You’ve made it through the first weeks and months of recovery after your vertical sleeve gastrectomy. That was the hardest part! By now, you have probably lost a large amount of weight and have begun to adjust to your new, small stomach. It might have taken you an hour to eat a small cup of yogurt a few months ago, but now you are able to eat many new things (well, new to your new stomach).
Immediately after surgery, your stomach is very swollen. This makes it difficult to eat anything besides thin liquids (you also need to be careful that you don’t put any stress on your new, freshly “stapled” tummy). You eventually move onto thicker liquids, like yogurt, and slowly onto soft foods. Eventually, you will be able to eat almost whatever you like – just less of it! And, of course, it is important to make the right choices to keep your body healthy and your weight loss steady.
The key to health after your VSG is to start with your protein, move on to your vegetables if you have room, and finally end with carbs or starches afterward. Protein should be your biggest concentration. Your body needs protein to survive. You may have noticed while recovering that you felt a little under the weather, perhaps a little weak; that is not only due to the low calorie intake but also due to the minimal amount of protein.
To avoid having your food “slide” through your stomach, do not drink anything 30 minutes before your meal or during your meal. Doing so can create a “slurry” effect, causing your food to pass through your stomach quicker and leave you feeling unsatisfied. This is obviously not the goal after getting your sleeve!
Speaking of fluids: do not drink your calories. It is very important to stay hydrated and you should make sure that you are sipping water throughout the day. But do not waste your precious calories on things such as juice, soda (a big no-no, the carbonation can also stretch your new stomach!), or sugary lattes.
Your shrunken stomach is a tool that you will be able to use forever; however, the key is to remember that it is just a tool. It is still you who has control over your eating and you who has control over your weight loss. Although it might not seem possible at first, you can stretch your stomach by overeating and that can land you right back where you started before surgery! Remember to eat small meals, take your time and chew your food very well, and always start with your protein. This will ensure that you are satisfied by a small amount of healthy food and that your weight loss is steady.