If you have experienced or are worried about weight gain after bariatric surgery, know that you are not alone.
Research has shown that 20-25% of patients may experience weight regain at some point between 2 and 10 years after surgery.
This can be very disheartening. It is important to understand that obesity is a complex and multifaceted disease, and bariatric surgery is just a tool to help with weight loss.
If you are struggling with weight regain, we recommend that you speak with our dietitian to help you identify the root cause.
Why do Patients Gain Weight after Bariatric Surgery?
A few main reasons of weight regain include:
- Stretching of the new stomach. The stomach is an organ that can stretch overtime if you are consistently eating or drinking beyond feeling ‘satisfied’.
- Making poor quality food choices. Consuming energy-dense foods such as processed foods, fried foods or foods high in fat and sugar can result in weight gain.
- Making poor liquid choices. Alcohol, fruit juices and soft drinks are very high in calories and are rapidly absorbed by the body. This prevents you from feeling satiated, thus making it easy to have large quantities.
- Poor eating habits. Grazing refers to snacking on small portions of food over an extended period of time, which makes it hard to keep track of how much you eat. It also prevents you from being in touch with your hunger and fullness cues.
- Lack of physical activity. Being physically active helps prevent weight regain as the body burns more fuel and uses more energy.
Post Bariatric Surgery: Tips to Keep the Weight Off
- Keep a regular meal pattern (3 meals and 2 optional snacks) and avoid skipping meals.
- Be mindful of your portion sizes and chew slowly. Stick to less than 1 cup of food at each main meal.
- Limit intake of highly processed and takeaway foods. Instead choose wholefoods that are high in protein and fibre.
- Ensure you are meeting your protein (>60g/day) and fluid (>2L/day) requirements.
- Limit liquid calories and instead choose no-sugar drinks such as Gatorade no sugar, Powerade zero or our favourite; protein powder added to water!
- Separate your food and fluid intake.
- Return to an active lifestyle by finding an activity you enjoy. For example: swimming, cycling, yoga, Pilates or playing a sport with a friend or family member.
Weight Gain after Bariatric Surgery
If you have regained weight after surgery, don’t be embarrassed.
Focus on the non-scale victories you have achieved such as being able to run around with your grandchildren, coming off your high blood pressure or diabetes medication, resolving reflux, having more energy or not experiencing joint pain.
It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your GP and regularly check in with your dietitian after your 12-month surgery anniversary.
If you have any questions, please contact us here.