Weight Gain: How to Fight Back After Bariatric Surgery

Lori Skurbe, RD, MPH, CDEBy Lori Skurbe, RD, MPH, CDE, Bariatric Dietitian, Sterling Surgicare

Have you experienced weight gain since your bariatric weight loss? Is weight creeping back on? Are old eating habits returning?

Here at Sterling Surgicare, we offer our patients an exclusive Back on Track program that allows you to “reset” and change course back to a more healthful path.

Back on Track addresses some key issues that lead to weight regain after weight loss surgery, including:

Do you feel you can eat more at a meal? 

Some people think their pouch has stretched out, but the real issue may be the fact that they are not following the bariatric eating plan.  Remember, always have protein at each meal and eat the protein first.  Solid types of protein foods, such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs and low- fat cheese tend to make you feel full quickly and keep you full longer.

When you move away from the basic bariatric eating plan, you can eat more since you’re now consuming foods from other food groups first–and not getting that full feeling. 

Sterling’s Back on Track (BOT) helps you go back to your bariatric basics and allows your pouch to work for you.  If you still feel you can eat more at a meal, make an appointment with Dr. Adeyeri who will evaluate your pouch and make sure it has not stretched.

Are you slacking off on your physical activity? 

Being physically active during the weight loss phase–and especially during your weight maintenance phase–is of utmost importance. I explain to all of our patients that exercise helps people lose weight, but where it really pays off is in helping you sustain the weight loss. Bariatric patients who do not do some kind of physical activity may lose weight in the beginning, but often regain if they are not working out regularly.

Back on Track helps you set physical activity goals to get you moving!

Read our weight loss surgery patients success stories here!

Are you grazing instead of eating set meals and snacks? 

Weight loss surgery works when regular bariatric-sized meals and, if needed, snacks are eaten.  Meals and snacks have a start and end time. When we graze, we nibble on various foods over a period of time and wind up eating more than we think –leading to weight regain. Weight loss surgery (WLS) patients who skip meals and/or have erratic eating schedules are more prone to grazing. 

BOT helps identify what eating habits are triggering your grazing and set limits to get back to regular set meals and snacks.

Are you drinking enough fluids?

It is very important to stay well hydrated. When you’re thirsty, it’s easier to mistake thirst for hunger and eat instead of drink.  Make sure you are getting in your 64 or more ounces of calorie free, caffeine free fluids in daily.  Sip calorie free fluids between meals.  Do not drink anything with more than 10 calories per serving as the calories (it will add up quickly).

BOT will review your beverage choices (we have some new options!) and make sure you are staying well hydrated.

Do you eat and drink at the same time? 

A golden rule of WLS is to avoid eating and drinking at the same time. WLS makes your stomach very small and there is no longer enough “room” for both liquids and solid type foods.  Most people cannot eat and drink at the same time right after surgery, but over time it becomes easier for some to start drinking while they eat. 

This can lead to overeating as it may stretch out your pouch and wash the food out of your pouch, which leads to getting hungry sooner and eating more frequently. If you have found yourself eating and drinking at the same time, get back to separating eating and drinking as you did right after your surgery.

At Sterling Surgicare, we recommend avoiding drinking 30 minutes before, during and after your meal.

Has emotional eating caused you to regain? 

First of all, you are not alone. WLS changes the size of your stomach, but it does not change your emotional attachments to food. If you were an emotional eater before WLS, you will be after WLS.

Use BOT to refresh coping strategies and understand your triggers to emotional eating. This program can help you identify the causes of emotional eating and help develop strategies to manage emotional eating. Some people benefit from the additional help of a behavioral therapist (psychologist) to help manage these kinds of challenges.

Your weight loss journey is a team effort – not a solo ride

Remember, WLS is a journey, not a destination. Sometimes we get off course; the BOT program can help you get back on the path to good health once again. 

Interested in learning more? Give the Sterling team or me a call to take about your situation.

We’re in this together, and together, we’ll support you in reaching your weight loss goal—and maintaining it permanently.

Just call (732) 217-3897 to learn more about fighting back against weight gain after weight loss surgery.

In most cases, you’ll start a series of regular visits with me, supplemented by appointments with Dr. Adeyeri, as needed. If you haven’t seen Dr. Adeyeri in a year or more, we recommend you have an office visit with him first, to discuss your challenges.

Ready, set, welcome to back on track!