Weight-loss surgery works on a number of levels but the main one is that you will be restricted in how much you can eat in one sitting. Your surgeon gives your body something of a re-set and you gain a new built-in portion control system. For many this works fabulously well and for a good period of time – so why would you need to worry about portion control in the future or even now?
Sadly, as many patients, dietitians and bariatric professionals will tell you, this system ISN’T FOOLPROOF!
There are several reasons for this:
1. Over time and certainly after healing, your pouch will relax and you will steadily be able to eat and tolerate bigger portions.
2. As you manoeuvre through the stages from fluids to solid food, the density of these foods will change, and so portion size will vary too.
3. The surgeon didn’t operate and change your brain so there will be over-riding ‘head-hunger’, habits and temptations to navigate!
In these early stages, the so-called ‘honeymoon’ period, your restriction will be at its greatest and just a few spoonfuls of food will satisfy you. Portion control aids can help at this stage so that you don’t overload this fragile and sensitive set-up and don’t overload your plate. Most of us are guilty of putting too much on our plates at this stage (leaving more than they eat) but run the risk of eating too much (and don’t want to waste good food). Tools can really help with this early stage eating – by cutting down the risk of eating too much to the point of discomfort, but also reducing waste.
But what about further on? Say about 9 months onwards? Well the further out from surgery you are then usually your tolerance to food improves; you feel you can eat more ‘normally’; your brain has stopped saying ‘no’ quite so much, and more likely to say ‘yes, let’s try this’.
This is all quite normal – your team expects you to eat a little more food; try more different foods, and tolerate foods better. It is however well documented that this is also the time when portion sizes can increase too much. Certain foods (especially slider type ones) easily slip down in greater and ever-increasing portion sizes, so that your reliance on that in-built portion control can be sorely tested.
There’s a way around this by making friends (again, or for the first time) with portion control tools that can take the guesswork out of this. Now, almost 9 years post bypass, I still rely upon my bariatric portion plate, measuring cups and bariatric bento to steer me in the right direction. Not at every meal but especially when I am struggling to maintain my weight and portion size. I also find myself at these times opting to use my bariatric cutlery to slow down my bite-size and eating speed too. It takes the portion size guesswork out of most meals and eating occasions.
You can of course use ordinary plates, cups and cutlery that help you with this, but we do have some that are have specially designed for WLS patients. Take a look below (and click here for more information on the website). There are individual products to choose from as well as the 2 special combo packages below. They will undoubtedly help to bring things back into focus at a time when good habits might well have slipped.