Weight regain to a greater or lesser degree, is a common occurrence after gastric bypass surgery. It is NOT a reason to feel sorry for yourself or to feel like a failure – rather recognize the reality and get help as soon as possible. Your bariatric team is there to support and help you – not to judge you ! It is never too late to regain control of your weight.

Your best chance at managing this challenge is staying active and being vigilant about your diet – here are some tips:

1. See the dietitian – with the help of a diet history problem areas and be identified and addressed.

2. See your surgeon – no matter how long it has been since your surgery – he may do some tests to determine the size of your pouch or the length of the bypass. If everything is in place, you know the problem can be addressed through lifestyle adjustments.

3. See an exercise specialist – or start exercising on your own if necessary – not less than 4 times a week for 45-60 mins. Build up muscle mass – this helps increase energy expenditure, which in turn will help weight loss.

4. See your psychiatrist or psychologist if you are struggling with comfort eating, binge eating or night-time eating. Also see the dietitian who can help with the specific, very low calorie needs of the bariatric patient.

5.Keep a food diary and compare to your recommended diet.

6.Do not fall back into old habits – think about the problem areas in your diet before surgery and make a huge effort to avoid them.

7. Stop snacking immediately – only ‘allowed fruit’ or ‘high protein’ (and low fat) snacks, as per your diet guidelines.

8. Eat your protein first.

9.Identify all the carbs in your diet and limit to 3-4 small portions a day. Avoid all other carbs- they are culprits for weight regain !

10. Avoid all calorie-containing drinks, including 100% pure fruit juice. See diet guidelines for alternatives.

11.Read labels and identify foods with a high calorie density eg. a very small handful of nuts is almost equal to 3 slices of bread, in terms of calorie value ! See diet guidelines to refresh your memory.

12.Drink sufficient water.

13. First aim to stop weight gain, and then aim at losing weight.Set realistic targets.

14. Do not skip follow-up appointments scheduled by your bariatric team.

Judy Kotzé