Healthier" versions of your mayo and dressings have additives and calories that are unnecessary.

We tend to feel we need to add sauces, dressing and "toppings" to food without really trying the dish without them.

If you aim to savour your food for what it is, the need for adding sweet, salty, or creamy toppings will become superfluous.

If you add your flavour to the actual meal - season seak well, or marinade your foods in herbs and spices before cooking, the meal itself is where you want your attention - not on the additional manufactured sugar-laden dressing. Practice concentrating on what the food is offering you - NUTRITION - protein, healthy carbs, plant nutrients that are geared to keep our body satisfied. The addition of sauces and creamy toppings can be replaced quite easily with healthy options instead -- Try Hemp seed, toasted sesame, dried shallots, cranberries, black sesame, nuts, Dukka etc rather than off the shelf sugar and salt-laden toppers. Often the store-bought dressings are loaded with trans fats

These harmful fats and untracked calories are not worth the cost of flavouring.

Try coconut milk, spices and herbs, vinaigrette, fruit, and other more healthy and flavorful alternatives on foods and drinks.


When we check out the whole aisle of breakfast foods on offer in the supermarket, is it any wonder why obesity rates are at an all-time high?

 Sugar-laden, carby cardboard boxes calling us to eat "the breakfast of champions" Or the Food Of an Iron Man - do you really think an elite athlete eats refined grains and sugar for breaky? I doubt it!!

What about the other goodies like multicolored rings and choc flavoured rice to make breaky more "fun" for the little ones?! When did we stop eating food - food like grandma ate? Eggs, boiled soft - dip some homemade bread, go to work - eat a basic lunch, come home for Meat and 3 vegs. Obesity was quite rare in those days, so we need to look at what we have changed and consider it's not all in our favor. It important we eat a high protein breakfast especially when our goal is weight loss The research has shown that those who eat a high protein breakfast, eat fewer calories throughout the day, and lost about 25%b more weight than those who skip breakfast or eat "boxed breaky" (refined cereals and toast, etc.)

A healthier alternative to the typical breakfast of pastries, sugary cereals, or fast food items is a green smoothie.

A green smoothie takes minutes to make, and it provides all the energy you need for your morning routines.

You can even cut and freeze most fruits for a week’s worth of ingredients.

The leafy greens and fresh fruits are a natural and easily digested source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and even amino acids, which is especially important to avoid weight regain after weight loss surgery. Add a scoop of protein powder and you've got it all in the one place! AND you can smash it in the car, sip it on the bus, or drink it over the course of the whole morning!


Now, when we say “salad”, I’m not talking about the iceberg lettuce and a scattering of carrots and tomatoes kind of salad that gives the whole idea of salad a bad rep!

A proper salad is made up of a variety of toppings and leafy greens- even quinoa, seafood, and fruit toppings. I love to smatter roasted veggies, nuts and seeds, grains, and other tasty and nutritious morsels throughout.

A salad provides a huge boost in energy and nutrients. It has a great nutrient density.
It can be made with baby spinach, sprout mixes, or any other leafy greens as the base.

A salad can have cooked ingredients in it like grilled shrimp, smoked salmon, char-grilled chicken, even beef strips marinated in a flavoursome sauce.

Don't forget to add a few handfuls of beans, sweet potato, quinoa, or wild rice.

When preparing a salad, be careful of fat-filled dressings, like Ranch or Thousand Islands. If you need a little dressing, try some fresh salsa, citrus and olive oil, or a nice vinaigrette.

Overall. Once you have worked out how to add some foods that “Bulk” the salad from being a side dish to a main, you’ll never look back!

Don't suffer rabbit food!

Your next lunch box can become a tasty nutritious feast!

Here is a link to our Salads in a JAR RECIPES e-book to spark some ideas now the weather is starting to warm up.


Lean protein needs to be the SUPERSTAR of every meal from surgery date onwards.
What are the benefits of protein? Protein helps to keep you full, builds muscle, protects your immune system and also helps with depression and anxiety,

Lean protein doesn't have to mean you are eating meat at every meal, you can swap in and out with plant-based proteins which also gift us with PLANT NUTRIENTS = these are the secret little helpers (bioflavonoids, flavonoids, and phytochemicals) that provide such a range of positive benefits from supporting your cardiovascular system to preventing cancer.
Protein levels blood sugars, help eliminate cravings, and help to fight fatigue. After a workout will help recovery from exercise as well as imperative after surgery. For hearing.

High protein foods include lean chicken, lean pork, fish, lean beef, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, seeds, nuts, and eggs.

Below is a list of healthy protein foods sorted by common serving size.

For more information, see the lists of vegetarian protein, high protein fruits, and high protein vegetables.



After WLS, we are establishing a new commitment to be aware of our eating habits, focus on Protein needs, and also making sure every meal has as much nutritional punch as possible.. Restriction brought about by your surgery means there are limited opportunities to get the nutrients you require daily to keep your body functioning properly and to prevent issues caused by poor or limited supply of nutritious food.

A food diary can be a useful tool in this process. It can help you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the foods — good and not-so-good — you eat on a regular basis. Research shows that for people interested in losing weight, keeping a journal can be a very effective tool to help change behavior. In one weight loss study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.

What should you include in a food diary?
Most experts agree that the secret to successful food journaling is accuracy and consistency. So, what should you record? A basic food diary should include the following:

What are you eating? Write down the specific food and beverage consumed and how it is prepared (baked, grilled, poached fried, etc.). Include any sauces, condiments, dressings, or toppings.
How much are you eating? List the amount in household measures (cups, teaspoons, tablespoons) or in grams or measures of liquids like millilitres, or litres.. If possible, it is best to weigh and measure your food. If you are away from home, do your best to estimate the portion.

When are you eating? Noting the time that you’re eating can be very helpful in identifying potentially problematic times, such as late-night snacking. Jotting down where you’re eating, what else you’re doing while you’re eating, and how you’re feeling while eating can help you understand some of your habits and offer additional insight.

Where are you eating? Record the specific place you are consuming food, whether it’s at the kitchen table, in your bedroom, in the car, walking down the street, at a restaurant, or at a friend’s home.

What else are you doing while eating? Are you on the computer, watching TV, or talking with a family member or a friend?

Who are you eating with? Are you eating with your spouse, children, friend, or colleague, or are you alone?

How are you feeling as you’re eating? Are you happy, sad, stressed, anxious, lonely, bored, tired?
Tips for successful food journaling

Here are more tips for keeping a successful food diary:

- Write down the food or beverage as soon as you consume it. Don’t wait until the end of the day because your recollection is likely to be less accurate.
- Be as specific as you can with the food or beverage. For example, if you are drinking a latte, note the type and size.
- Be sure to include any alcoholic beverages you consume.
- A smartphone app like Lose It! or MyFitnessPal can support your efforts. These apps also offer information on calories and other nutrients.

You’ve kept a food diary. Now what?
After completing a week’s worth of food journaling, step back, and look at what you’ve recorded. Search for any trends, patterns, or habits. For example, you might consider:

How healthy is my diet?
Am I eating vegetables and fruit every day? If so, how many servings?
Am I eating whole grains each day?
Am I eating foods or beverages with added sugar? If so, how frequently?
Do my moods affect my eating habits? Do I reach for unhealthy snacks when I’m tired or stressed?
How often do I eat on the run?

This information is GOLD for your nutritionist or dietitian, they will be able to tell you at a glance what you are missing, and where your strengths are. This is how we learn to eat well. It's not natural - we know it hasn't been natural to eat perfectly in the past - so why would it be any different if we don't make INTERVENTIONS and structure around our food

Set SMART healthy eating goals
Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, set one or two healthy eating goals for yourself. In doing so, use the SMART goal format. That means your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. Here are a few examples of SMART goals.

Food diary observation: You average two servings of vegetables per day.
Goal: Eat more vegetables.
SMART goal: Eat three servings of vegetables per day.

Food diary observation: You order takeout three or four nights per week.
Goal: Cook more at home.
SMART goal: Order take out no more than one or two nights per week.

Food diary observation: You eat healthy meals and snacks until about 3 pm, when you hit the office vending machine.
Goal: Eat healthier snacks.
SMART goal: Bring a healthy snack (a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts) to work every day.

Keeping a food journal can be very informative and move you toward improving your health and to avoid weight regain after weight loss Using the data from your food diary to make SMART changes, and continuing to track your progress, is a great place to start your journey for a healthier 2020/21.


Mindful eating is an effective weight-loss strategy that encourages you to slow down and pay attention to your food, noticing each sip or bite you take. It helps focus your senses on exploring, savouring, and tasting your food, and teaches you to follow hunger cues.
Put mindful eating into practice with these ideas as you prepare and eat meals. It gets easier over time!

Practice acceptance. Be aware of critical or judgmental thoughts about food, your eating habits, and your body. Concentrate on the moment. Accept your body as it is.

Make a conscious decision to eat. Before you eat, ask yourself, “How hungry am I right now? Am I eating out of hunger, habit, boredom, or emotion?”

Reserve time for your meal. Don’t eat on the run. If you’re eating with others, involve them in preparing the food to make that time social.

Avoid distractions while eating. Eat at a table. Turn off the TV and put away your phone, work, books, and magazines until you are done.

Appreciate your food. Start your meal by taking a moment to express your gratitude for the food in front of you.

Breathe. Before and during your meal, consciously take a few deep breaths.

Use all your senses to fully experience your food and drinks. Observe the smells, textures, sounds, colors, and tastes. Ask yourself how much you’re enjoying the food and how appealing it is.

Choose modest portions to avoid overeating. Eat small bites, and chew slowly. Appreciate that your food fills you up and makes you healthy.

Of course, there will be times that you have to rush through a meal to get to an activity or an appointment. But if you can practice mindful eating on a regular basis, it can help you reach your weight-loss goals.


You are an amazing and complex human being.

You have the ability to change your habits. You have the power to choose healthier habits that fit your new life best.

Food does not have the power to take this away from you.

Whenever an urge toward an unhealthy eating choice hits, you have the power to take a step back and reflect on the cost of that choice.

You have the power to change your mind. You have the choice to make foods accessible or inaccessible in your home.

Always remember you are the one in control, not your cravings.


Look at how far you have already come
. You recognized you wanted to take your health and your weight into your own hands, and you took measures to take care of it. This is proof in itself that you have the power to change and improve your life.

Now is not the time to rest on your laurels, no one stays healthy and keeps their weight under control without daily MANAGEMENT and effort.

- You can still keep improving.
- You can learn more about your health.
- You can change your eating habits.

- You can learn new skills.

No matter how far you've come, there is always a new goal you can reach for you to make yourself even better today than yesterday. More importantly, you have the power to learn and improve on mistakes and setbacks.

Falling into a bad habit is not a sign that you are forever destined to live with it. It is a sign you have a habit to replace with a better one.

You have the ability and limitless human potential to do exactly that.

The best outcomes long term are for those who continually look for MORE - more support, more information, more education and most importantly - more SELF love and SELF exploration.


Repeat this a few times to yourself, or even look in the mirror and repeat a few times
. Then LISTEN - what is the voice you hear next? (no, you’re not going mad!) - what does the voice say back to you when you say I DESERVE GOOD HEALTH?
Does the voice say “HELL YES, YOU DO” or does something else happen?

This internal dialogue is the part of you that runs the show believe it or not!

Most of the ideas, values and beliefs held by this little voice are outdated, built around things that happened when we were children, or maybe the voice belongs to someone who we love - who had the right intentions (or not), but who planted all these ideas in our heads about what we are worth and what we deserve.

If you’re listening to this little voice and the messages are not positive - then guess what - the results of your efforts might also not be as positive as you would like. This feedback is like having gremlins in the system - no matter what you try to do to change things - there’s a glitch somewhere that leads you back to “the messages the gremlins hold”.

This is why learning to love ourselves, uncover our inner critic and kick it in the butt is the key to long term success.

We need to hijack their messages and either show them who’s boss or find another voice that serves our new purposes and goals.

Meditation, mindfulness and many other types of therapies access these parts of us that SABOTAGE our best intentions and actually act as a pathway for allowing new, and more helpful parts of us to run the show.

SO if you’re struggling with staying on track - check-in with yourself and just make sure that your GREMLINS are not running the show!

Once we clear the way - a whole new love of self and a feeling of I DESERVE to live a long and healthy life comes to the fore.


We live in a time when just about everything we could want to know is literally at our fingertips

There are thousands of videos, blogs, books, articles, podcasts and more on just about every topic, all of it easily accessible from a phone, tablet, or Computer.

No matter how much you know about your health, there is always something new to learn.

The journey to health and wellness is successful when you take charge of the EDUCATION that it takes to make it a success. Take a few minutes out if each day to learn a new recipe, a new way to save for your goals, a new life skill, or information that will enhance and enrich your new healthier life.


You have one life. No one knows the ins and outs of that life better than you.
No one can live that life better than you.

That said, while we ideally want people in our lives to support our decisions, humans as a species are imperfect creatures.

There will be times when a friend will urge you to partake of that unhealthy deep fried confection their spouse made.

A restaurant will refuse to allow you to substitute those fries or loaded baked potato for a salad.
A coworker will say something insensitive about the green smoothie you brought for breakfast.

Temptations to just go with the flow and make those unhealthy choices will come.

It is not your place in life to sacrifice your health for the convenience of others. If someone does not respect your healthier choices, you are not obligated to eat or drink anything that damages your goals.

Jacqui Lewis
BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine

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