Best way to lose weight without a gallbladder?
January 19, 2014 7:48 PM   Subscribe

I had my gallbladder taken out last spring, and since then have been trying to lose weight, while balancing the side effects. TMI inside!

I've tried numerous methods of losing weight over the years, but low carb seemed to be the most effective. However, since having my gall bladder out, heavy or fatty meals send me running to the bathroom afterwards. The annoying part is that when I eat super carby foods (like pastries and other junk food), my bowel movements are as close to normal as mine get.

Any suggestions on how to lose weight, post cholecystectomy?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Pastries have a high fat content (lard or vegetable shortening) do they not?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:01 PM on January 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Are you taking cholestyramine or another bile salt sequestrant? This, along with fiber supplements, might help you get more "regular" with a healthier diet. Talk to your GI specialist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:01 PM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ask your doctor for a medicine called Colestid. I spent years running to the bathroom after taking a few bites of food (Any kind of food!) after I had my gallbladder out. I ended up going to a GI specialist who prescribed Colestid. So long as I take it, I don't have to rush to the restroom.

(specific details: they come in 1gram tablets, and while my prescription started out as 2/day I've cut that down to 1/day over the years. If you have questions, feel free to memail me)
posted by royalsong at 8:03 PM on January 19, 2014

I would imagine that pastries and other junk food are high in fat, no?
posted by amro at 8:06 PM on January 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think you actually can lose weight on a high carb diet, but you need to carefully calculate calories in vs. calories out. I'd look at your basal metabolic rate or your maintenance rate and then set a calorie intake limit and, if you can work out, add that. I ate 1,200 daily, but I am also a short, petite female, so that might be too low for you. And you have to be strong-willed enough to not pig out, which carbs can create temptation for. I managed to lose a lot of weight quickly by calculating a deficit of at least 1,000 calories every day through both diet and exercise. I used something called FitDay (probably not the best website anymore, but still around) to track my diet at the time and I was consistently eating like 65% carbs daily, with the remaining 35% being fat and protein.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:18 PM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you google that medicine, btw.. you'll be confused because it's marketed primarily as a cholesterol medication. What we both suffer from is called Bile Acid Malabsorbption. That medicine absorbs bile acid.. which has unfettered access to your digestive system because you don't have a gallbladder to store it anymore. Normal amounts of bile acid are necessary for proper digestion, but without the gallbladder to regulate how much is going into your system, too much is entering and the result is often.. decidedly not fun.

I had nearly a night and day difference after I started up the Colestid. There are powders. like Blazecock Pileon suggests, but I had a hard time with those because it was like drinking watery mud.
posted by royalsong at 8:24 PM on January 19, 2014

Lean protein, large amounts of vegetables, hard cheeses in moderation. Everything else sparingly. That's the way I've lost the most weight before or after having my gallbladder out, with the least pain and suffering.
posted by batmonkey at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I had a cholecystectomy about eight years ago. Before the surgery I had an ongoing battle with digestive problems, but had no idea it was my gallbladder. When I showed up at the hospital with a pretty severe case of pancreatitis (the doc called my numbers "eye-popping") and a gallbladder full of rocks, they worked first to get the pancreatitis down and then took the gallbladder out quickly and easily. It took a little while after the surgery for everything to settle down, but it's been a slice of heaven the last few years - still, there are times when the bile issue makes itself known as you describe - oh, yeah.

I bought a bottle of pancreatic enzymes called "Mega-Zyme" and all I have to do is take two tablets and the entire gas/pressure/burping/here comes the diarrhea/ooh, I think I'm going to vomit, too - business stops within a minute or two. I can continue eating, which is nice when I'm having a nice dinner out with friends or family - beats racing off to the bathroom, for sure.

I think 200 tablets were about $8.00 at the health food store/GNC.

Maybe it will work as well for you.
posted by aryma at 10:21 PM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was quite sensitive to fatty foods, and spicy foods for about the first year after my operation. But since then it has balanced out and the body sorted itself out. Connecting lack of gall bladder and diet wasn't even something that had occurred to me. I do low-carb diets, but eat smaller, more frequent, meals. I can get reflux if I eat within 2 hours of sleeping, so I don't.
posted by lundman at 10:48 PM on January 19, 2014

I know you were thinking about low-carb-type diets, but this just reminded me of this other recent thread about pre-gallbladder-surgery eating. It may not be effective for you if it's not to your taste, but the low-fat, vegan recipe suggestions asked for in the thread certainly sound like a way to drop weight; and you could add lean protein for more satiety.
posted by spelunkingplato at 8:55 AM on January 20, 2014

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