Expectations After Weight Loss Surgery

When going through, or even considering weight loss surgery, it is important to have an understanding of what your expectations are after the surgery to make sure you get the best results.

Surgery is not right for everyone and the expectations can be daunting, especially when changing a lifetime of habits.

Renew Bariatrics wants to make sure you have the information you need to understand life after weight loss surgery.

Recovery time

Recovery times can vary and depends on the type of surgery you have.

The first step is to come out of anesthesia. There can be complications with anesthesia such as pulmonary complications and airway collapse.

To help ensure you have minimal complications after the surgery, you will stay in the hospital for two days in order to be monitored by medical staff.

Once you are released by the hospital you will still need a few days off work. This varies due to the type of work you do. It could be anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks of being at home with no work-related activities.

If you return to work early you will need to do light activities. It normally takes about 6 weeks to get released to do full work duties and general life-related activities.

Weight loss surgery is intended to restrict food intake or the absorption of fat in the patient to aid in weight loss. So, expect to make some eating changes after your surgery if you want it to be successful. It can be very beneficial to start your diet changes before the surgery to become accustomed to the changes as well as aid in decreasing complications. Many medical offices that perform the surgery provide a nutritionist to help you create a diet plan that works best for you.

You are not able to start eating until after you have demonstrated that your bowel functions have resumed. This is usually measured by flatulence, your stomach making that grumbling hunger like sound, or you no longer have a swollen abdomen. The doctors also want to ensure you don't have any leaking from the staples before eating.

The diet that is suggested is a high protein diet. You will want to have low carbohydrate and low fat intake as well. Your medical team will also advise you to avoid alcohol and refined sugars.

The high protein diet helps to speed up the healing process as well as help maintain muscle mass. Refined sugars and junk food with high-fat content tend to have high calories and do not provide any nutritional value. When avoiding these, and having a low carbohydrate diet, one usually begins to lose weight.

It will be important to eat small meals slowly and chew thoroughly. Eating too fast can cause you to eat too much. This could induce vomiting. Eating slowly also helps to be more aware of when you feel full to signal you to stop eating. Being mindful of what your body tells you will help you avoid overeating. You should also
avoid eating right before bed.

Your intake will first consist of just water while you are at the hospital, which is the first two days after surgery. The two weeks following this will be a protein-based fluid diet. Week 3 and 4 you will be allowed to eat pureed foods. You should be able to begin to eat semi-solid food by week 5 and 6 and be back to regular foods by week 7. This could vary due to the speed or lack of recovery.

There will be several food restrictions in the 8 weeks after surgery such as no gum, carbonated drinks, or juices. They will advise you to avoid using a straw as well as acidic and spicy food. Remember your stomach is healing from major surgery and these foods can already reek havoc on your digestive system. This is not a complete list, you will want to talk to your doctor about the full restrictions.

Exercising is very important after surgery due to it aiding in weight loss as well as helping to decrease cardiovascular complications. You will not be able to begin extensive exercising right after surgery due to healing and assessing how stable your respiratory and cardiovascular systems are. Talk with your doctor about the right time to start and amount of exercise that will work best for you.

In many instances, doctors release patients 4 weeks after the operation to begin some level of exercising. This usually begins with walking as much as you can then increasing when able. It is not necessary to have an intense workout as this may cause you to lose muscle mass. Instead, a steady exercise is enough. It is very important to stretch and warm up before each exercise as it reduces the chances of injuries.

If exercising is difficult or you lack motivation there are several suggestions to help keep you on target.

First, you want to find an exercise you get some enjoyment out of doing. This is the most important suggestion to help in staying motivated. If you don’t know what you enjoy, try several activities before deciding. Some places offer one time free classes to try it out or discounts.

Finding a friend or family member to do the activity with you also aids in staying on target. It may also be beneficial to find a community group for people who have gone through the surgery and participate in that. Having people who have experienced the surgery can aid in gaining knowledge about realistic recovery expectations as well as help keep you motivated. Some groups are designed to bring out the competitiveness of others if that is motivating to you as well.

When considering Bariatric surgery it is important to be aware of what your post-operative expectations are and how dedicated and motivated you are to stay on target. This is a major surgery and has great success when the patient makes the needed life changes. This is also a long process. Make sure to set realistic expectations before and after surgery.

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