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Tracking Diet after Bariatric Surgery: Apps, Tips, and Why it’s Important

Bariatric Dieting

Weight loss surgery can pave the way for many exciting opportunities. Besides the significant weight loss, many people who undergo bariatric surgery find they have to take fewer medications to treat obesity-related health conditions. However, to achieve success after gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or adjustable gastric band, it’s very important to follow your doctor’s dietary recommendations. This is essential to obtain adequate nutrition and stay on track with your weight loss goals. To this end, one of the most important things you can do is track your diet.

What is Tracking?

Tracking diet refers to documenting what you eat and drink throughout the day, every day. Every snack, meal, and beverage you consume is recorded, usually in a tracking app in a mobile phone or tablet. The idea is to keep an eye on nutrition and food choices and encourage portion control.

For example, when you reach for a donut, recording it in an app may make you stop and reconsider. And if you go ahead and eat it, you’ll see the calories added to the day’s total in real-time. Tracking diet makes it easier to reach your weight loss and health goals by creating awareness and accountability.

Diet tracking is effective.

One study by the Kaiser Permanente Group found that among 1,700 people, those who recorded daily food intake were able to lose twice the amount of weight compared to those who did not keep a food diary, and the more in-depth the tracking, the more weight the participants lost.

Why is tracking diet gaining so much popularity?

Some of the most popular mainstream apps, such as Lose It and My Fitness Pal, have been downloaded more than 50 million times. The primary reason is that these apps make it very easy to keep a food and drink diary. Besides, they’re effective. Every time you log something you ate or drank in the app you’re reminded where your calories are coming from and the behaviors that need to change. When used consistently, the app can help you progress towards a healthy weight.

Tracking and Bariatric Patients

Tracking diet is useful for everyone, but it is especially important for bariatric patients. If you have had weight loss surgery, you need to educate yourself on nutrition, healthy food choices, and portion control. A tracking app is a convenient way to do this. The knowledge you gain will improve your confidence and self-esteem around food and eating. You’ll understand your eating patterns and get better at changing your behaviors to meet weight loss goals.

Advantages of Tracking Diet

A Duke University study showed that overweight people who tracked their daily food consumption lost a significant amount of weight even without following a particular diet. These results suggest that consistent tracking is an essential element for successful weight loss. Here are three key benefits of diet tracking:

Analysis: People who use tracking apps get a snapshot of their food choices and eating behaviors, allowing them to change problematic behaviors and persist with good behaviors.

Accountability: Reflecting on your food and drink diary creates increased awareness and personal accountability. The tracking app serves as a coach by providing encouragement and feedback.

Adjustment: A tracking app helps users discover the source of calories. They can then adjust their diet and cut back on calories by avoiding certain foods or eating smaller portions.

Successful Diet Tracking After Weight Loss Surgery

For diet tracking to be effective, you need to be honest, accurate, and consistent. This means recording every single thing you eat or drink, even if it is two bites of a donut or half a glass of sweetened beverage. Most tracking apps have an extensive nutrition database containing millions of foods and drinks, so it’s easy to log your consumption. Many apps allow the user to save favorite meals for convenient logging.

Another important factor for successful diet tracking is to do it in real-time. If you wait until the end of the day to log all your food intake, you’re likely to forget some items. Also, on-the-go logging allows you to be aware of how many calories you’ve consumed already at any given time during the day.

Self-monitoring with a diet tracking app after bariatric surgery can be a very useful tool for eating healthy and achieving and sustaining weight loss. Of course, if you’re old school, a pen and paper can work just fine, but try a diet tracking mobile app. You may find it’s easier to keep a food and drink diary than you imagined.