Weight Loss Surgery Protein Goals
Whether you use Baritastic or another app, what should you put for the protein goal?
First, a member email with a great weight loss surgery protein goal question.
I am excited about this question! I really hope my answer will help make things more simple. Protein goals can be hard to decipher after weight loss surgery. Possibly your program told you how many you should aim for but what about carbs and fat? How does the pie chart inside the food journal come into play?
Overwhelm is a very common emotion to feel when it comes to tracking food and numbers. Then you add in the layer of being a bariatric surgery patient. Confusion is bound to happen even when it feels like it should be clear cut. (And by the way, why do bariatric programs differ so much?)
Let’s talk through the pie chart on Baritastic (or other food journals)
The pie chart is something to look at after you eat and journal, and then you learn from it.
Think of it as a learning tool and not a grading tool. We often think of food journals, scales and even the pie chart as a report card. No one likes to see D’s and F’s so when patients don’t feel like they are doing very well, they don’t journal at all so they don’t have to see the grade.
It really takes some mental practice to treat the food journal as a learning tool. It allows you to stay honest with yourself and learn from each day. The best thing we can do is try to keep the emotions out of it and stay matter of fact. “This is what I ate today, this is what I could do differently next time.”
One important note: look at your pie chart at the end of the day to get a better understanding of the day as a whole.
I tend to ignore my pie chart until the day is over. While I can get a little bit of understanding with the pie chart through the day, I personally prefer to make sensible choices with my head, then journal it, then reflect on it at the end of the day. The protein, carbs and fat can look skewed after just one meal.
So what about the goals?
To start with the basics of my bariatric eating philosophy, I recommend eating 3 meals per day and making the protein your focus.
Eat two bites of the protein to every bite of vegetable. Two bites turkey burger, one bite zucchini. Don’t focus on how much, just focus on small bites and pausing in between bites. Listen to your fullness cues and ask yourself where you feel comfortable.
After the meal, journal your food with your best guess. I do not worry about weighing things out perfectly. The palm of the hand is 3 ounces protein, your thumb is about 1 ounce of protein. The palm can also be half a cup of cooked vegetables. It is more realistic to stay with journaling long-term if kept more simple.
When you do this ratio of two bites protein, one bite vegetable and eat three times a day, focusing on your fluids in between your meals – the pie chart will average out around 50% protein, 20% carbs and 30% fat.
Not everyday will hit that perfectly but that would be a good frame to reference. Then you can see your pie chart at the end of the day and if the carbs or fat were higher than you thought, you can look back at your food and see why.
This is my approach to food journaling instead of counting calories.
I find it is a helpful way to stay accountable and aware of food choices, but more realistic than counting all the numbers and weighing food everyday.
If you are using Baritastic or another app, most will have you put in the goals for grams but not for the pie chart. I would write down the pie chart goals to help you remember. I personally only put in a water ‘goal’ on the app and leave the others blank. You could put 60 grams of protein as a goal as that’s the ASMBS recommendation.
I hope that answers your questions without being too long, but I truly do love these questions and the opportunity to help! Don’t hesitate to ask me anything.
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