Are you mindful of RESTRICTION while eating?

Apr 05, 2021

Bariatric surgery creates smaller stomach pouches...this we all know. During eating, these pouches become full faster than they did before surgery. The feeling of "discomfort" that comes during eating is known as restriction. When one feels restriction, it's time to put down the fork...your body is signaling that it's full.

Some patients report that they feel less restriction as time goes by. This is normal...in part because after time the body begins to process food more efficiently (which is why daily commitment to physical activity is key). Some patients worry that their pouch has "stretched." Stretched pouches are actually a rare occurrence. Those who feel like they are experiencing less restriction should ALWAYS speak with their surgeon and dietitian.

But first, let's focus on things you can do on your own to get back to that feeling of restriction. It all comes down to one thing: getting back to the basics of bariatric eating.

  • Eat solid, firm protein with every meal. Poultry, meat and fish are much more dense proteins than things like eggs, Green yogurt, and protein shakes. Solid proteins "stick around" in your pouch for longer periods of time and keep you from becoming hungry (think SNACKING) between meals.
  • Eat your protein FIRST. Eating solid protein before moving on to other foods (like non-starchy vegetables) fills up your pouch and leaves little room for anything else. You may only be able to get in a few bites of vegetables when you focus on protein first...and this is okay! Taking a bariatric vitamin every day helps to ensure you're getting the nutrients you need.
  • Stop drinking fluids 30 minutes before eating and don’t resume drinking until 30 minutes after you’ve finished.  Stopping intake of fluids 30 minutes before your meals ensures that your pouch is empty and ready to receive solid food.  If your pouch is half-filled with liquid at meal time, that leaves less space for food.  The liquid will quickly drain from your pouch and you’ll end up hungry between meals because you only half-filled your pouch with food.  Making sure that you don’t resume drinking until 30 minutes after finishing eating keeps liquids from “washing down” your solid food too quickly.
  • Slow down.  Eating with a small pouch requires taking small bites and chewing thoroughly.  Doing so gives the hunger center in your brain time to realize that you’re full and in turn to signal you to stop eating.  When you eat too fast, you don’t receive the “I’m full” signal from your brain until it’s too late…and then you’ve overfed yourself.

We always recommend going back to the basics by following the tips above…in many cases it will work to bring you back to that feeling of restriction. 

Questions or concerns?

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