Understanding Portion Size After Gastric Sleeve

One of the most common questions I get asked:

What’s the “right” portion size after my gastric sleeve surgery?

Well unfortunately the answer isn’t a simple and straight forward one.

IT DEPENDS!

  • It depends how long ago your surgery was
  • It depends on what food you’re trying to eat

Portion Size after Gastric Sleeve Surgery: How Long Ago Was Your Surgery?

Immediately after weight loss surgery, your new stomach will be swollen and will therefore only tolerate a very small amount…

…possibly only 1-2 Tablespoons at a time. Don’t be surprised by this!

As you heal from the surgery and the tissue inflammation subsides, you’ll slowly be able to increase your portion sizes.

There is no guide to follow that says:

  • 1st month eat this much
  • At 3 months eat this much
  • At 6 months eat this much
  • After 1 year eat this much

That’s because everyone heals and progresses at their own rate.

YOUR journey will be unique to YOU.

You’ll gradually be able to eat more over the course of the first year after surgery. This is normal. No reason to worry that your pouch has “stretched.”

It’s possible that by the end of the first year after surgery you’ll be able to eat 1 cup at a time.

Portion Size after Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Texture Matters

 You’ll be able to eat different portions of different textures.

  • You’ll be able to eat more of mushy, soft textured foods like yogurt and cottage cheese.
  • Solid, dense protein rich foods like chicken or meat will be harder to eat, and thus smaller portions.

Don’t be surprised when you can eat ½ cup of yogurt and only 2 bites of chicken.

This is why there’s no universal guideline to “eat ½ cup food 3 times per day” or “1 cup food 3 times per day.”

It just depends!

What You Should Focus On

Rather than worrying about eating the “right” portion size after gastric sleeve surgery, simply focus on

The portions will then take care of themselves. And then you’ll be eating the “right” gastric sleeve meal size for you, at that given moment.

Portion Control Dishes

Portion control dishes can be useful if you want to monitor how much you’re eating and see the changes over time.

This is my favorite. It’s a portion plate designed for bariatric patients. The portion sizes are adjustable from 1-4 ounces in each plate.

Portion Size after Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Slider Foods

Please note that some foods are considered “slider foods”. This means they sliiiiiiiiiiiide down very easily…

…even though you’ve had weight loss surgery! 

Translation: You'll be able to eat a lot of these! Big portions!

These include processed, packaged foods like:

  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Junk foods

Your bariatric surgery will do NOTHING to help you control portions of these. (Maybe in the beginning yes, but NOT in the long run).

So best to plan to AVOID these foods!

Your goal after surgery isn’t just to eat smaller amounts of the foods that got you in trouble in the first place. Your goal should be to totally overhaul your diet.

That means finding alternative to these types of snack food when the cravings occur.

I’d be happy to help you if you’d like!

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