Obesity surgery itself is only the first step in the process of losing weight and getting healthier. What a patient does after surgery is a key component of her/his success and requires patience and ongoing lifestyle changes. The alterations made to the stomach’s size and digestion process will also adjust how, when, and what a patient should eat. The dietary guidelines will vary based on the type of procedure and the doctor. Post-surgery, patients are restricted to clear liquids like broths and juices for the first 2 days and then full fluids until the 2-week mark. In the following 6 weeks, pureed and soft foods like soups, mashed vegetables, and protein drinks are reintroduced before returning to solid foods at the 8-week mark. If you’re looking for help with your post-obesity surgery diet planning try our Bariatric Skinny Diet plan.
The ongoing, aftercare nutrition plan will also include vitamin and mineral supplements. Patients should follow a high fiber diet with ample amounts of protein and be sure to eat regular small meals of between 300 – 400 calories. In terms of exercise, Patients will need a lot of rest but should try walking as much as possible. Within 4 to 6 weeks after bariatric surgery, patients are often able to return to normal activity and exercise levels.
Due to the decrease in the stomach capacity for holding foods, patients are no longer able to overeat without feeling nauseous. Patients readjust to eating solid foods by learning to eat slowly with small pieces and waiting between bites. Nutritionists often recommend eating three smaller meals and two snacks each day. Fluids should be consumed at non-eating times to avoid feeling premature fullness at meals. Foods higher in sugar and fat should be eliminated while foods rich in proteins along with vegetables and fruits should compose the regular diet. Patients should avoid or be very careful drinking alcohol because it will be absorbed more rapidly. Many patients continue meeting with nutrition consultants regularly to address their individual dietary needs.
Obesity surgery is not guaranteed to work – patients must be committed to making the necessary post- surgery changes to reach their weight loss goals. While the surgery changes stomach size and eating habits, patients will also have to exercise regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For long term success, patients must commit to following their physician’s explicit instructions. Patients are encouraged to exercise regularly, permanently change their eating habits, receive ongoing nutritional and psychological counseling, participate in support groups, and return for regular check-ups. Studies show that patients who comply with their doctors’ advice lose significantly more weight. However, keep in mind that more weight loss does bring about new problems. Patients are often left with large folds of excess skin and pockets of fatty tissue and may elect to have plastic surgery procedures to help reshape their bodies.