As a bariatric patient, it is critical that we follow the guidelines from our surgeons to make sure we stay as healthy as possible. One of those guidelines is to ensure we get between 60-80 grams of protein a day. Since we are not able to eat as much, getting enough protein can be tricky. We hear it all the time that we must make sure we hit our protein goals, but why is that? Let’s talk about it now.
Protein plays a huge role in keeping our bodies healthy. Its primary goal is to build and maintain muscle mass. Since we have such a small caloric intake, we are at risk of losing muscle mass. If your body is not getting enough protein from the outside, it will start breaking down even more muscle mass. There are also many other benefits of getting enough protein. It plays a role in wound healing after surgery, which is extremely important. It can also help keep your skin, hair, bones, and nails healthy. This is huge for us since most of us lose hair after surgery. Protein can also help form hormones, enzymes and immune system antibodies which are important in making sure your body functions effectively.
As weight loss surgery patients, we are obviously trying to lose weight. Protein plays a role in that too! It helps your body burn fat instead of muscle, helps curb your appetite, and supports your metabolism. There are so many benefits of protein. Since we can only eat a small portion of food at a time, it is always recommended that you start with protein at each meal. This is because it plays such a huge role in making sure you stay healthy.
If you are having trouble hitting your protein goals, here are a few tips.
- Always eat your protein first! You do not want to fill up on carbohydrates, so never start with those. Vegetables are important, but they should come behind protein.
- Drink protein shakes! It can get very boring drinking the same protein shake every day, but it really is important in maintaining a healthy body. Try changing it up with different flavors and ingredients.
- Find other sources of protein. Nowadays, there are so many products on the market that have added protein. You can find drinks, snacks, meal replacements, and so much more. Try new products out, just be careful that you do not binge on them!
- Track your protein! You might not realize you are deficient in protein, so keeping a journal will help make sure you stay accountable.
- Don’t eat too much! Yes, protein is important, but you want to make sure you hit the sweet spot with the proper amount. Too much protein can cause constipation, which is not comfortable at all.
Always make sure you are consulting with your surgeon and nutritionist to make sure you are getting the proper amount of protein. Take this seriously because it will benefit you greatly if you consume the appropriate amount. By staying on top of this, you are much more likely to succeed with this surgery!