Four-stage dietary plan

Diet: a four-stage process

There are four main stages to the eating plan that support effective weight loss. Each stage helps you to follow the transitional diet ie. from the old, to the new way of eating.

Stage 1: the pre-operative diet

Two weeks before your surgery you are asked to follow a meal plan which is low in certain carbohydrates and fat. Its main purpose is to help to reduce the amount of these substances stored in your liver. This makes the liver smaller and makes it easier for the surgeons to carry out the surgery.

Stage 2: the immediate post-operative period (weeks 0-2)

Only clear fluids, such as sips of water, will be tolerated during the first 24-48 hours; cold drinks are usually preferred. After this initial period, you can begin to vary the fluids using no added sugar additions to water, diluted fruit juices and stock-type soups. Towards the end of the stage, you can experiment with the more protein-based drinks provided they contain no lumps.

Stage 3: The puree and soft/mashed diet (weeks 3-4)

You should still avoid eating food containing lumps, but you can begin to increase the texture of your diet to the thickness of yoghurt or custard-style consistency. This stage is also about establishing regular eating interspersed with fluids. Chewing mindfully is something to practice.

Stage 4: Normal textured, healthy meal plan (weeks 5-6 and following)

Foods with a firmer texture should be introduced to your diet gradually, continuing to chew foods carefully. Most foods will eventually be tolerated always presuming you are mindful about eating. Eating and drinking together should be avoided. The following are brief guidelines for eating:

  • try to eat three small meals each day; you will eventually be able to include a protein-based snack
  • chew food thoroughly
  • stop eating when comfortably full
  • drink plenty of clear fluids between meals, and sip them throughout the day. Zero calorie, non-carbonated drinks (such as water) work best
  • take your prescribed vitamin supplements

It is important to remember that good weight loss outcomes occur not just as a result of the surgery itself but happens together with you developing new eating habits following surgery. You need to be clear about your responsibility during the process; engaging with the aftercare process is extremely important and those that attend aftercare do better than those who don’t. Weight loss following weight loss surgery is inevitable; the extent and quality of your weight loss, however, depends on your commitment to longer term dietary and lifestyle changes. Fred will be happy to talk to you about any aspect of diet or lifestyle as you progress through the aftercare experience.