How Easy is it to Stretch Out Your Stomach?
Fact or Crap? You Can Stretch Your Post-Op Pouch
Some good news
What is the biggest worry of all after bariatric surgery?
Did I stretch out my pouch?
How easy is it to stretch out the pouch?
Will you gain all the weight back if it stretched out?
I have some really good news for you. It’s much harder than you think to stretch out your pouch.
Your stomach is a resilient organ
Just like your heart or your kidneys, your stomach is an organ. And organs are resilient. They endure surgeries and heal. They are layered in muscle.
Your stomach is not thin like a balloon. It’s not a rubber band. It’s not that fragile. Overeating at a few meals will not undo you surgery. Phew!
Following your diet early after surgery is important for proper healing and to avoid strictures (a narrowing that prevents foods to pass normally in your digestive system). The progression of the diet after surgery is for healing and should be followed closely.
The healing phase
The first 8 weeks after surgery are consider the “healing phase” of surgery. This is the time to comply with the diet progression and to pay extra close attention to each meal as you are learning the new feelings of satisfaction versus fullness.
During this time you need to heal and should not advance your diet too fast (each chicken before they said to…) this could cause complications.
During your healing phase it is important to follow your diet plan closely. However, even in this situation it’s not that the pouch has been stretched out. Instead, it is inflamed because you ticked it off. If symptoms aren’t improving – always contact your surgeon.
Beyond the healing phase
That being said, if you are beyond the healing phases and you think to yourself “I shouldn’t be able to eat this much, or drink this much this quickly…I must have stretch out my pouch…”
Did you stretch it out? Was this whole surgery just ruined?
It is incredibly difficult to stretch out the stomach. That resiliant organ is more likely to contract it’s layers of muscle and cause you to vomit than it is to inflate like a balloon and stretch out.
You may have eaten “around” your surgery which made you feel like the surgery itself was at fault. Likely, it’s what you ate or how you ate it.
If you think to yourself “that was more than I thought I could eat” OR “how am I already hungry? Is my stomach pouch stretched out?” stop and ask yourself these four questions:
Were you grazing on the food? Did you take more than 30 minutes to eat it?
When you take too long to eat, the first bite you took is on it’s way out and you are still eating. This will make it look like you can eat a lot more when really it’s just had the time to move through.
Was your food a softer texture?
You will experience less restriction and be able to eat more of a softer textured food. Examples include cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, deli meat, scrambled eggs, tuna/chicken/eggs salad. The softer the food is, the more you can fit in your pouch and the sooner you get hungry. You think it’s the stomach that’s the issue but it’s the types of foods you are eating.
Did you take peanut sized bites and pause in between bites?
If you find yourself getting hungry in between 3 meals per day, it could be that you ate too big of bites or too quickly and experienced “pre-mature fullness” where you think you’re full and stop eating but then find yourself hungry sooner than your next meal time. I have a great members video called ‘HOW you eat matters’!
Did you drink liquids while you ate?
Fluids will move food through your stomach much faster which will increase how much food you are able to fit in the stomach during that mealtime.
These are just a few questions to get your mind started on the right path. You didn’t stretch your pouch. You just have to get back to the basics and make sure you are eating the right foods in the right way to get the most out of your pouch. I recommend taking my “Back on Track Course” for members.
It may not be your pouch, it may be your habits!
That may sound harsh but it really is good news!
The good news is, it’s nothing you have to meet with a doctor about. It’s nothing you need another surgery to fix. It’s just time to sit down and identify the root issue of why your restriction has decreased. Then make the changes and enjoy that pouch to it’s full potential again!
**Note: it IS normal for portion sizes to gradually increase the farther you get out of your surgery.
Keep a ratio of 2 bites of protein to every 1 bite of vegetable and stop at your first indication of fullness. It’s MORE than okay if this amount increases throughout your first year after surgery. If you make the right food choices, you’ll still have portion restriction, hunger control and weight-loss!
Get back on track and feel inspired again
As a dietitian who has specialized in bariatric surgery for almost a decade, believe when I get to tell you that it really is never too late.
If you feel you need a hit the refresh button and get back to basics, I invite you to sign up for my email list and watch my free video series “Get the Most out of your Weight Loss Surgery.” Click the image below to sign up!
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