How to Prevent Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery

Worried about regaining weight after bariatric surgery? Practice these five steps to help keep the weight off.

If you’ve struggled with obesity in the past, you know how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off. Bariatric surgery makes it easier to lose weight by surgically altering the size of your stomach so you naturally consume less food and start shedding those stubborn pounds. People who have gastric bypass lose 60 to 80 percent of their excess weight on average, and recent research has proven the assumption that most people regain weight after surgery is a myth.

Still, it’s important to stay disciplined in order to maintain your slimmer figure. Practice these five steps to keep the weight off long-term. 

1. Stay Hydrated

To stay healthy and hydrated, you should aim to drink 48 to 64 ounces of water per day. However, drink your water before or after meal times. Drinking too much water during meals makes you feel fuller faster, and you’re less likely to get all of the nutrients you need from food. 

Instead, drink water periodically throughout the day and an hour before each meal. Your stomach will slowly digest the food you ate instead of washing it all away with the water you just gulped down. This way, you won’t feel as hungry after your meal. Also, drinking water well in advance of meal time helps curb hunger so you won’t be tempted to overeat.

2. Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals doesn’t help you lose weight — in fact, it does the exact opposite. When you skip meals, your body goes into survival mode and holds onto all the calories it can because it doesn’t know where its next meal is coming from. Also, if you skip one meal you’re more likely to overeat at the next one or two because you’re starving. Both of these factors contribute to weight regain.

One of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy weight is eat well, eat sensible portions, and eat regularly. Experts recommend eating all of your meals (at least three per day) within the same ten-hour time frame every day and not eating within three hours of your bedtime. 

3. Add Protein to Your Diet

Healthy eating is about more than loading up on fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Sticking to a high-protein diet is very important after weight loss surgery and helps prevent weight regain. Eating a lot of protein builds lean muscle mass, which boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories during your workouts. Also, eating protein-rich foods will keep you full and satisfied so you won’t be tempted to snack in between meals. 

Women should eat 60 to 80 grams of protein per day, while men should aim for 70 to 90 grams. Opt for lean meats that are high in protein but low in calories, like skinless chicken breast, turkey, tuna, and egg whites. You can also get protein from plant-based sources like tofu, soy products, and quinoa. 

4. Don’t Be too Restrictive

Some people end up regaining weight after surgery because they’re restricting their diets too much. If you cut out all fats and sugars or only eat tiny portions all of the time, the cravings might get so strong that you’ll go off your diet and overeat. Remember that moderation is key and you’re allowed to treat yourself to something tasty once or twice a week as long as the portions are reasonable.

5. Exercise Regularly

To prevent weight regain, you have to balance a healthy diet with an active lifestyle. Exercise puts the energy you gain from food to good use and supercharges your weight loss progress. Working out regularly slims you down and builds lean muscle so you can get stronger, improves cardiac health, increases joint flexibility, and even helps you live longer.

After weight loss surgery, your body will need a few weeks to recover, so don’t jump into rigorous exercise right away. First start with walking and light stretching. After you’ve fully recovered, work up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, an equal combination of cardio, strength training, and flexibility training. Once you start getting stronger and moving more, you won’t want to stop. 

Need Help Keeping the Weight Off?

For more tips on maintaining a healthy weight after bariatric surgery, contact the weight loss experts at Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today. Our nutritionists and bariatric counselors have years of experience helping patients navigate life after weight loss surgery, and they’re more than happy to share their tips and tricks for success. Schedule a consultation or stop in for a visit!