Hydrating after bariatric surgery is something that we drill into every one of our patients’ psyches. Why? Not only is it one of the most effective ways to lose weight, but it is easy to do and will make you feel fantastic.
The biggest hurdle to being properly hydrated is creating a routine that allows you to drink the 64+ ounces of water that you need every day. It’s not so much that it’s difficult to do, but rather we often forget to drink our water, drink our water improperly, or get bored from the lack of taste.
There are a few strategies to making sure you drink enough water. First, you can purchase a bottle with markings to prompt you to drink. This is a great way to remind yourself of when you should be drinking and make sure you only drink as much as you need for that time. Often, in our exuberance, we want to drink more and more water. Or we try to catch up with water consumption that we missed during a busy part of our day. But drinking too much water once is not helpful, as most of it gets flushed out of the body without properly hydrating us. Instead, drink a few ounces at a time. This ensures our body receives a consistent water dosage. You should be going to the bathroom about six times a day and your urine should be straw-colored – not dark yellow and not always white or clear.
Of course, water is not the only way to get hydration. Decaffeinated coffee, tea, and other beverages, such as zero-calorie drinks or even coconut water, can all hydrate us, but often at a cost. For example, alcoholic or caffeinated beverages are a diuretic. So, while you are getting some hydration, they are also stimulating you to eliminate water, potentially leading further to dehydration. Sugary drinks can make us crave more sugar, and obviously add calories to our diets, therefore they should be avoided. Even low- or no-calorie drinks (artificially sweetened) can trick our brains into craving more sugar and make it more difficult for us to lose weight over the long term.
A note on when to drink your water
Just as important as drinking your water, is when to drink it. Do not drink within 45 30 minutes before or after your meals. Drinking immediately before a meal can fill up your stomach and may mean that you consume too few calories and too little nutrition. Drinking during or immediately after your meal can push food into the small intestine largely undigested, causing discomfort and, in gastric bypass patients, something known as dumping syndrome, which is very uncomfortable.
Throughout your bariatric journey, your diet will be an important part of weight loss. Eliminating calories from your diet is far easier than burning them off using exercise. However, exercise is still a critical component of your long-term weight loss. Let’s move on and learn more about exercise after bariatric surgery.