How to make the most of a food and exercise tracker after weight-loss surgery

  • 2 Minutes Read
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Make sure you are meeting your nutrient needs, recovering quickly, and losing weight after weight-loss surgery by using a food and exercise tracker.

Food and exercise tracker

Do you need to use a food and exercise tracker after weight-loss surgery?

Tracking what you eat and drink after weight-loss surgery helps ensure you stay on top of your plan. Logging is an excellent way to create personal accountability and decrease your chances of developing a short or long-term complication.

One thing to look for in a food and exercise tracker is nutrient customization or the flexibility to plan and customize nutrients according to your needs. Such customization is important because nutrient requirements recommended by your bariatric team (doctor and dietitian) are different from the standard defaults in weight-loss apps. For instance, your calorie goal may be lower, while your protein target may be higher than standard weight-loss requirements. MyNetDiary allows customization of nutrient goals with a Premium membership.

Tracking protein-an essential nutrient after bariatric surgery

Meeting your daily protein needs is vital for a healthy body. If it has been seven weeks or more since your surgery, then ideally, you should be consuming at least 60 grams of protein every day. Strive to build your meals around protein-rich foods. Fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, non-fat Greek yogurt, and low-fat cottage cheese are all concentrated protein sources. Tofu and other whole soy products are also high in protein. However, you typically have to eat a bit more volume to get the same amount as from animal sources. If you are struggling to reach your protein goal, then please contact your bariatric team for advice.

What about protein supplements?

Protein supplements can also come in handy - just make sure they are low in sugar (less than 3-4 grams sugar per serving). Some examples include Light Muscle Milk, Pure Protein Shake, Unjury, Bariatric Advantage High-Protein Meal Replacement, and Isopure brands. Whey powder can also be added to foods to increase protein and doesn't contain lactose sugar, so it should not cause dumping syndrome.

Keep track of hydration

Dehydration is one of the most common complications after bariatric surgery. Because your stomach is so small, it is difficult to drink a lot of fluids at one time. Thus sipping non-caloric, non-carbonated liquids slowly throughout the day will help prevent dehydration. Most bariatric clinics recommend consuming at least 64 ounces of water every day (about eight cups).

Find a food and exercise tracker that simplifies tracking your hydration. For example, with MyNetDiary, you can track your intake by clicking on the water glasses and/or adding water to your food record. The Water Tracker feature is available on iPhone, Android, and web apps. If you tend to forget to drink water, MyNetDiary covers that, too, with its daily water tracker reminder! Simply enable Water Reminders under Settings in the Water dashboard. Plus, you can customize the daily water tracker reminder by scheduling the frequency and time range.

Vitamin and mineral supplements

It is essential to take your prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements after your surgery. If you underwent a gastric bypass, then your procedure is both restrictive and malabsorptive. Hence, supplements are critical for preventing nutrient deficiencies over time. In MyNetDiary, you can either log your supplements as customized food items or simply enter them as text in the section entitled "Vitamins/Supplements/Medications." Note that your vitamin and mineral intake from supplements is likely to be higher than the DRI/RDA values (what most apps use for default nutrient values). That is okay. Typically, supplements include a multivitamin/mineral (with iron), calcium citrate + vitamin D, vitamin D, and B complex (including B12). Iron and calcium should not be taken together. They will bind, and absorption gets reduced for both. Also, spread out your calcium intake (usually two to three doses) since your body can only absorb up to about 600 mg at one time. If you have questions about your supplement use, please be sure to ask your bariatric care team for help.

A food and exercise tracker or any tracking tool helps ensure you are meeting your nutrient needs after weight-loss surgery. For safe and effective tracking, please use your bariatric care team's guidelines to customize your goals. Do not try to follow the automated values that tracking apps display as defaults for calories, fat, and carbs-they will be too high!

More Resources

Reviewed and updated by Joanna Kriehn MS, RDN, CDCES, on May 27, 2021.

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Weight Loss->Bariatric Surgery
May 31, 2021

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