Monday, January 5, 2009

For curiosity's sake ...

Bariatric surgery has the reputation of helping people who have to lose a considerable amount of weight in a relatively short amount of time (50% of excess weight within 6 months to 70% of excess weight within one year of surgery). This is done via numerous means such as reducing the size of the stomach which leads to a full sensation more quickly, reducing the amount of time food eaten is absorbed due to the shortened digestive tract, and restricting the types of foods that can be comfortably processed.

Giving all of this thought, I wonder if adopting a post GB diet would enhance my weight loss, without actually having surgery.

To further that line of thought, below are a few tips taken from guidelines built for gastric bypass patients.
  • When you eat, focus fully on eating and don't allow other distractions to be a part of that eating experience (don't eat while reading, don't eat while watching the game, don't eat while surfing the web, etc)
  • Use a smaller eating utensil such as a child-sized spoon, fork, etc.
  • Chew more! The bariatric surgery guide suggest chewing 30 times per bite.
  • Take smaller bites. Try for pea-size.
  • Eat slowly and savor each bite. Make your meal last 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Stop eating the moment you feel full, even if there is still food on your plate.
Indicators that post surgery patients will have that we won't have:
  • Stop if you feel pressure or fullness in the center below your rib cage
  • Stop if you feel nausea
  • Stop if you feel pressure in your shoulder or upper chest
Personally I'm happy to not have those last three indicators.

More tips from the bariatric surgery guidelines:
  • Eat meals and do not snack. Snacking can cause you to gain weight (I assume that's because the bariatric patient is restricted in how much they can eat only until their stomach processes the meal, and then they could eat another meal, and another and another. In doing so, they would be sabotaging their surgery
  • Stay hydrated, drink water, (skim, low fat or soy milk ... not for us unless it's low carb!)
  • Sip beverages slowly and carry a bottle of water with you at all times.
  • Avoid high calorie drinks such as milkshakes, soda, fruit juices, beer, alcohol, meal substitutes. They can add calories without making you feel full.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages which can cause bloating.
  • Eat a balanced diet (for us, eat a low carb diet!)
  • Take a multi-vitamin every day (I think that is good advice for us too)
  • Exercise daily for 15 minutes or until tired.
  • Avoid supplements with ephedra.
And just for the curious (like me), here is a sample meal plan for gastric bypass patients. This is not a low carb plan, but it's very interesting to me to see what GB patients might eat in a typical day to lose so much weight. I will take from this what is useful for a low carber and disregard the rest or modify it to fit my WoE, and perhaps be rewarded with something that will help me too. And the best part is that I'm doing this without having surgery ... which I was afraid I was going to need if I didn't make a change on my own.


*Each day you will eat five times. Always START with the protein source when
eating. Remember to eat slowly and stop when you feel full.

BREAKFAST: (7 a.m.)

1⁄2 Cup Carnation Instant Breakfast (no sugar added)- made with skim milk
1⁄2 Cup Sugar free jello

Mid-morning: (10 a.m.)

1⁄2 Cup diluted fruit juice

LUNCH: (12 noon)

1⁄2 Cup smooth no sugar added, low fat “light” yogurt
1⁄2 Cup broth

Mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.)

Sugar free Popsicle

DINNER: (6:00 p.m.)

1⁄2 Cup strained cream soup made with skim milk
1⁄2 Cup low sodium V-8 juice

Interesting (at least to me). If you want to see official Gastric Bypass surgery information, google "Bariatric surgery diet".


  1. It ends up being a very healthy diet similar to South Beach. The sample menu you posted is for the "liquids only" portion which is only the first week or so. Then, like a baby, you introduce solids :-)

    There are a lot of good rules in there. I learned a lot when I read the extensive packet that they gave my mom. She hasn't had the surgery yet, but she will soon... and they ask you to eat the diet for a little while before so you can get used to it.

  2. Oooh, then I need to search further and see what a sample "solids" menu would be.

    Thanks Chai. And best of luck to your mom!

  3. Maybe I missed it, but there's another tip that I've heard about re: GB dieting.

    Try to limit your fluid intake at mealtime. This may allow for the food to be processed more gradually.

    Also, along the lines of eating consciously ... try to focus exclusively on eating - no TV, no reading (eating with company is considered okay however). This may allow the normal satiety signals to not be drowned out by distractions.

  4. Thanks Harry. I think I've got the no distractions thing, but I did leave out the fluids thing. It didn't say why other than you would get full faster (which I thought was a benefit), but it probably isn't a benefit because you would get hungry again too soon too.

  5. It looks like it is a calorie restricted plan. I wonder how long they are supposed to eat less calories. I would assume for life.

  6. I'm not sure Marjie, maybe Chai will let us know if she has time since her mom has a copy of the real documents and is going to have the surgery.

  7. You eat like that for life. Unless you stretch your stomach out and start consuming high caloric meals again in which case you gain weight and do extensive damage to your body.

    Yes, it is calorie restricted. It changes your metabolism. It's a tool for life, not a fix.

  8. Good info Jenn.

    Susan, thank you for reading. Submit your comment again without the car insurance link and I'll post it.

  9. Ooooo makes me cringe, sorry.

  10. It's a motivation to keep doing what we are doing on our own. My cousin had gastric bypass and the list of things she has to worry about now really is enough to make a person cringe.

  11. Your right there are some very good guidelines for everyone one to follow. I really need to work on the distraction thing. I'm afraid I'm one of those that eats while reading, blogging, watching tv or any number of other distractions. I also tend to eat to quickly.

    Both of which I learned not to do when I went through Schick years and years ago. They taught us to take a small, cleansing sip of water between each bite and to literally count your bites by marking them on paper. It focused you on eating and made you very aware of what and how you were eating.

    All things I need to refocus on. Thanks for a great read!


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