Long Term Diet After Bariatric Surgery

If you’re 6+ months out from your bariatric surgery it’s time to focus on long-term sustainable weight loss. What worked immediately after surgery won’t work for long so you need to know how to adapt your diet for the next stage in your journey. Read this article to learn how to stick to your long term diet after bariatric surgery.

Your diet post-bariatric surgery evolves over time. How you eat right after surgery is not how you’ll eat 1 year out from surgery. How you eat 1 year out from surgery is not how you’ll eat 5 years out from surgery. As your weight loss progresses so will your diet and how you adapt over time will play a major role in your ongoing weight loss success.

Bariatric Surgery is a Process

Bariatric Diet Process

The stages of post-op dieting can be broken down into 3 different stages:

Stage 1: Immediately Post-op Diet – This is your standard “4-Phase diet” which starts out with Liquids Only and progresses to solid foods as your stomach heals.

Stage 2: Long Term Diet – In this stage, you’re still working to reduce your excess body weight until you reach your goal weight.

Stage 3: Weight Maintenance Diet – Once you reach your goal weight your goal transitions from “weight loss” to “weight maintenance.” In weight maintenance, you want to neither gain nor lose weight.

Weighgt loss - Weight Maintenance

How Stage 2 (the long term diet) is different from Stage 1 (the 4-phase diet, months 0-6)

The most important thing to do after your surgery is to develop long term dietary habits you can maintain easily.

The 4-phase diet is short-term. It’s merely a blip on the radar of your entire bariatric journey. You’ll lose weight during this time because you don’t feel well (you just had surgery) so you don’t have much of an appetite, and you’re living off of liquids and pureed foods for 2+ months.

Your long-term diet picks up after you’ve completed the 4-phase diet and lasts until you reach your goal weight. This is when the majority of the weight you lose happens.

Long-term Weight Loss Diet After Bariatric Surgery

During the long-term diet after bariatric surgery, you have not met your goal weight and you and your dietitian want to continue dieting for weight loss.

This phase of the journey is better described as a marathon, not a sprint. So finding sustainable and repeatable weight loss over time is the key to success during this stage. If you’re still chasing your goal weight, you want to get there as quickly and safely as possible. 

Most bariatric clinics have a recommended calorie goal of 900 – 1,200 calories 6+ months after surgery until you reach your goal weight. Generally speaking, the most important parts of your diet that you need to track are total calories and total protein. As long as you meet those two goals on a daily basis you should see steady and reliable weight loss.

That said, there are a few more guidelines to help you stay on track, and here they are below.

Long Term Diet Infographic (1)

What foods to eat?

Healthy food

Now we have to figure out what foods are going to set you up to actually meet these calorie and macronutrient goals. Since calories have to stay low, eating lean whole foods is going to keep you full and give you the nutrition you need.

Here are some examples and ideas:


  • Lean meats like chicken, lean ground beef, turkey
  • All seafood and fish
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Legumes
  • Protein bars
  • Protein shakes


  • Whole grains like brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal
  • Fruits and fibrous vegetables

Healthy Fat:

  • Avocados 
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts and natural nut butters
  • Olives
  • Fatty fish like salmon

Stay Hydrated

Gastric bypass surgery does not reduce your body’s need to water, but it does make it harder to drink large quantities of water at once. Most people need approximately 64 ounces of water per day. In order to make sure that you get an adequate supply, try to slowly sip on a drink throughout most of the day. 

The exception to this rule is the half-hour before and after meals since drinking then can interfere with your ability to eat adequately. Remember that many prepared drinks contain sugar or other undesirable ingredients, and that water or zero-calorie sports drinks are always the safest choices.

Need healthy recipes during the Long-Term Diet Stage?

Bariatric Chef Cover - digital

Pick up a copy of The Bariatric Chef, an eCookbook designed for Bariatric patients who want sustainable weight loss while eating delicious foods. This unique digital cookbook includes 100 dietitian-created recipes for reaching your goal weight, staying there and living a healthy lifestyle.

The Bariatric Chef delivers on variety and at the same time carefully calculated nutritional information so that you can mix it up without the consequences of stalled weight loss. Seriously, who wants to eat the same thing day after day?

In fact, The Bariatric Chef does all of the work for you and delivers delicious meals with pre-calculated calories and macronutrients to keep you on track.

Consistency is Key

Everything that’s been discussed in this article: Energy Balance, Calories, Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, eating the right foods…etc. is important. But none of it means anything if it’s not done consistently.

Following the protocols that are outlined in this article for a week, a month or even 6 months doesn’t mean anything if the rest of the time you’re NOT following the protocols.

This doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect 100% of the time. Attempting perfection is a 1-way ticket to burnout and hating your life. Seriously, perfection isn’t needed and it’s not even recommended.

Do what is said in this article 80% of the time and don’t let the remaining 20% fly out of control and you’ll get amazing results.

What’s your take on the Long Term Diet After Bariatric Surgery?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quick Disclaimer:
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have. We cannot guarantee or promise any results. Nothing stated on this page and nothing in what we say or do can be construed as a guarantee about the outcome of the long-term diet after gastric bypass surgery. Our past or future comments about the outcome or opinions are not guarantees.


More Bariatric Articles

BMR Calculator

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is a crucial factor in understanding your body’s energy needs. It represents the number of calories your body requires to maintain basic physiological functions, such as breathing, circulation, and cell production, while at rest. Knowing your BMR can help you make informed decisions about your diet and weight loss goals Calculating […]

Post-Bariatric Surgery Soft Food

Post-bariatric surgery, transitioning to a soft food diet is a critical phase in the recovery and nutritional rehabilitation process. This stage, typically occurring a few weeks after surgery, requires careful attention to food choices to ensure adequate nutrient intake while promoting healing and weight loss. In this article, we explore the key aspects of a […]

What are your tips and tricks to post-bariatric success?

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below – we want to hear from you!


  1. I am 16 months post op from Bariatric sleeve. Shortly after surgery my husband and I move 3.5 hours north of Lansing so I can’t go to my surgeon’s office for support and the Bariatric doctor where I am won’t take me on as a patient bcuz they didn’t do the surgery and cannot make any money from helping with follow up. I am trying to find an idea of where I’m at and what I should be eating, how much, etc. Doea anyone have any suggestions for me?

  2. I have constant diarrhea. Have been tested for C-diff and that was negative. I need help on getting regular. Any ideas, help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Start taking probiotics with every meal. Also with your constant bowel movements your electroyles are depleted so you need to drink vitamin water without sugar. Some patients get your symptoms that need additional help. Some blood pressure medications are constipating so adding that may also help. I had it for over a year, and the gastro doctor said I should try pancreatic enzymes like Creon (RX) and all of the above helped me. I now only take the bp meds and the probiotics.
      Hope this helps you.

  3. Will I be able to eat salads after bariatric surgery ,i know not right away,but in the future. I miss my lettuce .

    1. I thought after surgery you needed to focus on carbs not calories. I had BPD and I was told to lose weight stay no more than 30 carbs 120 ounces of protein. Am I wrong? I have gained 15 pounds.

      1. Each doctor meal plan vary, mine is 64 oz water per day, 40-60 protein. I think your weight gain could be coming from your protein intake. A few pointers that people helped me with is don’t drink your calories, no sugar, 1200 calories per day. I’m 1.5 yrs out from surgery and thankfully I’m maintaining my weight I still can’t eat and drink the proper amount tho one day I get all my protein in but not water and other days I only drink water. Good luck to you !

        1. Great points! Each surgeon and program will definitely have their own protocols and recommendations. It’s ALWAYS recommended to double-check with your team before diving in headfirst. That said, there is normally consistency across the recommendations and they’ll be based somewhat on the ASMBS Guidelines. Good luck!

  4. I need help it has been about 15 or 16 year that I have had gastric bypass. They say I am lacking nutritionist and I need to know what to eat to bring my protein back up I’m very pale and they said the skin feels funny. I get sick alot.

    1. Hi, I had my bypass surgery in 2006 so it has been a little over 13 years ago. As far as nutrition, Bari Life has an excellent vitamin mix or pills that have all the nutritional needs a gastric bypass patient would need to maintain health. I take two scoops a day since I have permanent gastric bypass. It has done wonders for my nutritional needs. My blood tests have all been excellent. I also take an additional capsule of 1000mg of Vitamin C to fortify my immune system. I also take care when I am out in public to wipe the carts in the store and use an antibacterial gel on my hands often. U truly have not had a cold or flu in many years. I highly recommend the Bari Life Vitamins they also sell a supplement to help your hair, nail and skin. Check out the web site.

    2. Yo need to take your daily dose of 8 bariatric vitamins, eat protein like turkey chicken,salmon,and also between meals drink protein shakes,is very important in your case and don’t forget to drink alot of water helps your body to recover ,and feel good ,and also helps your skin to shrink.

  5. I had the surgery in 2005.and had lose over 100 pounds and here still fighting to lose this again can someone help me with a good plan to do so .

  6. Had the surgery in 2005 lose over 100 pounds ive put it back on trying to get it back off need some help.

  7. HELP! I had sleeve surgery in September, 2018. I’ve done very well, losing about 82 lbs. since surgery. My problem now is I’m stuck! Not losing but not gaining. I’m 40 lbs. away from my goal. Is there anything I can do?? I don’t see my doctor until next month. I’m stuck and need help!

  8. Major Dental Crumbling. Teeth dying, I brush Floss see dentists. But in this past year I spent nearly 4 months hospitalized due to a gastric ulcer complicated surgery. Ended up having over 20 post edg’s have lasting complications that I need to have discussed with someone. Fought to get out of that medical plan. I am now in another, but it’s taking months to get assistance and I’m nearly disabled or I believe I am. Previous Dr did not wish to admit it. Now I need serious dental help, I’m sure it’s effecting my health. I expect after all this Autoimmune disorders undiagnosed and complicated. I was on TPN while hospitalized it’s been a mess. And continues with only myself to advocate and I’m exhausted mentally and physically. Help would be appreciated!!

  9. Hi
    I had sleeve surgery aug 13
    Started pre diet at 296 on July 1

    Was 205 on nov 12

    So far so good. But am worried that i will start eating again and gain it all back

    Any pointers?

  10. I really needed this , I have regain and I really need to get back on track. This information is very helpful and encouraging..

  11. I had Gastric bypass in 2015. I was doing great until 2018.I had knee replacement n gained 30 pound back. I’m desperate I’ve even been doin WW until eye surgery I was loosing BUT here it somes Back PLEASE my husband passed I Need help please.

  12. I am years out from surgery. My family is changing our diet to vegan. I literally have not lost a thing but gained 6 lbs in two weeks. Things don’t seem to give with what I have been taught to eat. I go to the gym for two hours daily and still not a budge. I eat less than 1400 calories. Help

    1. Many articles that I’ve read state that if you do not get your 60 g of protein and less than 30g carbs and your 64 ounces of non-sugar fluid intake daily and stick to three small meals a day no more than a cup serving and stay away from grazing your weight loss will come to a standstill or you can gain weight

  13. I had gastric bypass in 2003 I was 278:8 pounds,,I got down to 135. . Everyone said I look like I was my mother’s mother. Weight I am at 188. I would like to restart my losing again. I like to be 145 to 150. However I have an apron on my stomach how do I get rid of it.

  14. I am a year after my gastric surgery.
    I need a menu to get the rest of my weight of
    I was 190 I’m now 154lbs
    I got down to 143lbs then start gaining when I finish the menu
    After 4 to 6 months and it been gaining I was stuck for 3 months.
    If I had a menu I can lose my weight my doctor told me only way I can lost my weight is to lifting weights. I think if I had a menu

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *