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Aug 22, 2014 02:23 AM

Post Bariatric Surgery

It's a whole new world going out to eat once you have had weight loss surgery. Any tips on how you do it successfully, with your new TINY stomach? If there is a thread on this somewhere else, please post link. Thank you.

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    1. What kind of advice did you get from your medical team? I know that it tends to be very specific about meal size, nutrient breakdown, etc. That probably doesn't change when you eat out.

      1. CHECK WITH YOUR DOC or the support group. if you need a support group, there are several out there. I like the one at, but it's not the only one.

        Much depends on the type of surgery you've had. There is, however, one thing they all have in common: you can't eat a lot. People with the sleeve [with or without the duodenal switch] can eat a bit more than people with either lap band or RNY, but it's still quite limited.

        First of all, there's no point in going to a buffet. Second, no matter what, your priority has to be getting your protein in first. Many people are very satisfied with an appetizer - many of them these days are more like tapas than anything else, so it's easy to get something you can eat. Some people go for a high-protein soup [lentil, black bean, and so on].

        If you're just starting out with your surgery, stick to relatively simple, soft foods. I did great with crab cakes, flounder, an occasional burger [no bun], scaloppinis with sauce,, and the like. nothing too fancy while I got used to test driving the surgery. protein first. then veggies, then, if room, a bite or two of carbs.

        Now, my strategy is ALWAYS to choose something that will reheat well for a couple of additional meals OR can easily be repurposed. For that reason, I'll often order a small steak. If it's a place that includes salad and soup as part of the meal, I'll ask them to package up the soup, and sometimes the salad.

        Sandwiches are always hard for me. The insides are usually just fine, but adding all that bread just makes for too much food.

        Please remember: surgery is a tool, not a punishment for being overweight. Don't be afraid to have some gravy if it'll help you get your protein down. Not a gravy boat full of course, but a couple of tablespoons are just fine.

        Also, if you've had RNY, please have some sense of what causes you to dump. Some people dump on high fat, some on high carb, some on a combination. Avoid situations where you're likely to have few choices re fat and carbs. you CAN HAVE a bite or two of the sweetest or highest fat thing around, but be aware of what you're eating and balance accordingly.

        hope this helps

        PS had RNY 12+ years ago - lost 280 pounds - and have maintained a 250+ weight loss during this time. and I LOVE going out to eat!

        1. I'm a longtime Chow lurker, but first time poster. I'm almost 6 weeks out of gastric sleeve surgery. Not far enough out to really be able to enjoy food yet, but studying up and anticipating when I will be.

          Right now I'm subsisting on a couple of protein shakes a day, plus small servings of refried beans (thinned with a bit of chicken broth, seasoned up well with white pepper, seasoned salt, garlic, and onion) with shredded cheddar stirred in, Greek yogurt, hummus, egg salad, scrambled egg whites, noodle-free tuna casserole (cut canned soup with plain Greek yogurt and add cracker crumbs as a crunchy topping), applesauce, cottage cheese, and soft cooked, mushy veggies (canned green beans, mashed carrots). I'm allowed seafood, but am allergic. I'm allowed to start moist chicken and turkey the week of Thanksgiving - but of course I'm going to try them when I'm home beforehand, so I don't have an embarassing intolerance situation during dinner.

          Ultimate goal is 60-80 grams of protein a day plus 64oz of water. Carbs TBD depending on how my body tolerates them and allows continued weight loss at the same time. Probably 60-100 grams a day, but protein comes first. I'm severely intolerant of all artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, so I also have to figure out how much sugar can reasonably be a part of my life going forward.

          I'm not sure how many of us there are on Chow, but I hope this will become an ongoing thread/conversation. I still love food, I just had to find a way for it to love me back.

          My favorite blogs/recipes so far are:

          The World According to Eggface

          Bariatric Foodie

          Melting Mama

          6 Replies
          1. re: PharmaChick

            Glad you're doing so well! seasoning and creativity make ALL the difference - and you're well into it! And now, when I cook, I often cut the ingredients smaller than 'normal.' It just makes my life easier. The first three months are the WORST part of any of these surgeries, and you're already halfway through!

            Now, frankly, I'm not sure that the CH-mods will let us keep a 'support' forum for surgery here. I'm just not sure it's appropriate [but i'm sure they'll tell us!]. As disclosure/invitation, I am indeed the moderator of the weight loss surgery forum at - quite a few members have had the sleeve and are doing GREAT. the biggest issues, of course, are not about what we put in our mouths.

            So, you're welcome to stop on by 3fatchicks - we run a clean group

            1. re: jiffypop

              Thinking more along the lines of keeping it food-centric rather than a support group. I'm sure we all already have a support group somewhere. I just think our new regular diets can be frustrating and boring sometimes, especially if we develop intolerances to work around. And, for those of us who live alone, making small batches and/or having to freeze a lot of things. All of our collective tips, tricks, ideas, and recipes might help each other or someone else.

              1. re: PharmaChick

                I'm in! and i have to tell you that, as a single as well, i give A LOT of food away. I cook as little as i can, and it's often STILL too much. Let's not discuss what's in the freezer. buried DEEP DEEP in the freezer!!!!

                1. re: jiffypop

                  Oh geez. The freezer dungeon. I try not to let it overtake more than one shelf, but as I progress and start adding more foods back in, I'm sure it'll get difficult.

                  I'm not to the point where I can have fresh produce yet, but I'm DYING for a salad and a fresh apple. And I'm SO sick of chicken, canned tuna, and beans.

                  1. re: PharmaChick

                    you're more than 3 months post-op - most of us have added small amounts of fruit and veggies by this time, regardless of the type of surgery we've had. Not saying it's always EASY, but it can be done. What are the instructions your surgeon gave you?

                    things that worked well for me at that point [with gastric bypass]: lettuce wraps with small amounts of additional shredded veggies. one of my faves was cooked chicken with bleu cheese, a little grated carrot, a little chopped tomato [no seeds], a little chopped cucumber [no seeds]. also thinly sliced deli turkey, chicken, ham, roast beef [the least processed i could find] was good. so were deviled eggs. applesauce, too.

                    fruit peels are your enemy, though.

                    1. re: jiffypop

                      Jiffy - I've JUST gotten permission from my surgeon and nutritionist to jump ahead a bit in the diet progression and start adding ground beef and pork, and then if that goes well, beef and pork deli meats and soft cooked meats (pulled pork, shredded pot roast) and deli meats. They normally don't allow pork until 4 months and beef until 6 months after, but I have a couple of allergies and am a supertaster, so I'm really needing the added variety of protein. My mom made me the house recipe ground beef chili today, and it was DIVINE. Picked up the fixings for meatballs today too.

                      And, I can add crisp-tender veggies and naturally soft raw fresh fruits and veggies now (as you said, no peels or seeds) as tolerated. Until now it's been only canned fruit and veggies cooked to baby food consistency (blech!). Cannot have hearty or raw greens until 6 months out, as well as dense crunchy ones like raw carrots or peppers, so no salads yet. Just have to remember with this new stuff to chew until it's mush.

                      I'm not really missing rice, pasta, or bread too much yet, but I'd like a tortilla to make a quesadilla or deli meat rollups.

                      This program is a bit stuck in the past with their 'everything low or nonfat' stance, but I'm doing things the way my body likes them done, and it's working for me so far. I'm using careful amounts of real food to avoid too many fake ingredients. Good meats and cheeses, real butter, olive oil, and coconut oil, quality dairy, and SEASONING! It has to taste good.

                      And I always think I'm farther out than I am. I won't be 3 months out until the end of December.

          2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Even though you're not quite 3 months out [I thought you were farther out, too!], you truly do need more variety in your diet. Meatballs, meatloaf and all that will make a big difference. Here's a tip that helped me: i grated a pile of veggies and sauteed them with some garlic and seasonings until they were soft, and then mixed them into the meat for meatloaf. Couldn't even see them, but they made the meatloaf really moist and easy to eat.

            And I'm with you, Pharma!!! it's gotta taste good and have the right texture for me to eat it. There's no point AT ALL in eating something that's not good!

            I'm fascinated by the fact that they're starting you back on red meat before chicken. So many surgeons jump to the chicken first. BUT, i was told in my program that there are two main camps of people who've had surgery: red meat and white meat. And they rarely cross. I can sort of eat chicken - the day it's cooked, if it's not dry. I do better with red meat.

            Why do you say your group is behind the times with the low-fat stuff? Most programs i've heard of endorse the low fat, but i also know a lot of people who ignore it [i'm one of them]. Shoot, if I only can consume a couple of spoonsful, there's no reason not to have the real thing without even more chemicals added.