The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be followed for long-term successful weight loss. Post-surgery dietary guidelines will vary by surgeon. 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 may be different for each surgeon and each type of procedure. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to your surgeon’s recommended guidelines. 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.
Going Back to Work
Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and your 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 within a few weeks.
Birth Control and Pregnancy
We strongly recommended that women of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a very important requirement.
After weight loss surgery, there may be long-term effects on your nutrition and body systems. Nutritional deficiencies that occur over the course of many years will need to be studied. 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.