Post-bariatric surgery diet and life resources in Northeast Florida

At Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, our team is focused on being there for you every step of the way after bariatric surgery. Your relationship with us does not end after your procedure. We are here as your resource and to support you in your success. Bariatric surgery has proven to be the most effective means for sustained, major weight loss, and we are dedicated to helping you realize your goals and find a healthy, happy life.

To learn more about weight loss surgery options or our bariatric support group, call (904) 702-6360.


Memorial Hospital Jacksonville is proud to be recognized as a Blue Distinction Center+ by Blue Cross Blue Shield and an Accredited Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP).

What to expect after weight loss surgery

Choosing to undergo weight loss surgery is a personal decision that requires a huge commitment to long-term lifestyle change. Bariatric surgery can help you lose weight in a sustainable way, but this doesn’t occur without major adjustments.

Some of the most important considerations after surgery include:

  • Diet and nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Staying hydrated
  • Support groups
  • Vitamins and supplementation

Vitamin supplementation

All bariatric patients will be on lifelong vitamin supplementation to ensure levels of key vitamins remain in healthy ranges. When your anatomy is changed surgically, your ability to process food and nutrients is altered. Some of the most common deficiencies include:

  • Vitamin B12—Deficiency can cause anemia, weakness and even neurological changes. You may require B12 oral supplementation or shots to stay within normal levels.
  • Vitamin D—Vitamin D is essential for the body to process and use Calcium. Deficiency can lead to poor calcium absorption and weak, brittle bones.
  • Calcium—Many patients do not get enough calcium, which is required for healthy bones and to avoid osteoporosis.
  • Iron—Deficiency can lead to anemia, which is a lack of healthy red blood cells.

Prevention is much easier than treatment when it comes to vitamin deficiencies, so we urge patients to adhere to the recommended bariatric supplements. For some patients, that means taking several supplements each day.

Importance of follow-up appointments

Your levels of specific vitamins and minerals will be checked routinely at follow-up visits. Don’t skip your follow-up visits or think long-term visits are unnecessary. In extreme circumstances, certain vitamin deficiencies can result in serious symptoms, such as nerve damage, blindness, psychosis and heart problems. This is one of the most important reasons why we want to see you for follow-up care.

Hydration after surgery

It is important that you do not drink while you are eating. We recommend spacing fluids at least 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after a meal. Spacing fluids and food means the stomach will not be filled with fluid when you are trying to use the limited space for food. It can also cause food to quickly flush out of your system.

Drinks to avoid after bariatric surgery

Early after surgery, dehydration is one of the top reasons for readmittance to the hospital. Properly hydrating helps with healing, digestion and your overall health. It also keeps you full and satisfied through the day and keeps energy levels up.

Avoid sugary, fizzy, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks after bariatric surgery. Sugary drinks add calories, create sugar spikes and increase the risk of dumping syndrome. Fizzy drinks are acidic and can lead to stretching of the pouch. Caffeinated drinks can irritate the stomach pouch and should be avoided especially in the first six months after surgery. Caffeine also has a diuretic effect, meaning it can be dehydrating.

Strategies for staying hydrated

Every patient needs at least 64 ounces of fluid, preferably plain water, every day. This needs to be adjusted upward on particularly hot days or when doing strenuous activities. For some people, it is difficult to drink that much water during the day. However, there are some strategies that make it a little easier:

  • Drink 16 ounces of water when you wake up. It will help you get your day started and regain the hydration you may have lost overnight.
  • Drink 16 ounces of water about an hour before both lunch and dinner. This can help you feel full but not interfere with your eating.
  • Drink the remaining 16 ounces throughout the day. We recommend keeping a water bottle or a large glass with you.

Do not drink the water too quickly. This can lead to a dangerous dilution of electrolytes and defeats the goal of steady hydration throughout the day. It can also be painful or dangerous for your small pouch after surgery.

Exercise after weight loss surgery

For the first several weeks after surgery, your ability to exercise will be limited due to the healing process. Between six and eight weeks after surgery, you can begin to perform some normal, non-strenuous activities. Shortly after, you will be cleared to exercise more vigorously.

During the initial weight loss period, low-impact activities are best. Exercises such as swimming, biking and walking put less pressure on your joints and minimizes the chance of an injury. As you begin to lose weight, you can start to increase the intensity of your exercise. If you experience any pain, you should stop immediately.

Bariatric surgery support groups

Our support groups are held each month for patients who have undergone weight loss surgery with Memorial Bariatric Surgery. All weight loss surgery patients are strongly encouraged to attend. For more information about our support groups, please call (904) 702-6360.