If you’re wondering how much you should eat after gastric bypass, you’re not alone. It’s funny how we can be given the exact formula for success, and then not follow it or gloss over it.
I know, because that’s how I am, too. So, this information is as much for you, as it is a reminder for myself.
There are two phases for a gastric bypass patient: right after surgery, and the rest of your life. Eating is mostly the same for both phases, though the liquids-soft foods stages aren’t something you’ll do forever.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY
The goal right after surgery is to eat 6 small meals a day (3 meals, 3 planned snacks), spaced 3 hours apart. The overall goal for the day is 85-90 grams of proteins, so each meal should have at least 15 grams of proteins.
You need to follow your doctor’s recommendation for the liquid’s phase. There seems to be different suggestions, so I’m going to defer to whatever they say to do.
So, let’s pick up at the semi-soft phase for some examples of what to expect. These are taken from my real life, so adjust accordingly to fit your needs
|Time To Eat Example||Meal||Semi-Soft Phase Example||The Rest of Forever Example|
|6:00 AM||Breakfast||Light & Fit Dannon Greek Yogurt||Light & Fit Dannon Greek Yogurt|
|9:00 AM||Snack||1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese |
w/ no sugar added applesauce
|2 fat-free mozzarella cheese sticks|
|12:00 PM||Lunch||1/2 cup bariatric “meatloaf”|
Ground beef, mixed with
|Usually leftovers from last night’s |
dinner, but portion controlled to
the size of my palm
|3:00 PM||Snack||1 pkg flavored Sunkist Tuna pouches|
1 pkg individually portioned
hummus or guacamole
Mixed together… it’s delicious.
Don’t judge till you try it.
|About 1 cup-ish of Thin pretzels |
dipped in individually portioned
out hummus or guacamole.
I eat until I’m satisfied (weird, right?)
|6:00 PM||Dinner||1/2 cup scrambled eggs|
1/8 cup sour cream
|Whatever I feel like eating that has |
mostly protein, then vegetables, then
a small amount of carbs and sugars.
Portioned to no more than the size
of my palm.
Last night, it was Salmon with green
beans from Texas Roadhouse. Yum!
At first, you may only be able to get a few tablespoons of actual food in, and that’s ok. That’s why you have protein shakes to make up the difference.
As you begin to heal from surgery, the inflammation in the pouch will decrease and there will be more room. Then, you’ll be asking “Did I stretch out my pouch?” This will happen all of a sudden, too.
One day it’ll be a job to get the food in, and the next it’ll feel like there is no restriction at all.
Listen to your restriction. When you get that tightening feeling, STOP EATING.
After surgery, you’ll still eat 6 times a day, 3 hours apart.
But you’ll be able to eat about a cup of food at a time, instead of just teaspoons. Once you’re on solid foods, back off from the protein shakes.
Get REAL protein from real foods! That’s the most important thing.
HOW MANY CALORES A DAY DO YOU EAT AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS?
I wouldn’t even recommend counting calories. Focus on your protein. Your hair and muscles will thank you.
Right after surgery, the goal is 800-1000 calories, which doesn’t seem like much.
But your body will be using up the fat stores to burn what you aren’t eating. This is where the extreme weight loss comes in.
And that can be really hard on you, because you’ll be exhausted.
Do not try to eat more calories to increase energy
Do NOT drink your calories to increase energy.
There are so many hidden calories in our drinks. Only drink things that are sugar-free, and I would recommend caffeine free, too.
That one can feel really hard, because you’re already exhausted from not eating that you’ll try anything to boost your energy.
HOW TO BOOST ENERGY RIGHT AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY
Take one ferrous iron pill in the morning with a big glass of water and lemon juice. The citrus acid from the lemon juice will work with your body to absorb the iron better.
Do not take iron with orange juice (especially calcium fortified) right after surgery. There is too much sugar in orange juice, and you need to stay away from it right now.
If you start drinking it, you’ll start rationalizing that you need the orange juice in order to take your pill. And then you’ll start rationalizing other things subconsciously.
Take this seriously. It will happen.
Taking your pill with lemon and water is an intentional act. Do it on purpose. Stay away from orange juice right now. I’ve repeated myself on purpose.
Do not take iron pills with your coffee if you add creamer.
Calcium binds to iron, and then they flush themselves right out the body. Actually, it’s not going to be as easy as that sounds, as the bonded iron and calcium will cause some hard stools. Ouch. Don’t take them together.
If your iron isn’t low, and you’re still slugging around with low energy levels, get some liquid B12. Get it delivered straight to your door.
It’s a huge lifesaver, and it’s super inexpensive. Just put a few drops under your tongue before working out or going for a walk. This is something every gastric bypass patient should have in their medicine cabinet.
CAN YOU OVEREAT AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS?
You CAN eat through your tool after surgery. Your tool is the small size of the pouch.
And just like your normal stomach, you can stretch it out through intentional overeating. When you overfill your pouch, two things can happen: either you will regurgitate the excess or you will ignore the pain and regurgitation to keep eating.
That’s it, pick one.
I have been guilty of overeating, both as I was learning right after surgery and still even 5 years later.
It happens. When I overeat, I have to take control and stop myself. It’s a skill, and it can be learned through listening to your tool. Listen to your restriction, and respect yourself enough to stop.
By learning your personal triggers, and identifying non-food related coping mechanisms for those triggers, you can stop turning to food. You can stop overeating, because you’re pouch says “Enough” and you say “Ok”.
And then you put down the food, and maybe even walk away from it.
CAN YOU EVER EAT NORMALLY AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS?
After gastric bypass you will be able to eat like a healthy person.
“Normal” for me meant binge eating over 5000 calories a day. So, no. If you respect your tool, you will never again eat like you “normally” did before surgery.
Thank the Lord.
But you will be eating in a different way after surgery.
When I am in a social setting, my plate is never nearly as cleared as anyone else’s. I can still order the same foods as them (though I usually don’t), but I eat the proteins first and I never get a salad.
I’ll always have a to-go box, and it’ll usually be full.
People often comment on the way I eat, usually it’s the overweight women in the group.
Not trying to be rude by singling them out, but it’s the truth and that’s why you’re here. It’s funny how they will watch and scrutinize what everyone else is eating, and then have the nerve to comment on it.
It happens to me often, because I’m thin and they want to know why.
It’s how I eat, and its NOT normal to them. It’s normal to me, and I’m happy with that.
CAN I EAT MASHED POTATOES AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS?
Mashed potatoes are a great food to eat right after surgery, and for the rest of your life. Even better is mashed cauliflower.
Right after surgery you can eat what you’d feed a 6 month old baby.
So, if you can imagine being able to easily swallow it by only mashing your gums together without teeth, then you’re ok to try it as long as there are no added fats, sugars, or carbs.
So, leave out the gravy. I tried mashed potatoes at KFC with the gravy, and the dumping episode afterward turned me off their gravy for LIFE. I shudder now remembering it.
Be cautious about the PORTIONS of the mashed foods that you’ll be trying. These foods are known as SLIDER FOODS. Because they slide right through the pouch and right through the restriction.
It is not painful to overeat these foods. And you may not even know you’ve overeaten until your scale starts going the wrong way! Portion out first, then enjoy without going back for more.
CAN I EAT PIZZA AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS?
Once you are in your maintenance phase after gastric bypass, it is common to start reintroducing carbs and breads, like pizza, back into the diet.
If pizza was your comfort food before surgery, then this one is going to be very important to you to figure out how to get it back into your life.
I get it.
You can have one or two slices of pizza after surgery OR 3 or 4 slices of cheesy bread or breadsticks. You cannot have an entire pizza pie to yourself- or even HALF the pizza – AND then on top of that have the breadsticks or cheesy breads.
That’s how eating was like before surgery. This is all about moderation now. You’re eating to fuel your body, not to soothe your soul.
Flatbread pizzas covered in chicken or other meats with big slices of mozzarella are ideal.
The carb ratio is more equal to the proteins with these types of pizza, so the bread won’t overfill the pouch. You’ll be able to eat in a healthier way while still satisfying your craving.
Mashed cauliflower pizza crust is even better, and something you can do while in the Losing Weight Phase. Because you’ll get the plant protein and fiber carbs instead of the just the starchy bread carbs.
It’ll feel better for your mind and body knowing you’re eating pizza, but a healthier version.
CAN I EAT ICE CREAM AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS?
Ice cream, like you had before surgery, is something you’ll avoid after gastric bypass.
This was so hard for me, personally, because this was the balm to my soul before gastric bypass. Ice cream, in it’s normal gallon or larger form, is just about everything you should avoid: fats, sugars, carbs, and calories from liquids.
I’ll have one bite of normal ice cream if I’m scoping it for my children. But that’s all. I made that mistake one too many times after surgery, and it’s not worth it.
But I know that’s not what you want to hear, so I’ve got some good news. I’ve got the alternatives for you.
THE BEST GASTRIC BYPASS ICE CREAM ALTERNATIVES
- MY RECIPE FOR AN IMITATION WENDY’S FROSTY (Related: Recipes)
- Sugar Free Fudge Bars
- Halo Top Creamery Ice Cream (DO NOT EAT THE WHOLE THING IN ONE SITTING! Portion out 1/4 cup at a time) Click here to get it delivered to your house, sometimes within 2 hours! Use them to fuel your weight loss!
YOU CAN DO THIS!
You’re going to love the new you, and wonder why you even needed the surgery at all one day!
I think to myself, man, if I’d known this stuff, maybe I wouldn’t have had to get the surgery.
It’s a dumb thing I tell myself, and I know it’s dumb.
But whether or not you can do it with or without the surgery, JUST DO IT! Get out of your prison! It’s way, way better on this side of the mountain.
Love you all! Happy weight loss!