Congratulations, you are ready for this! You have decided to undergo a step—a giant leap, really—away from a life trapped by weight and into a new beginning. Having worked for years as a registered dietitian at an accredited Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery, I can tell you with certainty that there is so much to look forward to. Chasing little ones faster, tying shoes with ease, breathing lighter, taking fewer pills, living longer and stronger—these are just some of the “wins” experienced by my patients who have made permanent lifestyle changes after surgery. But how do you get there and maintain these changes for the long haul, not just for a one-week cleanse or a three-month fad diet?
Your weight-loss journey is a process of changes that take place at both rapid speed and (occasionally) at a snail’s pace. The hardest part of the food-related changes—specifically, following a specialized nutrition plan and using the proper ingredients—is committing to them. Probably one of the most daunting realities bariatric surgery patients face is how to establish a new relationship to food and then stick to it. This cookbook is here to ease you into this commitment and make it doable. There’s no getting around the fact that commitment is the foundation for long-term success, making your surgery worth it for decades, not just for a year or two.
Now, you might be picking up this book for its many easy and comforting recipes, but there’s one very important recipe I want to preview for you here: my recipe not for a particular dish, but for success. There are four core “ingredient skills” that all work together.
You’ll benefit enormously from having the willingness to try something new, or a twist on something familiar. Maybe you haven’t tried Greek yogurt yet, but you might find that this creamy, delightful dairy product will satisfy you more than the traditional yogurt cup you ate for years. And did I mention that Greek yogurt has nearly double the protein content?
2Make it yours.
Many fear that they’ll have to give up all their favorite foods in return for successful long-term weight loss. This could not be more wrong. By making a few tweaks to the foods you love, you can include most any meal in a long-term post-operative plan.
You already know that protein is the building block of the bariatric diet, but do not fear—your options range far beyond egg whites and poached fish. Read on to learn tricks for sneaking the all-important protein into a diverse meal plan.
Your ability to bounce back after a challenging few days or weeks determines your fate. You are resilient. You can live in the present while preparing for the future without preoccupying yourself with the past.
And that’s it. You’ve got it! Mix together these main ingredients to sustain your long-term weight-loss and health goals.
This book starts with you, of course, and your surgery team. It’s essential that you work closely with the amazing resources available through your surgical center to guide you through this specialized process. I will go through the basic tenets that apply to all, regardless of which particular weight-loss surgery you undergo, but there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter plan. Make sure you consult with a registered dietitian personally to identify specific dietary needs unique to you and your type of surgery.
Now, to the impending question: What’s for dinner tonight? How about Baked Fried Chicken Thighs (here), mouthwatering Slow Cooker Asian Pork Tenderloin (here), or hearty Best-Yet Turkey Chili (here)? These are not dishes you once enjoyed but can never have again. Instead, they are easy recipes with tasty flavors and simple ingredients that you can continue to eat while staying straight on your journey to the healthier, stronger, smaller you!
Best-Yet Turkey Chili