Mar 23

11 Smart, Basic, Bariatric-Eating Tips


Argh, my tummy hurts. Why did I eat (enter your bad habit here).

Are you prone to falling into pre-surgery eating habits? Eat too fast, skip meals, inhale rather than chew. If I’m honest, I have to admit I sure do. That means a a back-to-basics reminder is in order.

11 Commonly Forgotten or Ignored Post-Weight-Loss Surgery Eating Tips

Here are some tips you may have forgotten that make the eating process more comfortable and enjoyable. They also promote success:

Oh the details of eating, enjoying eating and being successful as a bariatric patient. (c) svariophoto Fotolia.com

Oh the details of eating, enjoying eating and being successful as a bariatric patient. (c) svariophoto Fotolia.com


  1. Eat Breakfast: Whether a shake or protein bar, yogurt or some scrambled eggs with cheese, eat soon after awakening daily. Skipping breakfast puts the body in starvation mode. Not good. Studies also show that eating breakfast helps with weight loss.  In addition, people who eat breakfast are better able to make it to lunch without snacking and don’t overeat at lunch to make up for no breakfast. Of course we all know how a good breakfast helps concentration, productivity, a good attitude and more.
  2. Schedule and Consume All Meals: For the same reasons listed about breakfast, but also to keep from snacking, ensure you’re getting proper nutrients throughout the day and hone in on a good eating routine. Eating on a regular schedule also helps to stave off hunger pangs or the desire to overeat after skipping meals.
  3. Sit Down at a Table to Eat: No phone, TV, tablet. Just you, your food and perhaps some good company. Concentrate on your meal and enjoying it. You’ll gain more from the experience, for both body and mind, than is possible when mindlessly eating in front of the tube.
  4. Eat Protein First: Protein is number one for all of us, so eat it first always. If you consume all your protein (about 3 ounces each meal) and can still handle a little more then turn to your veggies and fruits. Remember you need 60 to 80 grams of protein daily.
  5. Take Small Bites: Oh gosh, this still gets me all the time. I start to eat like I’m a football player revving up for a game. I take that wonderful huge bite and then I have to sit for what seems forever to chew it up. Toddler utensils help. In addition, don’t eat anything with your hands — not even that yummy chicken. It’s just too easy to shove the food in your mouth. Cut up my wraps, pull chicken from the bones, and cut meats into tiny pieces before starting to eat.
  6. Slow Down: I was a food shoveler before my bypass. I ate huge bites and ate rapidly. I still have a tendency toward this behavior. So, I force myself to put my utensil down after each bite. I also make a comment to someone else at the table before taking another bite. The practice keeps me from getting over full before I get what I need in terms of nutrition. It also eliminates the too-fast tummy ache. Chewing and savoring every bite is fun and makes meals more enjoyable. Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, director of nutrition for WebMD reports, “It’s (eating slowly) especially important for people who have had gastric bypass operations to heed advice to eat slowly. A study of gastric bypass patients showed that those who ate too fast and failed to recognize the signs of satiety were less successful at losing weight than other patients.”
  7. Put Food on Small Plates: Psychologically, I love this trick. When I sit down to eat, I see a lovely full plate, not a measly meal. I feel normal and find I eat more slowly. You might even consider getting or making your own bariatric portion plate, which really keeps you on track with portion size.

    portion plate

    Portion plates are available online at retailers like Amazon.com. You can also easily make your own.

  8. Chew, Chew, Chew: If you’re not chewing until you think you can’t chew anymore, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Swallowing large chunks of food will cause discomfort. Chewing is also critical to digestive health. I’ve been counting how many times I chew my food for so long now, I automatically chew to 25 or longer. U.S. News and World Report even published an article on why we must chew our food.
  9. Stop Drinking:  Many bariatric patients say they don’t understand why they can drink near or during meals. Some even say they can’t. The reasons to avoid drinking, especially during and after meals are simple. Your pouch is small and its important you eat your meals. If you’re full of liquid, you may not eat well. The more important reason is liquids flush food through your stomach quickly, which can affect digestion. Furthermore, if you drink during or after your meal, you might find yourself still feeling hungry, which could lead to weight gain.
  10. Learn Restaurant Management: Ask for a box when you order your meal — not after you eat. When the meal comes, put all foods you know you should not eat or will not be able to eat in the box and close it. Leave only a meal you should be eating on the plate. Push all foods others order, especially breads and appetizers away from your place at the table, to reduce temptation.
  11. Track Your Intake: For purposes of counting calories and tracking sugar, fat and nutrition, consider journaling your food and drink intake via an app. I prefer MyFitnessPal. I used it during my pre-surgery program and continue now. My food addiction is so strong, even though I can’t eat a lot at once, I need it to keep me on the straight and narrow and keep me accountable.


Do you have additional tips? If so, please share them in the comments section below. We want to hear from you.


About the author

Laurie Lee Dovey

LLD is a writer, photographer, marketing and media consultant, hunter, angler, RVer, sports nut, poker player, and wife.

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