With all the latest medical news and research online at their fingertips, people seem less knowledgeable about their bariatric surgery than when I had mine back in the ‘old days’ of 2001.

We have wonderful people who come to our Facebook Bariatric Eating Support Group but they are completely in the weeds. It’s almost as if some had bariatric surgery on the way home from the mall. We recently had a post op proud of the protein she ate at Chick Fil-A ten minutes after release from the hospital. The girl was heading straight into a wall. Our team has great empathy for all our members and we help them with direction and comfort no matter where they enter the room, but in many cases we are starting from near zero!

Angel Post op... BELIEVE

My theory is that we think that we don’t need to pay as much attention to our surgeons and program professionals or read up on our procedure as there are so many people online to help us figure it out later. We don’t even have to Google it, we can ask and someone will answer!

The problem is that there’s a lot of bad advice doled out by those who don’t know ‘Jack’ and that’s hurting people. Folks having their stomach removed are listening to random people on the internet who did not use protein or take vitamins… and nothing bad happened. This phenomenon of feeling safe when finding others who didn’t follow plan is a contributing factor to later problems. We don’t take care of ourselves, we slide off track and in a few years wonder why we are weak or have gained most of the weight back.


Here’s your sign!

1. Sleeve surgery is less invasive than ‘the other kinds’ of bariatric surgery.
Having most of your stomach completely removed from your body is just about as invasive as it gets. So is having your stomach cut in half and your intestines rerouted, but all the parts are still there. While we’re at it, having your stomach strangled with a silicon banded device with port implanted beneath the skin is invasive too. All. Are. Really. Really. Invasive.

2. I can try to eat foods other than what I am told to eat by my surgeons office and if nothing happens I am good!
Hold on there. Having your GI system partly removed or rearranged is quite a shock to your body and in particular to that tube running from your mouth to your anus that processes and extracts nutrients from food. The point of starting with only clear liquids and slowly progressing towards soft foods is to allow you to heal internally. Your stomach is gone, your body is reeling and you don’t need Ritz crackers and pulled pork in there on day three. DON’T TRY IT. It doesn’t matter if nothing seemed to happen. Follow your plan. Period.

My surgeon, Dr. Carlos Carrasquilla, scared the heck out of us in pre-op sessions with a story of having to remove a knish from the pouch of a three day post op, then two days later having to retrieve a homemade ravioli. (Google knish…)

3. Yogurt is a clear liquid, right?
The important word here is clear. See through. Clear liquids are liquids you can see through when you hold up the glass. This is not meant to be a punishment. It’s important that you give your new sleeve a break so it can heal. Fluids, but nothing that needs to be digested. Sip wonton soup without the wontons and ‘stuff’, diet Snapple, herbal tea, water with lemon, hot water, cold water, room temp water, diet Ocean Spray Cranberry… all clear liquids! Even a bowl of sugar free Jello is a clear liquid as it touches your tongue. Sugar free ice pops… clear liquid!

That nausea you begin to feel when you are three weeks post op is dehydration. Not enough fluids – dehydration is the number one reason for hospital readmission after bariatric surgery and it’s largely avoidable. Forget the food and protein and even vitamins… you need water! We have a free app for iPhone at the Apple store that is VERY helpful.   www.GetHyApp.com

4. Everything in moderation is the way to do this.
Nooooo, that was not a good plan before surgery either. Our moderation button is broken. We moderated ourselves right up to 300 pounds. We never ate ONE mini Snickers from the Halloween bowl, we ate them all and nothing has changed. Get over it! Accept that after bariatric surgery there are categories of foods you just can’t eat anymore. Learn to live without bread, macaroni, tortillas, rice, potatoes and sugar. If this bothers you. Don’t. Have. Surgery. Keep Living Large. Stay Vast.

5. I’ll take Gummy vitamins.
Okay, if you take them every day, I will admit that you are doing better than the 67% of posts ops who don’t take any vitamins, but if you’re going to go to the trouble you might as well take something that will keep the IV Iron infusion needle out of your arm. Gummy vitamins don’t have minerals in them, because they wouldn’t taste good if they did. The stuff that it’s important for us to take is the stuff that doesn’t taste good.

Please take good vitamins. New post ops don’t know that old post ops break bones, lose teeth (hello!), endure IV iron infusions and some actually die. No kidding. Ask an old post op if they know anyone who has died and most will tell you they do.

6. Artificial sweeteners are killing us! I’ll just use ‘a little’ real sugar.
Know what is really killing us? Morbid Obesity. We couldn’t control it and had to have our stomach removed to help us. It’s really hard to go from a twelve pack of Mountain Dew a day straight to>>>> ugh, stevia. Most people find that Splenda helps them kick real sugar so they can lose most of the weight and then they can make other epic decisions about eating cleaner and healthier. Let’s do this one step at a time. Agave, Honey and Sugar in the Raw? Still sugar.

Sugar is bad. Don’t use it. (and you are not the only one who thinks stevia tastes awful… )

7. Lots of people drink soda and nothing happens.
Lots of people eat cake and tortillas and don’t need weight loss surgery! Lots of people do lots of things they are asked not to do and nothing happens to them. That has no bearing on us.

Nearly ALL bariatric surgeons go out of their way to be perfectly clear about only a couple of things. They specifically say NO SODA. Not, cut back on soda, or only have soda once in a while, or only diet soda. They actually say the words ‘No Soda’. Done. No one dies without soda. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but then again, maybe it does and one day you’ll be 300 pounds again because you thought you were smarter than the doctor. That would truly suck. Truth is that carbonation probably doesn’t hurt the pouch or sleeve, but the habit definitely does.

8. I’m picky and can’t tolerate protein.
People say they are picky with great pride as if it is a good enough excuse. With all due respect, you don’t have a ‘picky palate’, there is something wrong with your thinking and you need a ‘checkup from the neckup’. You are not five years old and it’s not cute. You just had your stomach cut apart with bariatric surgery and picky no longer matters. It got checked at the door to the OR. People get sick from post op deficiencies because they don’t get that supplements aren’t a joke or a suggestion. (and then their hair falls out… which normally straightens them up a tad but not fully) Protein and vitamins are something we have to suck up and do no matter what they taste like. Good bariatric vitamins will always taste a little like sucking on a penny. Oh well.

9. Maybe I’ll get lucky and not lose my hair.
There is nothing you can do about losing your hair after surgery. It’s shock. Yes, that is hair in your brush (and then the surgically induced malnutrition kicks in). If you don’t plan your meals and target protein and nutrients, it won’t grow back. You can be one of the turtles on their backs who tell each other to get short haircuts and that no one notices, or you can be proactive and make sure you get the right nutrients. Boom. (See number 8)

10. You don’t understand, I am in peri menopause and need a revision because I can eat everything.
Being in peri menopause (or full blown menopause, or having Hashimoto’s, or thyroid issues, or bad knees. Insert excuse here>>>

_ ) doesn’t make you ‘need’ another surgery. Only in extreme cases do we need another surgery. (Not talking to people with eroded or slipped Lapbands as they do need another surgery) Try our 48 Hour Pouch Reset and I believe you’ll find out as most do that it’s the foods you choose that allow you to eat more.

Whether we have one bariatric surgery or four, we still have to change our life and eat only good food. It’s not the surgery once we are ten years post op, it’s us. Light bulb ON!

Surgery is tough, but so is LIFE. Pay attention to what the doctor and his office staff tells you and you’ll be a lot better off. TAKE NOTES. This is not their first rodeo.

Stop trying to find a loophole – there aren’t any!

We have a second chance and need to eat right. Nothing about the way we used to eat that brought us to the operating room doors works for our new life. Stop trying to fit the square peg into a round hole! Seriously… just stop… lol. Do you even realize you are doing it? It is exhausting.

None of us are angels, none of us are perfect, but the important part is that when we fall, we get up. Join us on Facebook… join us for Back on Track!

14 thoughts on “Following Plan? (or not) Here’s your Sign!

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      Beth, I get it. I have had my thyroid removed, so I make fun of thyroid people as I am one of them. I no longer take synthroid. I took it nearly my entire life and when my surgeon removed the giant mass wrapped around my trachea, he told me to not take synthroid anymore. I am NOT telling you to do that, only that is what I have done.

      • Jennifer says:

        I had my thyroid chemically ablated, I take synthroid. I thought would die eventually without the thyroid hormone, not true?

        • Susan Maria Leach says:

          Jennifer, I have an odd situation with my thyroid but I dont give advice on thyroid treatment. It upsets me that there are such crappy treatment options out there that haven’t been updated for centuries to the extent that people are using ground dessicated pig thyroid as ‘new’ therapy.- SML

  1. kim lofton says:

    My mom had bariatric surgery and so did I.  We have both lost the massive weight and are maintaining well.  The main difference is I follow my plan for the most part and she doesn’t.   As a result of being noncompliance and not taking her supplements or eating properly, she cannot walk.  The best answer her doctors have come up with is severe neuropathy caused by severe malnutrition.  She went from a strong vibrant independent woman to being bedridden, adult diapers, and being completely dependent for everything in about 6 months.  If that doesn’t wake you up to the importance of following plan, I don’t know what will.

    • Diana says:

      I feel for your mom, Kim….. I have neuropathy as well from my RNY surgery. I have no regrets as my levels are good now and I’ve lost about 100 lbs. I HAVE TO exercise and I HAVE TO take my vitamins and of course, now, I HAVE TO take pain killers for life to live. People who think this surgery is easy, just don’t get it. I really love the article as it didn’t sugar coat anything and as hard as it is for me to swallow… you are right on!!! Great article. I need to comply.

  2. Jamie says:

    Great article and full of Very Important information we all need reminded of.

    Kim, I am sorry for what your mom is going through. I have a friend who has gone through similar issues over the past 15 years due to malnutrition. So so important to follow the plan. Thank you again for the reminder.

  3. Shana says:

    I am so grateful I found this site and your team.  This article was exactly what I needed and wanted to hear.  I’m almost 9 months out and I have found myself “testing the waters”.  Honestly, it makes me feel like crap.   I’m still losing, but I feel like I could be losing more.  I’m 135 pounds and I feel great.  I do not want to go back to my old self!  Thanks for helping to keep me honest and giving it to me like it is.  You are the best.  

  4. Keisha says:

    I love the article and the information included.I do have concerns about #4 where it states ” Accept that after bariatric surgery there are categories of foods you just can’t eat anymore. Learn to live without bread, macaroni, tortillas, rice, potatoes and sugar. If this bothers you. Don’t. Have. Surgery. Keep Living Large. Stay Vast.”

    I am very committed to following.g my plan and have not been advised to stay away from many of the things you mentioned. My nutritionist has advocated an in moderation approach. Personally I have already removed sugar from my diet and plan on looking for alternatives to pasta and bread. I am choosing to sub sweet potato for white etc. However I didn’t have the sleeve to help me maintain an Atkins diet. Everyone who has had the sleeve isn’t necessarily a food addict and many may find success allowing some of the things you say we can never eat again. Respectfully, I don’t believe that is a reason to say don’t have the surgery or to suggest they will fail. I agree it may be more of a challenge for some but not impossible.

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      Keisha, I am 17 years post op and have dealt with hundreds of thousands of post ops – with all due respect, the 135 pound nutritionist who has worked for your surgeon 3 months is limited in her personal experience to the 88 people she has spoken to twice. Sorry to burst your bubble but EVERYTHING IN MODERATION is a crock or we wouldn’t have needed to have our stomachs removed. You havent had surgery yet, so again with all due respect you dont get it yet.

      We speak the facts when we say people who must resort to Bariatric Surgery have no moderation. Our moderation button is broken. We have no reason to say this if it were not true. We have Support Groups with tens of thousands of members dedicated to REGAIN. None of us are Food Addicts as that is baloney too – I dont believe you can be addicted to food.

      People who are morbidly obese make bad food choices before surgery and when left to Everything in Moderation, we continue to do it. For the first year you will lose 100 pounds no matter what you eat. You can wash down Sonic Burgers with Shakes for that year and still lose the same 100 pounds as someone who eats Chicken and Salad. Its later on that food lifestyle changes kick in. Those who think they can still eat everything they ‘love’ in ‘moderation’, the very foods that created the need for organ removal surgery, fall the hardest. We see it hundreds of times every single day… people like you who latch on to what the inexperienced nutritionist says because its what you want to hear.

      You gave my favorite post op line ‘I didnt have surgery to live on a diet’ but you added ATKINS to it. Yes you ARE having surgery to live on a diet for the rest of your life. IF you think you can have an organ removed and not have to diet or evoke change, please dont have surgery. Make no mistake that post op eating IS a very strict diet that you will live with forever and not by choice. Its not a bad thing… we simply eat like our naturally slim friends.

      But, I am happy that you plan on being the one person who can use moderation and not have regain! How Awesome!!!


  5. Gayle Ward says:

    No, Susan, we don’t “simply eat like our naturally slim friends.” Our naturally slim friends routinely eat stuff that we cannot, must not, do not. They are capable of moderation. We are not.

  6. Ruby says:

    I really neede to hear this! I am 5 months post op Sleeve surgery. I have lost 52 lbs and am already “testing the waters” I have been taking the gummy vitamins instead of the expensive Bariactric vitamins and eating bread. I will imeadiately get back on track with my vitamins! I do drink my protein drinks twice a day like instructed! I have lost 15 lbs of muscle mass. I have started aqua aerobics with water weights 4 times a week which is awesome! I have fibromyalgia and it is difficult for regular strenuous excersize. I am working towards the machines and then hopefully free weights!

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