One of my clients inside the T.R.I.B.E. messaged me this week saying “Post op life is just so hard because I’m not able to have any of the foods I love.”
And my response to her was “why can’t you?”
Here’s the thing – you CAN have foods you love after weight loss surgery. You do NOT have to live in restriction forever.
Sure, it’s hard to have balance in the first handful of months. Protein takes priority and you MUST follow your post op diet. So finding that “all foods fit” approach I always talk about DOES take time.
But even with those newly post-op “rules” in place you should be able to turn the foods you love into foods that also align with your goals.
Want something sweet? How about a protein mug cake? Want something salty and crunchy? How about some nuts and pickles? Or even some Quest chips.
You can always find bariatric friendly versions or recipes of the foods you love.
And as time goes on you WILL be able to add more variety into your diet.
What is a balanced diet?
As bariatric patients you SHOULD get back to a balanced diet. You SHOULD have variety. And you SHOULD enjoy your food.
Intentional and mindful eating is key on this journey. You are in charge of what this freedom looks like to you and your goals.
I explain exactly what mindful eating is (and why Intuitive Eating isn’t necessarily a good fit for Bariatric Babes) in this recent blog post: The Difference Between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating (WLS Edition).
With the proper nutrition education and support I firmly believe you can learn to have all foods in your life (so long as they don’t make you sick) AND hit your goals. It’s just figuring out what that balance and routine looks like for you.
You SHOULD NOT be cutting out whole good groups and avoiding the foods you love long term.
You can eat a variety of things and hit your goals. You can still enjoy your food and look forward to your meals.
The Bariatric Plate Method
Do not let diet culture impact your post-op nutrition…this is a time to heal your relationship with food and take the time to really understand nutrition.
You didn’t have this surgery to live on a diet forever or to be fearful of foods…Don’t be discouraged by restrictions at the beginning, you are retraining your body and adjusting to the changes it has undergone.
But that does NOT mean you can never eat carbs or sugar again. All foods can fit after WLS, just not all the time or all at once.
Let’s break down your plate —
- → Protein is essential and should always come first.
- → WLS patients don’t need more protein than the average person, but since stomach space is smaller, it will be all you have room to eat for a while in order to meet your nutritional needs.
- → Veggies should come next after protein.
- → This adds fiber and bulk to your diet and will help you stay fuller longer.
- → Over time, once you are hitting your protein goals and able to eat some veggies, you should be adding carbs back in.
- → This won’t happen right away, but over time.
- → There are two kinds —
- Simple: Carbs with less fiber & nutrients (white bread, crackers, rice cakes, chips, etc.)
- Complex: Carbs with more fiber and nutrients (whole grains, fruit, beans/legumes, quinoa, etc.)
Is food the enemy?
Have you said “I feel like I can’t control myself around X food?”
If you feel guilty when you eat, or if you feel guilty when you are eating something you LIKE, I want to first validate that you’re not alone. Years of dieting and diet culture has made us believe food is somehow bad.
But food is not the enemy. And it never was. It’s always been about how you talk to yourself and how you speak to yourself about food.
So tell your inner critic to pipe down. Drown out that noise of the old you who is still tearing you down.
It’s OK to incorporate foods you love
This is your life, and you’ve got one. I think it’s extremely important to enjoy life, which includes having foods you love. Your mental and emotional health are just as important, and sometimes that includes food (in a mindful way, of course).
You are allowed to eat foods you love. You’re allowed to enjoy your meals. You’re allowed to give yourself permission and the freedom to enjoy these things.
I want you to ask yourself and journal this:
What would it look like for you to truly enjoy your meals and have a healthy relationship with food? What old beliefs do you need to let go of in order for that to happen?
Thats a Wrap
You didn’t have surgery to eat grilled chicken, protein shakes and cottage cheese all day (unless that’s your jam). Life happens, you will go out to eat, be social and enjoy all foods while prioritizing yourself and your goals, babe! It is possible. Balance is possible. Incorporating foods you love is possible.
I know from personal experience and from helping 1,000s of women on their bariatric journey that food can feel complicated and full of emotions. The journey through and beyond bariatric surgery is intense, but it is so much better when you’re in a community of people who get it. That’s why I created The TRIBE; to connect with and empower people like you!Check out The TRIBE Membership today; we’re ready to welcome you to the group!