What to Expect After Your Weight Loss Surgery
Knowing what to expect after weight loss surgery can help you make a smooth transition into your new life.
If you’re thinking about having weight loss surgery, you’re likely ready to enter a dynamic period of change. People who struggle with obesity have surgery because they want to be more active, cure their type 2 diabetes, see their blood pressure drop to a healthy level, or feel confident in a swimsuit again.
Everyone expects to experience numerous physical, emotional, and mental benefits after weight loss surgery, but there’s more to the story. You must also be prepared for other changes, most notably the lifestyle changes necessary to maintain your amazing weight loss results. Here’s what you need to know:
How Much Weight Will I Lose?
You can expect to lose a significant amount of weight after having bariatric surgery, but how much depends on a few factors, like the type of surgery you choose and what your starting weight is. Generally, people who have gastric bypass lose 60 percent of their excess weight on average, while those who have gastric sleeve lose about 40 percent. It’s important to be realistic about your weight loss goals and recognize that weight loss surgery isn’t a one-and-done solution — you’ll have to work hard to maintain weight loss results and shed even more pounds.
Also, you should expect to lose weight gradually. You’ll probably lose weight the fastest during the first month after surgery, about four pounds a week. After that, weight loss can slow to a steady pound or two each week, which is more than enough to keep you on track to meeting your weight loss goals. In fact, most people reach their healthiest weight in about 18 months.
What Can I Eat?
You can expect to eat differently after weight loss surgery, and we’re not just talking about cutting down on sugars and unhealthy fats. Your post-surgery diet plan will consist of four two-week phases — liquid, pureed foods, soft foods, and healthy foods. Bariatric surgery changes your body’s relationship to food and your digestive system starts working differently as well, so it’s important to start slow. A month after weight loss surgery, you’ll be free to eat your fill of nutritious protein-rich meals that are low in fat but high in flavor.
After surgery your stomach will be about the size of an egg, meaning there’s not a lot of room to chow down, even on healthy foods. To account for this, you should get used to consuming smaller portions and eating your protein first before you get too full.
What Will My New Routine Look Like?
You’ll need a minimum of two weeks to recover and return to your normal activities after surgery, and you still might have low energy at first. After the initial recovery period, you should get back into a light to moderate intensity exercise routine. Exercise is very important after weight loss surgery because you’ll need to regain some of the muscle you lost during surgery, and getting active helps you sustain post-surgery weight loss. Don’t do any heavy-lifting for at least a month after surgery, however. Six weeks later, you’ll be ready to push yourself and see what your new body can really do.
All of this change can be overwhelming, so make sure you establish a healthy mental and emotional routine as well. Many bariatric surgery patients stay on track by joining a support group and forming close bonds with people who are in the same situation. You can voice concerns, celebrate successes, and find new ways to cope with life’s stressors that don’t involve food. Take care of your mind and body and they’ll take care of you.
Interested in learning more about bariatric surgery? Contact the weight loss professionals at Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors. Our dedicated team will walk you through your treatment options and answer any questions you might have.