By Caitlin Hastings, Physician Assistant

After being on a liquid diet two weeks prior to weight loss surgery, and then again, depending on the procedure you had, for a week or two after, it can be a challenge learning how to eat. When you’re re-introducing solid foods into your diet after about four weeks, there’s definitely a learning curve, but we try to educate our patients on what they can expect.

While everyone’s different, there are a few rules that are going to make things much easier when it’s time to introduce soft and solid foods. But by keeping these three rules below in mind, you’ll be much less likely to experience dumping syndrome or get sick from overeating.

Rule #1: Expect to eat only three or four bites before you feel full. Patients are always very surprised that they feel full after three bites, and while just one bite too much can be overeating, there’s the chance that you could feel very sick after that. Always keep in mind, you can come back to that meal when you get hungry later.

Rule #2: Chew your food to an applesauce consistency before you swallow.  Take it slow, chew very well, and take your time swallowing. I know, it sounds so silly, but it really matters when you’re eating solid food again for the first time in weeks. By chewing your food to an applesauce consistency, you’re ensuring that the food goes down more easily and doesn’t get stuck. Don’t worry, it gets much easier to eat and get things down after a while, but in the beginning, it can be hard.

Rule #3: Don’t eat and drink at the same time. There are two reasons for this. First, this is because you’re only able to eat three or four bites of a meal at a time, and we really want you focusing on getting your protein – you need it to heal after surgery. If you’re only able to get in three bites of a high protein food, we don’t need you filling your tiny stomach up with fluids. Plan on drinking about thirty minutes later, once the food is digested.

Another reason you’ll want to wait to drink until after you eat is to reduce your chances of experiencing what’s known as dumping syndrome. This occurs when food moves through the body too quickly and doesn’t get absorbed like it needs.

Think about it like this – You’re chewing your food to an applesauce consistency so imagine applesauce in your stomach. Then say you pour water on top of that applesauce. That’s going to make it really thinned out and move through the body a lot quicker. When this happens, it might make you a little bit nauseous, or you may have to run to the restroom quickly. You’re not staying full as long because that water is just pushing all that food through, and it’s like you never even ate.

By simply following these three rules, you’ll learn how you can eat enough food without feeling sick or experiencing dumping syndrome. It can be hard at first, but as time goes on, you’ll learn your body and know exactly what it takes to stay satisfied and healthy.   

Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery is a caring group of professionals who specialize in all types of bariatric surgery.  Our surgeon Dr. Jay Long has highly specialized training in bariatric surgery, having completed a fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he focused on taking care of patients that are morbidly obese.  And we are so proud of our pricing that we publish the costs right on the front page of our website!  Insurance won’t pay?  We have a variety of financing options we can offer you so that you are able to get the healthy body you’ve wanted for years.  Visit us today at http://www.bmisurgery.com/ or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.