I have gotten so many questions about alcohol after Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) so I am here today to answer all of them!
I know the holidays are coming up and I know that means you will most likely be attending some sort of holiday gathering with alcohol involved. Have no fear! I’ve got your back with all the details you need to know about alcohol after WLS!
Just a reminder, I am not your personal dietitian, and I’m NOT your doctor. Always check with your team when it comes to something serious like alcohol.
I am not recommending you drink alcohol, but if you choose to drink alcohol after surgery, that is something you should be discussing with your doctor & a team of professionals. Most bariatric centers suggest waiting at least a year to consume alcohol. So, under the right supervision, it is up to you to choose whether or not you drink.
If you enjoy alcohol, I want you to know it is possible to have it after WLS (as long as approved by your doctor). But there are some considerations to make…
Here are 4 things to keep in mind:
Number 1: Alcohol is quickly intoxicating
After WLS, small amounts of alcohol can make you very intoxicated very quickly, which can make you a danger to yourself and others. Take it SLOW, and be mindful that it will affect you differently than before.
Number 2: Alcohol is a risk for transfer addiction
This is when food addiction or emotional eating is replaced with alcohol. It is a very real, and very scary, risk factor after surgery.
Number 3: Alcohol can stall weight loss or cause regain
Not only does alcohol contribute to extra calories and sugar, but once intoxicated, it’s harder to make mindful and healthful food choices.
Be mindful of how often and what type of alcohol you are consuming. Avoid alcoholic drinks high in sugar or with juices. Consuming liquid calories may contribute to regain.
Number 4: Alcohol is dehydrating
Drink PLENTY of water. Alcohol is very dehydrating, & bariatric patients often struggle to stay hydrated, so adding alcohol can make it even harder.
Moderation and Balance
I believe in moderation & living a balanced life. Each journey is completely different, so make sure you are doing whats best for YOU. Make sure you are working closely with your team and therapist, as alcohol is addictive, and as a bariatric patient, you will always be at risk for developing a transfer addiction, no matter how far post op you are.
And if you do choose to drink after WLS, here are some suggestions and recommendations:
- ALWAYS follow your surgical centers guidelines
- Work alongside a therapist before adding alcohol in
- Avoid alcohol during the first year or “honeymoon” phase
- ALWAYS have DD and practice safety
- Drink extra water on the days you choose to consume alcohol
- Opt for a mocktail if that feels more aligned
That’s a Wrap
As always, you know yourself and your body better than anyone! Once you are cleared by your doctor, you get to choose whether or not you want to incorporate alcohol into your life. As long as you are smart and safe about your decisions, I support you either way!
If you choose not to drink, that’s cool too! Luckily, we have plenty of bariatric-friendly mocktail recipes inside the T.R.I.B.E. Membership for you!
The T.R.I.B.E. Membership community, leaders and I are always here for you! If you’re ready for some support, check out the T.R.I.B.E., a community of awesome folks who have gone through WLS and are thriving. We’d love to welcome you as the newest (and dare I say, coolest?) member.