Weight Regain After Weight Loss Surgery - 7 Ways to Stop It
Bariatric Surgery has been an amazing addition to modern medicine. It provides robust weight loss and remission of many obesity-related conditions and can be life-saving. It comes with some responsibilities, but with some diligence, research, and review of certain habits that might set back your long-term success, you can have the life you imagined after surgery, full of life, health, and a newfound energy level.
Let us highlight some key habits to take on for the long haul to keep a lid on weight regain and help you realise true vitality. Here are our top 7 things to implement or reject as part of your new healthy lifestyle.
Start Eating Leaning Protein
Lean protein must be the SUPERSTAR of every meal from the surgery date onwards.
What are the benefits of protein?
Protein helps to:
- Keep you full
- Builds muscle
- Protects your immune system
- Helps with depression and anxiety
Lean protein doesn't have to mean eating meat at every meal; you can swap in and out with plant-based proteins.
Protein levels and blood sugars help eliminate cravings and help to fight fatigue. After a workout will help recovery from exercise and is imperative after surgery.
High-protein foods include:
- Lean meats (chicken, pork, fish, beef)
- Low-fat yogurt
Remove Soft Drinks & Go Alcohol-Free
Soft drinks are made up almost entirely of sugar and artificial ingredients. There's no nutritional value in
- Soft drinks
- “Xero” drinks
- Energy drinks
It is effortless to lose track of how many of these drinks you consume daily, which could easily lead to weight regain after weight loss.
Similarly, alcohol is calorie-dense and may interfere with nutrient absorption after surgery. Even wines are full of simple sugars! 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)!
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages often contribute excess calories without providing substantial nutritional value. If you're used to consuming many soft drinks or alcohol, consider gradually reducing your intake rather than quitting abruptly. This can help ease any withdrawal symptoms and make the transition more manageable.
Look for healthier options to satisfy your cravings. With hydration being one of the top things on your list each day, we suggest committing to drinking;
- More water
Your body is designed to use water to flush out toxins and keep your body and your brain running at its best.
Explore the variety of squeezing fresh fruit into it or try out hot or iced herbal teas. Soak sliced cucumber and limes in water for 1-5 hours for a cool, refreshing, infused drink.
Reject Highly Refined Carbs
White bread, muffins, and other pastries quickly add 150+ calories per recommended serving to your meal - before adding butter, peanut butter, jam, etc. White bread is not much more than a vehicle for calories that can lead to weight regain after weight loss. Refined flours also wreak havoc on your blood sugars, creating a craving cycle. Instead, opt for more fulfilling and nutritious whole grains and complex carbs to fulfil your needs.
Try replacing white flour tortilla wraps with lettuce and cabbage leaves for a new and tasty fix. Avoid sandwiches altogether, and opt for a protein-rich salad. Opt for dark rye sourdough if you are completely committed to having bread as part of your lifestyle. It is one of the more nutritious and satisfying breads available. Rye has been shown to assist in blood glucose management.
The pastry is full of refined carbs and often loaded with trans fats linked to heart disease and obesity. Instead, experiment with making your own healthy treats; there are plenty of healthy dessert recipes and healthy snack ideas on our recipes page.
Cream & Condiments
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 your meal while you prepare it - season steak well or marinade your foods in herbs and spices before cooking, this meal is where you want your attention - not on the additional sugar-laden dressing. Focus more on what the food offers - protein, healthy carbs, and plant nutrients geared to satisfy our bodies.
Easily and healthy cream and condiment options:
- Hemp Seed
- Toasted Sesame
- Coconut Milk
- Spices and Herbs
Be Mindful of Continual Snacking
Committing to a structure of 3 meals per day and a snack in between if needed is a good set-up for long-term success. Your reduced capacity to accommodate food might mean you need 4 meals to meet your demands if you are exercising.
The goal is to fill the sleeve or pouch with foods that will take a few hours to digest, then refuel the pouch with the next meal. When you take small snacks throughout the day, you’ll often not feel hungry enough at mealtimes when the most nutrient-packed food is on the table.
Remember, it’s natural to feel hungry, and it’s unnatural to feel full. Hunger is a sign you need to listen to, but never being hungry be a sign the eating windows are too close together. Let yourself feel hunger; it's a signal to listen to, but use it as a guide for a meal. If you feel hungry and it's not “meal time,” limit yourself to only fresh fruit or a handful of nuts. They are better for you than snack foods that can slide through your pouch or sleeve, leaving you hungry not long after.
Start Food & Gratitude Journaling
A food diary can be a useful tool to help you understand your eating habits and identify the foods — good and not-so-good — you eat regularly. Research shows that keeping a journal can be a very effective tool for people interested in weight management to help change their behaviour.
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?
Start to Think - “I Can Be Better. I’m More Powerful Than Food!”
These thoughts can empower you on your journey towards improved health and well-being. By recognising your own strength and determination, you can overcome any challenges that come your way.
Remember, Weight Loss Surgery is just a tool to assist you in reaching your goals, but the real power lies within you. Believe in your ability to make healthier choices, stick to your nutrition, and engage in regular physical activity. Trust that you have the inner strength necessary to overcome any cravings or temptations that may arise.
Acknowledge that food doesn't control you; you can make conscious decisions about what you eat and when. Shift your focus towards nourishing your body with nutritious foods that support your well-being and promote sustainable weight loss.
You'll develop a mindset supporting your long-term success by cultivating and reinforcing these positive thoughts daily.
If you find, at any stage, you start to feel victim to food or are having trouble keeping to the bariatric portions and meal sizes, reach out to your team early, so they can troubleshoot with you and set you back on your way again. When we feel things slipping but try to “go it alone”, we often play a guessing game. Take the guesswork out - and get support early!
The best long-term outcomes are for those who continually seek MORE - more support, more information, more education and most importantly - more SELF love and SELF exploration.