Abundant festive dinners can pose certain health dangers, especially for patients after recent weight loss surgeries. A bariatric dietician, Dr. Karolina Bauraitė, gives advice on avoiding digestive issues during the holidays.
December 15, 2021. Following a postoperative dietary regime is essential for maintaining the long-term success of bariatric surgery. However, although the surgery helps people to manage obesity and obesity-related health issues, around 25% of bariatric patients face a risk of relapse and weight regain if they fail to keep up with healthy eating habits.
Over 200K bariatric surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2019, and the bariatric surgery market is estimated to grow at a rate of 9.56% till 2028. The main reasons why people choose to undergo the procedure are not only the reduction of excess body fat but also the improvement or remission of obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis, and others.
As holidays usually put a strain on the digestive system with excess alcohol, heavy foods, larger portions, and reduced physical activities, Dr. Karolina Bauraitė, a bariatric dietitian at Nordbariatric Clinic, a leading bariatric surgery center in Kaunas, Lithuania, shares advice on how to minimize bariatric surgery relapse risk and stay healthy during festive dinners. Here are 8 tips to keep your stomach healthy during holidays:
1. Routine is the key, even during holidays. Although bariatric surgery might be a life-altering procedure, keeping up with new healthy habits is essential for reaching post-surgery goals even during challenging periods, like the holidays. “Routine is the key, therefore I recommend planning the menu in advance and eating three balanced meals, which have healthy carbs and proteins, and two-three preplanned snacks a day,” said Dr. Bauraitė.
2. Don’t go to extremes — skipping meals is also not ok. Although people should not try to finish everything on their plates once they feel full, do not go to extremes and skip meals entirely.
3. Take care of your well-being. It’s important to stay hydrated, take daily multivitamins and minerals, and have regular check-ups to identify any deficiencies or conditions.
4. Notice warning signs of your body. Any post-dinner pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloating are an indication of digestive issues, which are triggered by having too many drinks, especially carbonated, overeating, consuming products that exacerbate lactose intolerance and eating excess sugary or fatty dishes. Pay attention to your body and give it a break when you notice any of these unwelcome symptoms.
5. No snacking. Be wary of unconscious eating as it might lead to digestive problems. Avoid snacking when socializing with family and friends and eat only when you are hungry. Hanging out next to food encourages constant snacking, the dietitian noted, so it is best to come to the table for meals and spend only 20-30 minutes eating.
6. Move around. It is a great idea to go for a walk between meals—it will help to introduce some physical exercise into the festivities and enjoy a fun activity with friends or relatives.
7. Choose wisely what you put into your stomach. A variety of dishes does not mean you need to try them all, especially if you have any intolerances or know that certain foods might cause you unpleasant symptoms.
8. “Slider” foods are a big no. These are highly processed products, high in sugar and fat, that slide more quickly through the stomach, especially after bariatric surgery. “So-called “slider” foods, such as chocolate, sweets, crisps, cookies, crackers, and other similar products might cause Dumping syndrome—a condition when food goes directly from the stomach into the small intestine. It is accompanied by symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, bloating, dizziness, abdominal cramps, and could sabotage the weight loss journey and increase risk of a relapse,” the dietician said. “Alcohol is also not a good choice as it has a lot of calories and might have a strong effect on former bariatric surgery patients.”
Holidays can be stressful, therefore avoiding putting additional strain on the digestive system might help people to stick to healthy body goals and improve their wellbeing in the long run.
Nordbariatric is a private bariatric surgery clinic in Kaunas, Lithuania, part of Nordclinic, offering high-quality services and focusing on foreign patients. It is equipped with modern diagnostic and surgical facilities. Medical professionals at the clinic speak fluent English and show personal attention to every patient. www.nordbariatric.com/en/