After bariatric surgery, a smaller stomach won’t guarantee you keep off your weight loss forever. That may sound like a harsh or surprising statement, but it’s true.
While bariatric surgery is an incredible tool, and has transformed lives, those who have had surgery know that it comes with a lot of hard work too. While there can be many reasons that can cause someone to regain weight after surgery (surgical, medical, medication side effects, habits, less activity, emotional eating, and so on), one of the biggest changes that we want to highlight is the fact that portion sizes change. Drastically.
In the very early moment after surgery, only a few sips of water will have you realize how different eating will be. Many people struggle with adjusting to seeing, and eating, the very small portions immediately after surgery. You may begin using smaller plates and frantically start looking for measuring cups, measuring spoons, anything that will help you follow the portions advised in the bariatric nutrition guide given to you by your bariatric team. In this early phase of surgery, the very small bites make you feel that you’ve filled your stomach to its limit.
Fast forward one year later and you’ve most certainly noticed that your portions have been getting larger, and this concerns you greatly. Our patients begin to panic and fear that they’ve ‘stretched their stomach’. This sets in the reality that despite the smaller stomach, you can’t let your stomach determine when to stop eating; you need to stop when you’re comfortable, but before you get overly full.
Although some people may not want to hear it, and others may not want to believe it, portioning your food still remains to be an important aspect of weight loss, and weight loss maintenance, even with bariatric surgery. This is where Sheila comes in. Sheila, the founder and CEO of Livliga, created a bariatric plate and bowl set. Aside from being a warm and genuine woman who wanted to find a way to help others who struggle with their weight, she learned about, and understood, the importance of portioning after bariatric surgery and developed the bariatric Just Right Set®.
Why are we so excited about sharing this with you?
The bariatric Just Right Set® consists of 1 plate and 1 bowl. Yes, you already have plates and bowls at home, but these ones are special. Her plate and bowl set look pretty, but also serve an important function. The design is meant to help you portion your food into 1/8 cup, ¼ cup, ½ cup, and ¾ cup portions. To extended family members and co-workers, it just looks like you’re eating off a pretty plate, but to you, the plate and bowl are doing the portioning work for you so that you can visually determine (without needing a measuring cup or kitchen scale) if your amounts are within your targeted portions.
What does a bariatric portion look like?
While portions may be relative to your surgery type and your height, the following list will give you an idea of what typical bariatric portions look like for protein, vegetables, and grains. Keep in mind that this varies from person to person so you should verify this with your bariatric dietitian, and don’t forget to practice mindful or intuitive eating.
Fish/poultry/seafood/meat: 90 g, 3 oz, or 1/2 cup
Legumes: 150 g, 5 oz, or 3/4 cup
Tofu: 100 g, 3.5 oz, or 1/2 cup
Nuts: 30 g, 1 oz, or 1/4 cup
Peanut butter: 2 tablespoons, 30 ml, or 1/8 cup
Vegetables: 1/4 cup or more
Grains: 1/4 cup
Do you really need a plate that does the portioning for you?
Well, ask yourself, will you measure and weigh your food every day for the rest of your life? While dietitians encourage you to portion your amounts, there are a few issues with that; weighing and measuring every piece of food that you eat simply isn’t a normal behaviour that can be sustained, and eye-balling (or guesstimating) your portions only works for a brief period of time until your eyes start estimating larger amounts. But measuring your portions to fit within the pre-determined portions on your plate is such an easy way of keeping on track for breakfast, lunch, and supper, as well as your snacks. And that’s why we’re so excited about sharing this with you, because a tool like this can help a lot of people who still feel like they’re struggling with portions, even after bariatric surgery.
The Just Right Set® offers you discrete and simple to use dishware that you can use at home or at work, and helps take the guessing, eye-balling, and tediousness, out of portioning your food every day. While the plate and bowl (which look even cuter in person!) are not the only solution to losing the weight and keeping it off after surgery, it’s that extra tool that you can add to your bariatric tool box to help you on your journey.
Contact us by July 29th, 2019 to be entered into a contest to win a free set! Tell us what your favourite non-scale victory has been since having bariatric surgery.
– Lisa and Monica, your bariatric surgery dietitians