What happens if I cheat on my gastric bypass liquid diet?

By Derek
Cheating on gastric bypass liquid diet Inline

So your gastric bypass surgery date is set? Congratulations!

Before you have bariatric surgery you’ll surely be instructed to follow a pre-surgery diet, including a period of time where you’ll have only liquids.

This is meant to prepare you for surgery and avoid complications. Cheating on your liquid diet before your gastric bypass surgery can put you at risk going into surgery and post-op life from the start.

Continue reading to learn how to stick to your pre-op and liquid diet before you have gastric bypass surgery (and how to get back on track if you accidentally cheat).

Prior to your gastric bypass surgery

If you are thinking about having Gastric Bypass surgery then you are probably in a place where everything you have tried has either failed or been short-lived.

Gastric Bypass is a great tool for helping you get healthy, lose weight, and finally live a life you have always dreamed of.

However, before you ever enter the operating room, you will need to make sure that your body is in a place that will make it as safe and effective as possible to have surgery.

Thus, depending on your BMI, you will be placed on a pre-surgery diet, which includes liquids only the last two days, weeks before surgery to help get your body where it needs to be. But cheating on your liquid diet before your gastric bypass surgery can put you at risk going into surgery and post-op life from the start.

What is the pre-op diet?

The bariatric pre-op diet is a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) that will consist of high-protein foods and liquids. Mostly supplements to remove any and all guesswork.

This diet will help to not only drop some body fat but also shrink your liver, which makes it easier for your surgeon to operate.

It will also help get your body in a much better starting place for after surgery. After all, the more weight you lose before surgery the less you have to lose after surgery. Amaright?

Here’s what the Pre-Op Diet timeline looks like:

Pre-Op Gastric Bypass Diet Roadmap

How long is the pre-op diet?

How long you are on this diet prior to surgery depends on your current BMI:

  • BMI < 38: Exempt from the diet, but you will follow the 2 days of liquids prior to surgery*
  • BMI 38 – 39.9: You’re on the diet for One Week
  • BMI 40 – 44.9: You’re on the diet for Two Weeks
  • BMI 50 – 49.9: You’re on the diet for Three Weeks
  • BMI > 50: You’re on the diet for Four Weeks

The higher your starting BMI the longer you’ll be on the pre-op diet – It is EXTREMELY important that you don’t cheat on this diet.

Especially for the last two days!

And here is why…

The liquid phase of the pre-op liquid diet

As a part of the pre-op diet, you will be required to be on liquids only two days before your surgery.

Because the surgeon will be working on your stomach and small intestines it’s extremely important that there is not any residue or food remaining.

Having food and residue leftover in the stomach or small intestine opens you up to unnecessary risk and infections.

Like anyone, it can be easy and even tempting to want to cheat on any diet, but cheating on our liquid diet before your gastric bypass can have detrimental consequences and depending on the damage done by the cheating, your surgeon can even cancel your surgery that you have waited so long to have.

Why cheating on your pre-op diet is a bad idea:

  • Your surgeon will know within minutes if you cheated because they will be able to see food in your stomach and/or intestinal tract (this can lead to infections)
  • Your liver won’t shrink enough to have surgery and will make it more difficult for the surgeon
  • You could have your surgery canceled (surgeons choice)
  • Making it harder on yourself to create new healthy eating habits that you MUST adhere to after surgery
  • Increase risk of complications during and after surgery

As you can see, it is not worth it to cheat on your liquid diet before surgery.

Ask yourself this….

“Is cheating on my liquid diet before surgery worth my long term success, health, and happiness?”

We would guess the answer to that question is ABSOLUTELY NOT!

What if I already cheated on my pre-op diet?

What if I already cheated on my pre op liquid diet

The most important thing to do if you cheated is to get right back on track as soon as possible.

With that being said, you will need to let your dietician and/or surgeon know so they can determine the proper course of action prior to surgery.

When you don’t properly prepare for your surgery you can increase the chances of complications, make it harder for the surgeon to perform the surgery, and put yourself at a disadvantage post-surgery.

If you know going into the surgery that you will have to adopt new eating and behavioral habits for the rest of your life, then why risk making it that much harder on yourself for a few more bites of pizza or that last bag of chips.

These dietary guidelines are created with your best interest in mind and are designed to help you get in the right mindset and be at a much better starting point following your surgery.

Do yourself a favor, be disciplined for the few weeks and days leading up to surgery and you will NOT regret it!

Tips to help you not cheat on your liquid diet

  • Since you won’t be able to eat all of the foods you are used to right after surgery, this is a good time to get in the habit of being a healthy grocery shopper.
  • Make sure you have a plan and list before walking through the doors and remind yourself that you are only there for the essentials and nothing else!
  • Stay out of the middle aisles as much as possible (this is where most of your junk food will be).
  • Your happy place needs to be the perimeter of the store where you will find the fresh produce and lean meats.
  • If you have any junk food or trigger foods in your house, get rid of it!
  • If you don’t have the food sitting in your refrigerator or pantry then the chances of you falling victim to it are ZERO.
  • Follow a dietitian-designed bariatric pre-op diet bundle

The bottom line on cheating on the pre-op liquid diet

At most the pre-op diet will last 4 weeks. A month may sound like a long time, but put it into perspective for a moment…

If you’re considering bariatric surgery then you’ve been battling your weight for a long time. Bariatric surgery is the best option for making a major change in your health for the long-term, don’t jeopardize a lifetime of successful weight loss over 1-4 weeks leading up to surgery.

Get the right plan in place and discuss it with your surgeon and dietitian. Follow the plan and get yourself prepared for surgery. You’ll thank yourself for the rest of your life for doing what you needed to do!

Check out these turnkey pre-op diet bundles to get you prepared for your surgery day:

Example of the perfect bariatric pre-op diet bundle for all procedure types


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