Water, water everywhere gosh that’s a lot I have to drink…

Since my gastric bypass surgery I have a new way in which I have to order and coordinate my eating and drinking water. There are two mechanisms left over from the surgery that make these life long behaviour changes necessary.

The first is the restrictive element in terms of the size of the stomach. My tummy is so small post-op that if I eat and drink together I can’t get enough food in. For this reason I have to wait for 30 minutes before and after eating to drink any fluid. On the times I have tried it because who doesn’t break the rules occasionally, it hasn’t felt good and has given me issues with food and pain so I stick to this rule like glue now.

Also if I was able to eat and drink at the same time without it being uncomfortable it can very easily help you put just that little bit extra in your tummy each time and could partly be the cause of stretching the tummy back out if you were persistent enough. Separating out food and fluid was the hardest behavioural change I had to make in the run up to and following bariatric surgery because they used to go hand in hand for me.

Another reason to keep them separate is because they way I have been reconfigured I no longer have the valve at the bottom of my tummy that decides when things move from the tummy into the intestine. This means that if things are a too slippery or watery consistency it easier for them to pass through the opening and the tummy can and will empty quicker.

I’m lucky that I’m over 16 months out from surgery and I haven’t had hunger return yet (but this is getting to the point of being unusual). If I did and I was mixing eating and drinking and emptying my tummy quicker it would be harder to stick to my no snacking rule.

I need to drink 2-3L of fluid (predominantly water) a day and I have daily goals of when I need to drink X amount by so I can monitor it throughout the day and know If I am wildly off in terms of keeping up. I like to have drunk a whole 750ml bottle (sometimes I can manage two) by lunchtime. Then in the afternoon I aim to drink another whole one. Then in the evening I will start on my third and usually drink all of that too.

Add in a coffee, my morning protein shake and something else (on the rare occasion I do) and then I have easily drunk the fluid I need nicely spaced out over the day. I try not to drink more than 300ml an hour because of not wanting to get too much in my tummy at once and stretching it out.

I am well and truly used to this rule now and manage it quite easily by having fairly set times for meals so that it’s automatic when to stop drinking. It does become problematic at times though for example when we are at someone else’s house for dinner and dinner is much earlier or later than estimated. I can end up missing out on valuable fluid drinking time if the times are out by too much and after an hour of not drinking anything my body is starting to want water again.

This is also a great source of amusement for me though as even my family still offer me drinks with food on a regular basis. I find cafés and restaurants often take a lot of convincing that I’m fine just with what I want to eat and don’t want a drink. Some places will bring me a glass of water and I feel bad not drinking it because they are just trying to be nice but what’s a girl to do?

I’m struggling to be as good with getting all of my fluids in every day over winter as when it’s colder I find it harder to drink as much water. I prefer water cold over room temperature and its hard drinking cold water when you are already freezing (thanks post-op metabolism!) I am making the effort lately and having these goals helps me to meet my fluid goals more days than not.

How do you manage you daily fluid intake? Are you great at getting it all in every day or is it a constant struggle? Tell me your habits in the comments section I’d love to know how you manage this aspect of post-op weight loss surgery life.

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There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Lena | Lena Talks Beauty at 7:31 pm

    I have always been good at drinking water, growing up we never had any other drinks at home so I’ve just had the habit. In winter I find myself drinking less, or drinking more coffee and tea instead of water. Some people say the water in coffee/tea doesn’t count but that’s not quite right. I like herbal teas, especially in the evening – I just had a nice cranberry and apple one.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:34 pm

      The only thing about coffee and tea is with the caffeine it gives them a diuretic effect so don’t ultimately end up doing much in terms of hydration. Decaffeinated teas don’t come with those side effects!

  2. Nerida at 6:29 pm

    Like you Melissa I try and drink my 750ml bottle before lunch and one in the afternoon. Its the evening one I struggle with. It is foreign to me to not drink with my meals but I’m sticking to the 30 minute rule stringently. Its strange not having a drink with my meal but I’m getting used to it. I’m 10 weeks out.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 9:26 pm

      I struggled with not being able to drink with meals the most to start with too so I know how you feel. You get used to it eventually. I still have to take fluid away when I’m eating because if it’s there I will inadvertently reach for it. Good on you for sticking to the rule it is so important for the long term.

  3. Nigel Pearson at 12:30 pm

    I find drinking the volume I’m supposed to VERY difficult, compounded with no liquids before and after meal times. 6 months out from surgery, it’s a bit easier, but water fills me up very quickly.
    It’s such a change from the old obese me as I used to drink a lot (well over 2 litres) as advised by physicians and dietitians.
    I do worry that this could lead to some health issues down the track and will ask about it on my next check up at the hospital.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 5:35 pm

      To be able to get enough in I have to keep at it all day and just have little sips all the time. It’s so easy to get off track though and of course not being able to chug a whole lot back to catch up doesn’t make it easier. Do ask about it at your next check up because dehydration can be really serious for us post bariatric surgery.

  4. Shannon at 7:38 pm

    This is my biggest struggle i’m only 3 weeks post op and im struggling to drink coz im just so full. I’m getting bad headaches and i know its my water…

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 6:26 am

      Oh no that’s not ideal is it Shannon. You just have to keep taking small sips all the time throughout the day. It does get easier the further out you get so it won’t be like this forever.

  5. Carolyn at 4:23 pm

    Gosh this is helpful. …your blog and people’s comments. Am thinking about implementing this now. Not drinking at meal times….my mum-in-law never drinks with meals.

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