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Gastric Sleeve Diet After One Year: How to Use Your Tool Successfully

Gastric Sleeve Diet After One Year: How to Use Your Tool Successfully

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      One year after your gastric sleeve surgery, you have settled at a comfortable weight. You have no dietary restrictions as you reintroduce foods to your food plan. You have experienced food cravings for the first time in a year. You are also drinking alcohol again. All of these new habits will permanently sabotage all of your hard work in maintaining a healthy lifestyle if you lose perspective of your lifestyle goals.

      The bariatric meal plan is full of rules and nutritional goals, which create a strong sense of discipline. The plan includes maintaining a specific amount of grams of protein daily, eating vitamin supplements, and drinking a particular amount of fluid. All of these rules help you lose weight consistently for a year. The goal after one year is maintaining your  weight loss long term.

      The goal of bariatric surgery is to lose a large amount of excessive weight. Immediately post-surgery, there is limited hunger, eating small volumes of food, and a struggle to get all essential nutrients, which leads to a rapid weight loss.

      Gastric sleeve diet after one year, it is typical for hunger to return. Cravings for salty and sugary food returns because your body has found a weight it is comfortable with settling at. Your food volume increases along with not waiting thirty minutes before and after eating to consume liquids. There is a real struggle to remain disciplined with your bariatric plan. The bariatric diet is a lifelong plan that must be maintained for permanent success in keeping morbid obesity in remission. This surgery is a tool, but only you can use your tool effectively.

      Back on Track Helpful Check-Ins

      Good Habits

      Exercise: If you haven’t exercised in a long time or find yourself not as consistent, stepping back in the gym is a significant first step. Doing a walk on a treadmill is an excellent start to reestablishing your exercise routine that will help ease body aches and help clear your mind. Exercising is a great stress reliever and can also aid in your journey of maintaining your weight loss.

      Woman sitting at a table writing in a notebook.
      The organization is key to tackling and holding onto your success.

      Gastric Sleeve Diet One Year After Surgery - Mindful Eating Plan:

      A healthy eating plan is a great way to restart your back on track routine. A healthy eating routine can consist of journaling your food and noticing any harmful or destructive patterns to your weight loss goals.

      Another useful technique is counting calories. Gastric sleeve diet one year after surgery, I now have a caloric goal set by my dietician. Her goal is to set between 800-1200 calories for me after one year after gastric sleeve. Having this goal allows me to calculate and monitor what I am ingesting mentally. I have learned whether my food choices are based on practical or emotional needs.

      Another helpful technique is HALT. HALT stands for hunger, anger, lonely and tired/thirsty. I use this technique when I have a sugary or salty craving. I pause myself and listen to what my mind and body are telling me.

      This technique is precious in understanding your response to food. This habit teaches you to learn impulse control and understand your relationship with food. It’s a great tool that aids in reflecting upon your food instincts and choices.

      Solid Food/Protein: Protein is the main focus of every bariatric patient meal. It is where all nutritional value is found. Your dietician should have a daily set goal of required grams of protein.

      Typical ranges are between  60-80 grams a day. Protein also decreases your hunger sensations because it makes you feel full sooner and longer. My daily protein requirement is 70 grams, and I achieve this goal by having protein with every meal.

      Picture of a chicken meal on a board.
      Protein is an important part of your gastric sleeve diet after one year.

      Gastric Sleeve Diet After One Year: Example of Meal Plan

      For breakfast, I have one scrambled egg and Greek yogurt. For lunch, I have tuna and broccoli. For a mid-afternoon snack, I have my premier protein shake. For dinner, I have salmon with green beans and cauliflower.

      This is an average day in my gastric sleeve diet after one year. I use this as a template for my meal planning and reaching my protein goals.

      Fluid Intake: The nutritional liquid requirement is 64 oz., or half of your body weight daily. A helpful tip in successfully absorbing optimal liquid is restricting your carbonated beverages. These drinks are empty calories that do not have much nutritional value.

      Another reason liquid is stressed is due to the increased likelihood of dehydration. Feeling dizzy, lightheaded is a warning sign your body is telling you not to ignore and drink fluids.

      The main reason for rehospitalization after surgery is due to dehydration.

      I have personally had to be the most mindful of this post-surgery. I regularly experience lightheadedness and dizziness when I do not drink enough water. It is severe and should be mindfully considered daily to prevent any health complications post-surgery.

      Listening to your body is key to success. The further out we get from surgery, the easier it can be to revert to old habits and become lazy with our new ones. Water is essential to a successful life post-bariatric surgery.

      Support System: Checking back in with your therapist, bariatric doctors, family, and friends is crucial when you notice harmful patterns settling in. Losing your strict discipline after a year is standard, and readjustment may be necessary to get back on track with your mindset if you feel you are slipping.

      Bad Habits

      Drinking at Meals: A common bad habit many bariatric patients experiences is not waiting thirty minutes before and after eating to drink. Sabotaging your surgery by flushing away all of your food defeats the purpose of the surgery. You will eat more calories than necessary because of a lack of self-discipline and organization.

      Because dehydration is a severe concern, planning your mealtimes is also crucial. Time management is a useful skill that may need to become reestablished one year post-surgery.

      Although slip-ups happen, as you eat more solid food, you’re less rigid with your food intake and planning. The continual breaking of this rule will cause many negative consequences.

      Refocusing on your timing of eating and drinking is essential for long term success after gastric sleeve surgery.

      Picture of cookies.
      Snacking is a dangerous habit, even though the immediate rewards are satisfying.

      Snacking: A common occurrence after one-year post-surgery is the increase of snack foods within your diet. Cravings for salty and sugary foods increase at one year due to the settling of comfortable body weight.

      Eating carb-filled foods increases cravings, but having protein-based snacks limits cravings.

      Some great snacks that can help with cravings are yogurt, cheese sticks, and peanut butter on apples. Avoid chips, cookies, and crackers because they are empty calories with no nutritional value.

      Picture of alcohol being poured into a glass.
      Alcohol is nothing but empty calories regardless of the adventure it presents.

      Drinking Alcohol: A significant concern one year after surgery is alcohol. Alcohol is allowed for gastric sleeve patients’ one-year post-surgery. The dangers of abusing alcohol are high due to the transference of compulsive behavior from food to alcohol.

      Another reason drinking alcohol is dangerous is due to the instant absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream, which leads to dehydration.

      Alcohol is considered empty calories, and as a bariatric patient is something to be wary of.

      I abstain from drinking alcohol due to these negative side effects. My body has an extremely adverse reaction to alcohol. I drank half a glass of wine on my one year surgery anniversary and felt drunk and lightheaded immediately. There was an instant sensation of a lack of control.  I was excited because it was a new sensation for me, but the unease I experienced was not something I enjoyed or wished to repeat.


      Throughout this bariatric pre-surgery and post-surgery work, I have had to realign my relationship with food. Being mindful of every food choice is essential for me to meet my daily protein goal and not overshoot my caloric needs. Understanding the difference between conscious and mindless eating is a skill I have learned to cultivate, but it is a daily challenge that requires constant awareness and understanding.

      Woman sitting on a cliff looking around.
      You made the hardest decision of your life. Don’t look back now.

      Remaining committed to your health and wellness is essential in maintaining your weight loss success. A reminder of your goals and aspirations is key to sticking to them. My goal is to maintain my weight loss by meeting my nutritional goals daily, exercising weekly, and understanding how I respond physically and mentally to stress.  Also, having forgiveness when I do slip up on my goals and choosing to get back on track at my next meal.

      Having reflections on your choices and knowing that everything is not in your control, but what and how much you eat is.  We are all stronger than we think or anticipate.  We survived one-year post-surgery, which is a fantastic accomplishment.

      One year down in our fantastic weight loss journey.

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        Kelsey Renae Schulze


        Kelsey is a post-op bariatric patient who had sleeve surgery in 2018. She is a writer, focusing on a variety of topics given her background in legal studies and criminal justice.

        Gintas Antanavicius, MD, FACS, FASMBS

        Medical Reviewer

        Dr. G is a co-founder of BariBuilder. A US-based expert surgeon with over 10 years of bariatric experience, he regularly publishes research in medical journals like SOARD, Obesity Surgery, etc.