Life After Surgery
Often considered a last-resort for those who have struggled with obesity, bariatric surgery is recommended when other diet and exercise programs have failed.
Before you start preparing for bariatric surgery, you should:
- Consider the reasons why you want to lose weight
- Determine if weight loss surgery is right for you
- Consider the different types of weight loss surgery
- Take the first steps to get started
Once you’ve made the decision to get weight loss surgery, take time to review the benefits, risks and lifestyle changes necessary to help you reach your weight loss and wellness goals. The type of foods that you eat, how much food you eat, how often you engage in physical activity—all of these factors and more will have to change after your bariatric procedure.
As your surgical date approaches, start making changes to your way of life so you can gradually adjust to what life will be like after weight loss surgery.
There are three primary categories of lifestyle changes after weight loss surgery
Physical Activity after Weight Loss Surgery
Whether exercise was a regular component of your life before or not, following weight loss surgery you’ll be encouraged to exercise regularly. As you prepare for bariatric surgery, you can start learning fitness techniques and developing a regular workout schedule. Exercising daily after weight loss surgery is associated with greater post-surgical outcomes and long-term weight loss success.
Once you are cleared to work out regularly, you can find activities that you enjoy participating in that will keep you active and in good health, such as:
- Low-intensity weight lifting
- Body weight activities
Before you start any new form of activity, make sure you always check in with your weight loss surgeon to ensure your body is ready for the challenge.
Dietary Changes after Weight Loss Surgery
The way your diet will change after weight loss surgery depends on the type of weight loss surgery you undergo. Even before going into surgery, you can make changes to your diet to encourage pre-surgical weight loss and to help yourself adjust mentally and physically to some of the changes that are ahead.
Once you have weight loss surgery, you won’t feel as hungry, so following the post-surgical diet won’t be as challenging. Before surgery, try making small changes as you can. This may include:
- Eating smaller portions
- Drinking less soda or sugary juices
- Eating more whole foods, like fruits and vegetables
- Eliminating mindless snacking and other forms of overeating
While it will be difficult to adopt your post-bariatric diet before undergoing surgery, transitioning to a healthier diet before your procedure can be a great help as you prepare for weight loss surgery.
Behavioral Changes after Weight Loss Surgery
While diet and exercise get a great deal of attention when it comes to losing weight, behavioral changes are essential to keeping weight off. This refers to the types of changes you’ll make to your general way of life.
Behavioral changes may include:
- Walking more often instead of driving or taking the bus to work or school
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Keeping a journal to track your food choices and activity level
- Making plans with friends at the park instead of joining them to eat
- Drinking more water throughout the day
These are all healthy changes that you can make in your life as you prepare for your upcoming surgical date. You can also prepare yourself and your friends for your upcoming weight loss surgery by opening a dialogue about your procedure and the changes that are likely to ensue.