In recent times, the vertical sleeve gastrectomy has become the most sought after weight loss procedure. It is less complicated than the traditional gastric bypass surgery, there are fewer risks involved, and the length of surgery is shorter (lasting no more that 60 minutes).
Sleeve gastrectomy reduces the size of your stomach helping reduce caloric intake. It also changes metabolic hormones, resulting in reduced appetite and increased satiety after eating.
Following surgery, patients advance through 5 distinct phases of diet to gradually progress from clear liquids to healthy solids. Your surgeon may modify these phases depending on your specific condition.
- Phase 1: Clear liquids: This phase will last one day or less. It begins on the day of surgery. During this phase you can have water, clear broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef), sugar-free drinks or juices, unsweetened caffeine-free tea. As you cannot eat anything during this phase, chewing on ice chips or sugar-free popsicles may give a sense of satisfaction. Take all the supplements and vitamins recommend by the surgeon.
- Phase 2: Full liquids: The drinks may include protein shakes, thicker broths (vegetable, chicken, & beef), Greek Yogurt, sugar-free juices. You should avoid solid foods, and liquids with seeds or chunks. This phase lasts for 2 weeks after surgery.
- Phase 3: Gradually move to pureed and blenderized foods. You can blend the foods with skimmed milk, sugar-free juices or broth. This phase will last two weeks.
- Phase 4: When you can tolerate pureed foods easily, start testing soft solids such as cooked vegetables, soft fruits, ground meats, etc. Cut the food into small pieces and take your time to chew the food thoroughly. Avoid starchy, greasy, or spicy foods, and sugar. The focus should be on eating protein-rich foods with the goal of getting 60 grams of protein per day. This phase may last anywhere between 1-2 weeks.
- Phase 5: During this phase you transition to your long-term diet. Avoid empty calories and maintain the focus on protein. Try to get most of your protein from solids. Liquid protein is good for when your recovering from the procedure, but not in the long run. Keeping the guidelines as in phases 3-4, try new foods one at a time to make sure you can tolerate them. Multivitamins and supplements may have to be continued on a regular basis.
Once you have transitioned to your long-term diet, you will experience significant and rapid weight loss with improvement in any comorbid conditions such as hypertension or diabetes.
From here on, the way you look and feel will give you the confidence to set up more ambitious health goals that you can achieve as long as maintain your newfound healthy eating habits & an active lifestyle.