Are you considering bariatric surgery but wondering what post-surgery life will be like? The following will give you a good idea of what to expect:
- Diet. The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be strictly adhered to for successful weight loss. Post-surgery dietary guidelines vary by surgeon and type of procedure, but the following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines a weight loss surgery patient may encounter:
- When you resume eating solid food, it is essential that you chew thoroughly. You will not be able to eat steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
- Eat protein first.
- Do not drink fluids while eating. They will make you feel full before you have consumed enough food.
- Omit desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients.
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals.
- Returning to work. Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and type of weight loss surgery. Many patients return to full pre-surgery levels of activity within six weeks of their procedure, while patients who have had a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure may do so in less time.
- Birth control and pregnancy. It is strongly recommended that women of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 18 months after weight loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on the body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.
- Long-term follow-up. Over time, you will need periodic checks for anemia (low red blood cell count) and vitamin B12, folate and iron levels. Follow-up tests will initially be conducted every three to six months or as needed, and then every one to two years.
- Support groups. Support groups provide weight loss surgery patients with an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. Patients who participate in ongoing post-surgical support achieve the greatest level of success.
While there are many lifestyle changes associated with bariatric surgery, most patients will tell you that the improvements to their overall health and lifestyle are well worth the effort.
For more information and to discuss surgical weight loss options, contact us today.