Meet Our Dietician!

Nutrition plays an important role in the success of bariatric surgery. We’d like you to meet one of the people you’ll be working with – our Registered Dietitian Krystal. 

Krystal has been working in the field of bariatric surgery with New Life patients for a little over 12 years. This busy mom of 3 boys is a southern lady who loves crafting, gardening and camping with her family.

Let’s get to know Krystal more.

What’s your role as a registered dietitian?

“I see patients post-operatively, as part of a follow-up visit. I talk with patients about nutrition, their struggle areas, and help them come up with solutions to any barrier they have nutrition-wise.

We have patients who struggle with getting enough protein, balancing home and work life after surgery, and having the willpower to stick with the bariatric diet. I work with them to find solutions to these struggles.

Part of my job is also monitoring our patients’ laboratory results and identifying vitamin deficiencies. If there are deficiencies, I provide recommendations. Vitamin deficiencies can cause serious health problems so I make sure that our patients are getting the needed vitamins.”

Are nutrition and nutrition counseling important?

“Nutrition is one of the keys to the patient’s success after surgery. If the body doesn’t get what it needs, it can lead to deficiencies, which can have long-term health complications.

Before surgery, we usually encourage patients to each around 1200 to 1800 calories per day depending on their needs. This will aid in weight loss, which helps reduce complications during and after surgery. I talk to them about how they can keep track of their food intake and calories, whether it’s through an actual food journal or a food journal app. 

After surgery, I talk to patients about the different bariatric diet phases they’ll go through and what they can and can’t eat during each phase. Following the specified diet for each phase helps in healing and promotes the desired weight loss.”

What do you teach your patients about nutrition and diet?

“After surgery, we talk a lot about protein because it’s very important after surgery. It can be tricky for some patients as they’re not used to getting enough protein in their diet. I help them find the right pattern and learn new techniques to help them meet their nutritional needs.

Socialization is one of the hardest parts for many of our patients after surgery. When I talk to them, I remind them what’s really important in those events. And together, we navigate these situations so they can still enjoy the social part without compromising their new eating habits.”

What tips can you give to stick to a more healthy diet?

“The first would be to make a list of quick and easy food items. This can be tuna packets or pre-cooked meat from the grocery store. Having these items on hand makes it easier to stick to healthy eating when you’re busy or just don’t feel like cooking. 

Another thing that could help is finding the nutrition info. of food from your favorite restaurants, including fast-food chain. This will guide you on what to eat the next time you dine out. 

It’s also important to identify your triggers to overeating. Is it a particular food or emotions? Some of us tend to overeat when we are exposed to food that we cannot control the portions or when we’re feeling stressed. So, it’s important to identify these.”


Are you considering bariatric surgery to aid in weight loss? New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery in Knoxville offers free in-person and online information sessions. These sessions will help you to make a more informed decision. To register for our information sessions, visit our site or call us at (865) 541-4500.