After the first six months of bariatric surgery, there is something in our body mechanisms that changes. Our weight loss slows down, some of us reach our goal weight (or are getting very close to), and for some, the weight loss stops completely. It’s at this point that we need to change something up either to gear up for maintenance or to continue losing, getting us to that goal.

For bariatric patients, there are more than one WOE (ways of eating – also known as POE or plan of eating). The hard part is finding exactly what it is that will work for you.

The thing is, you have to TRY these WOE’s out to see if they work for you. And you have to try them for longer than two weeks. Usually 6 weeks to three months is a good gauge to see if a WOE will work for you or not.

Many of us will have a good nutritionist or dietician that will help monitor and tweak alongside us so that we can try these out safely. For those of us that don’t, however, we have to be very careful that we don’t fall back into the “yo-yo diet” mindset. This is not about finding the “next best thing” that will help us lose all our weight (we’ve already done that), it’s about finding a healthy, sustainable way of eating that we can continue for a lifetime.

Over the next few weeks, this series will go into deeper detail of some of the most common WOE’s that bariatric patients will sustain over a lifetime. Some of these are meant to help transition you into maintenance mode while others are intended to help you lose the next 50 lbs. or to help you get off those last 10-20.

Take note, if you have regained weight, these are not intended for that purpose. Later, we’ll do a series focusing on regain and how to lose it (as this is something that Jen is learning a lot about right now!)

Last week we introduced the concept of finding a WOE. This week we’re going to start talking about ACTUAL WOE’s (ways of eating) by starting with the one we are all familiar with – the Standard Bariatric Diet.

During the first few months after surgery, we are on a special eating plan that prepares our new tummies for “real food”. Once we’ve gotten through those stages, we are allowed more freedom in the foods that we can (physically) eat. Cream soups and broths are replaced by chicken breast and veggies and mashed bananas are replaced with apple slices.

The Standard Bariatric Diet has three main components:

1. It’s high in protein. The protein counts run anywhere from 60-100 g (depending on doctor’s orders). You will also be told to ALWAYS eat your protein first.
2. It’s (generally) low in fat. Notice we say GENERALLY. There are some doctors and nutritionists that are less concerned with fat than they are with making sure the protein levels are reached.
3. It’s (generally) moderate in carbs. Again, this is GENERALLY. There are some nutritionists that will prescribe a lower carb (20-75 g) plan (this will be discussed in a later post). The majority of carbs will come from fruits and vegetables, although carbs from whole grains are usually allowed. Sugar is usually cut out completely.

The main focus of the SBD is the protein levels. Most doctors who prescribe this type of follow-up diet will tell you to not worry about counting fat or carbs, and focus on counting protein grams.

WHO THIS WORKS FOR
This eating plan will work for most people that don’t have dietary issues, have controlled or healed their diabetes, or who don’t have autoimmune disease.

PROS

This eating plan has many pros, including the ease of shopping and planning. For the most part, the SBD can be integrated into a family setting, with the bariatric patient being able to stay within their guidelines while not compromising their family’s dietary needs.

There are no special products that need to be sought out and nothing is really “off limits” (within reason, and unless you have issues digesting certain foods such as rice or pasta), which makes this plan easy to follow and maintain.

CONS

This eating plan can be tough for those with specific food triggers (such as carbs or fats). Because nothing is “off limits”, foods high in carbs and foods that are considered slider foods (foods that one can consume a lot of without feeling restriction or foods that easily “slide” through an RnY pouch or gastric-band) can cause further food issues.

If someone is sensitive to carbs, this plan can halt weight loss or even cause weight regain.

There is a lot of disagreement on what is the “proper” amount of protein that someone should eat – the ranges are from 60 g to 100 g and the information across the internet is staggering. There is also a lot of misinformation across the board over what is considered “allowed” and “not-allowed” in regards to this eating plan.

SAMPLE MENU PLAN

Here is a sample one-day menu that one might eat on this plan:

Protein Count = 66 g
Breakfast: 1 slice whole grain toast topped with avocado and an egg.
Lunch : 1 C salad greens topped with 2 oz grilled chicken breast, 2 tsp shredded cheese, and 1 T salad dressing.
Dinner: Soft taco made with a whole grain tortilla, 1 T refried beans, 2 T ground beef, 1 tsp cheese, 2tsp salsa, and lettuce and tomato.
Snacks: 1 cheese stick, 1 small apple w/peanut butter.

We hope this post was helpful. Next week we will talk about the Plant-Based Way of Eating.
Questions/Comments? Visit us on Facebook! We’d love to hear from you!