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Nutrition, Fitness & Diet

Top Challenges of Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Patients

Hello. This is Michelle Phelan, nutritionist at Blossom Bariatrics, where expertise meets true compassion. We’re always here for you before, during, and after your weight loss surgery procedure–because it’s the after that’s the most important part.

Today, we’re going to talk about the top dangers of weight loss surgery and how to avoid them. The top 4 challenges of weight loss surgery procedures are: dehydration, malabsorption or malnutrition, hair loss, and constipation.

Let’s talk about hair loss. Hair loss can happen with any weight loss procedure, whether it’s band, gastric bypass, or the sleeve. It’s actually due to malabsorption and malnutrition. Make sure to get at least 64…well, 60 to 80 grams of protein a day–primarily whey protein and healthy proteins, such as eggs, meats, cottage cheese, etc. Whole proteins.

Take all your supplements. Folks, this is so important! To prevent malnutrition and malabsorption, we need to take our supplements every day. This will also help with hair loss. And, if you feel the need, if you’re already suffering from some hair loss due to your surgery, you can take a hair-nail-skin formula that has Zinc, Biotin, Silica, and many other co-nutrients that will help your hair grow.

Another challenge of weight loss surgery is dehydration. Make sure to get at least 64 ounces of fluid a day. Try to follow the 80-20 rule. 80% of your fluid choice should just be water, and 20% can be other sugar-free alternatives. Watch out for the artificially sweetened chemical additives, like–for instance–Crystal Light or those MiO drops.

Here’s some options to artificial sweeteners. Herbal teas, green tea, coconut water–as long as its unsweetened and unflavored–works really well, if you like it. And it’s a wonderful way to get in your natural electrolytes.

Some other choices out there are something new I just found: Crystal Light Pure, P-U-R-E. They use Stevia for the sweetener, as well as another product out there called Skinnygirl Water Enhancers. They have my stamp of approval, because they use stevia for the sweetener and they use natural colors and flavors.

Another sweetener out there is Stevia or Truvia, which you can find in any grocery store aisle in the baking section. And a product I really love is SweetLeaf, which you can purchase at, and they have many wonderful flavors and a dropper in a glycerin base that you can add to your water or to your protein shakes to give it a boost of flavor.

Yet another challenge of weight loss surgery is malnutrition. One way to prevent malnutrition is to make sure that you’re taking your supplements and vitamins every day. Another way to help prevent malnutrition is to try this trick. Eat 3 bites of your protein and then a couple of bites of your vegetables at your meals. Some other ways to make sure that you’re getting your nutrients every day is juicing. Folks, but make sure that you’re juicing with mainly vegetables. Carrot juice and beet juice can sweeten it up more than fruit can, and fruit is sugar–so we want to avoid that if possible.

Another thing that can be a challenge with weight loss surgery is constipation. Now, constipation can occur right after surgery because of the pain meds and because of anesthesia. Another culprit of constipation can be your supplements. Iron can constipate, if it’s a poorly formulated iron, and calcium can constipate as well, if it’s a poorly formulated calcium supplement.

Too little fiber is also the culprit, and too little water. Some other ways to prevent constipation on a daily basis is to try ground flax seeds. You can grind them up in your coffee grinder or your blender and add a teaspoon or so to your Greek yogurt or your protein drink to make a really yummy, creamy smoothie.

Make sure to take your probiotics every day. Make sure to get plenty of fiber, in the form of vegetables, and make sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Until next time, thanks for joining me and have a healthy, happy day!