Life After Weight-Loss Surgery
Getting back to normal and maintaining your weight loss after bariatric surgery.
Going back to work after your surgery.
After bariatric surgery, your ability to resume normal levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of weight-loss surgery you had. Many patients return to full presurgery levels of activity within six weeks of their procedure.
Your diet after your surgery.
The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. Postsurgery dietary guidelines will vary by bariatric surgeon and patient. You may hear of other patients who are given different guidelines following their weight-loss surgery. It is important to remember that every surgeon does not perform the exact same weight-loss surgery procedure and that the dietary guidelines will be different for each patient and each type of procedure. What is most important is that you follow your surgeon's recommended guidelines. It is also highly recommended that all patients see a dietitian before, and periodically after, surgery.
The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines a weight-loss surgery patient may encounter:
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid fluids while eating; they will make you feel full before you have consumed enough food
- Avoid snacking between meals
- Do not take aspirin and other NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like Aleve or ibuprofen
- Eating slowly is important; expect a meal to last 30 to 60 minutes
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content
- Omit desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients
- When you start eating solid food, portions will be very small and it is essential that you chew all foods thoroughly before swallowing
- Your surgeon will recommend daily vitamins, which you will need to take according to his or her instructions
Exercise after your surgery.
Daily aerobic and strengthening exercise is essential to your success. Begin with walking and add other activities as you gain more energy and strength. The key to sticking with an exercise routine is to find something you enjoy to do such as swimming, biking, walking or golfing.
Some of the advantages of exercise include:
- Decrease body fat
- Decrease excess skin associated with dramatic weight loss
- Increase energy
- Increase lean body mass
- Increase metabolism
- Maximize weight loss
The widespread use of support groups has provided weight-loss surgery patients with an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. Most learn, for example, that weight-loss surgery will not immediately resolve existing emotional issues or heal the years of damage that morbid obesity may have inflicted on their emotional well-being. These groups help patients share their experiences with others who are dealing with the same dietary and lifestyle changes.
View current bariatric surgery support groups.