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Dr. David Kim Kim Bariatric Institute

Help!! I’m On the Liquid Diet!!

If you’re struggling with your pre-surgery liquid diet, take heart. You’re not alone….and YOU CAN DO THIS! And remember, this is not a “forever” thing. Once it’s over and you have your surgery, you’ll have a new, appetite-reducing tool to assist you with healthy, controlled eating for the rest of your life!

Here are a few helpful tips to help you stay on the straight and narrow:

  • Make sure you’re drinking the full daily number of protein shakes. (BariEssential, 4 a day mixed with skim milk.) I recently heard of a patient who complained that he was very hungry on the liquid diet. When asked how many shakes he’d had that day, he replied…”Two.” If you deprive yourself of the daily required amount, you’re setting yourself up for failure and temptation.

  • Drink lots of liquids in addition to the protein shakes. Fill yourself up with water, and feel free to enjoy unsweetened tea or coffee as well. Crystal Light (or a comparable store brand) will be your best friend during these weeks! Drink up! (But nothing with calories, carbonation, or alcohol.)

  • Try adding sugar-free popsicles (caution: check sugar/carb content to ensure that they’re truly “sugar-free” and not “no sugar added…two very different things) or sugar-free jello as a treat. You can even make Knox Blox out of the sugar-free jello by decreasing the water by half…makes them more chewy and substantial, and you can cut them in squares for portable snacks.

  • Enjoy a cup of low-sodium Swanson’s Chicken Broth each day to break up the sweetness of the diet. Even someone with a deadly sweet tooth can grow weary of sweetness all day every day.

  • Give yourself some variety by creating new flavors. Be creative and have fun (without adding extra calories). Here are a few suggestions:
    • Add vanilla, almond, coconut, or mint extract to any of the basic powder mixes.
    • Add any flavor of Crystal Light to the vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate. You’ll probably need to add extra water or ice to off-set the added sweetness.
    • The protein drinks are best when very cold and shake-like. Try making ice cubes out of coffee (Frappucino, Baby!) or various Crystal Light flavors and add to the shakes. Some patients have had great success with sprinkling in some sugar-free jello powder too. Just remember, adding a sweet ingredient may necessitate adding extra water or ice or it might be too sweet.
    • Let us know if you create a recipe that’s especially good….and please share on Facebook!
    • Keep in mind that BariEssential is not very sweet. Some patients like that, and others feel like it needs a little sweetener…and that’s fine. Add a packet or teaspoonful of your favorite (i.e. Sweet ‘N Low, Truvia, Splenda, etc.) if you like.

  • Exercise is great, obviously, but be careful about adding extra exercise to your schedule during the liquid diet. If you’re burning additional calories, you may get hungrier. Try walking each day or doing some strength-building work each week to keep your strength up (and give you a running start after surgery recovery); however, this is probably not the time to sign up for that Kick-Boxing or Zumba class you’ve always wanted to try, or to train for a 5K. Wait till you’re fully recovered after surgery…then GO FOR IT!

  • Ask your family members to assist you. Perhaps they’ll join you on your liquid diet, or at least eat healthier while you’re on it. Either way, ask them to throw away junk food and items that will tempt you…or at least HIDE them…out of sight, out of mind!

  • Provide support and accountability for yourself. If you’re tempted to “fall off the wagon”, call a friend who will encourage you, or call our office and get a pep-talk from a staff member. You can do this, and YOU ARE WORTH IT!

So you think you can cheat? In all seriousness, keep in mind that it is vital that you stay on the 800 calorie-per-day liquid diet prior to surgery. Not only will the weight loss give you a running start for your post-surgery weight loss journey, but your liver must shrink in size to ensure a safe laparoscopic procedure. If your liver hasn’t shrunk (i.e. you’ve been cheating on the liquid diet), Dr. Kim may not be able to perform your surgery. This alone should encourage you to follow the prescribed liquid diet TO THE LETTER. Don’t risk losing the opportunity that many of you have looked forward to for months or years.

Your surgery is the proverbial “carrot dangling from a stick in front of you.” This pre-surgery diet is different from any other restrictive diet you’ve tried previously. After this liquid diet, your procedure will give you a life-changing tool that has brought enormous success to so many Dr. Kim’s patients. You can look forward to lower weight, less joint pain, discontinuation of medications, added mobility, more confidence and overall well-being…a chance to live your life again. Now isn’t that worth a few weeks of liquid diet? ABSOLUTELY!!

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