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Life after Bariatric Surgery


Healing time and long-term success after bariatric surgery depend largely on your diet and exercise habits. After bariatric surgery, following your surgeon's fitness and nutrition guidelines will decrease the risk of complications and increase the chance that you will be satisfied with the outcome. Physicians recommend that you also join a weight loss surgery support group to connect with peers who have undergone a bariatric procedure.

Diet after Surgery

With weight loss surgery, there are important considerations to think about before undertaking the procedure. With an awareness of the bariatric diet and exercise changes, you will have realistic expectations and can look forward to the healthy maintenance of your weight loss. Exercise should be part of your post-bariatric surgery routine.

  • Portion Control: After your bariatric surgery, diet and exercise routines are essential for success. These two measures will help keep the weight off. A post- bariatric diet involves both portion control and the avoidance of certain foods. If you deviate from the post- bariatric diet, you risk vomiting, pain, or other side effects. It is very important to follow the bariatric diet after your surgery.
  • Savor Your Food: It is also important to take small bites and to chew food well. Mealtimes should be savored rather than rushed, and you should stop eating when you feel full. The amount of space in the stomach after gastric bypass surgery is small, and if you fill this space with too much food, you will feel sick. In the bariatric diet, liquids are not consumed during mealtimes but are sipped throughout the day, in between meals.
  • Avoid Snacking on Junk Food: Snacking is to be avoided with a bariatric diet; junk food and snacks take up vital space in your stomach that should be relegated to healthy, nutritious mini-meals. Because you are not going to be consuming as many calories as before the surgery, your bariatric diet needs to consist of the most nutritious foods available. You will also take a daily multi-vitamin to ensure that you are receiving important nutrients. The eventual bariatric diet goal is to eat foods that are high in protein, and low in sugar and fat.

Exercise after Surgery

Walking is the ideal exercise for the period shortly after surgery. More intense exercise may be added to the routine in six to eight weeks, but walking and less vigorous but steady exercise should be a long-term goal. Making exercise part of a lifestyle change will help to keep your weight down, and will cause you to feel much better.

  • Exercise Requirements: According to American Heart Association guidelines on physical activity, healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 should get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days of the week.
  • Making Exercise a Part of Your Lifestyle: It is important that bariatric surgery patients adopt an exercise routine after undergoing the procedure. While weight loss surgery is effective in helping patients lose weight in the year after the procedure is performed, it is not enough to help patients maintain a healthy weight. Consider joining a community sports team or your local gym so you can maintain an active lifestyle after weight loss surgery.

Skin Tightening after Surgery

The loose skin that appears after extreme weight loss can be remedied with obesity plastic surgery. Obesity plastic surgery may consist of separate procedures to address particular problem areas-such as a tummy tuck, arm lift, or thigh lift. Many patients decide they want a more all-encompassing solution, and can undergo the obesity plastic surgery procedure known as the body lift.

A full body lift can remove the loose skin that many patients experience after weight loss surgery. A body lift is most often performed on the lower half of the torso and the thighs, addressing the loose skin of the stomach, back, hips, thighs, and buttocks.

A surgeon performing obesity plastic surgery usually begins in the stomach area, removing loose skin and fat and smoothing the contours. Other areas of loose skin that have accumulated after the patient's weight loss are then addressed, resulting in an overall smoother silhouette. The body lift plan incorporates or combines several types of post bariatric surgery techniques:

  • Tummy tuck
  • Breast lift
  • Arm lift
  • Thigh lift

Recovery from body lift surgery takes several weeks, and discomfort can range from moderate to severe. Most patients, however, find that the body lift is the most effective type of obesity plastic surgery for targeting loose skin after weight loss.

Counseling and Support Groups

Bariatric surgery patients have to make a number of lifestyle changes after they undergo treatment. People that have undergone weight loss procedures such as gastric banding and gastric bypass surgery have to watch what they eat and drink after the operation, and they must commit to a regular exercise schedule in order to achieve and maintain a trimmer figure. Many patients find that obesity surgery support groups are helpful in allowing them to share their personal weight loss experiences with others.

  • Local Group Support Groups: Your local bariatric surgeon should offer post-treatment advice and counseling sessions to ensure that patients are educated about the dietary, nutritional, and exercise guidelines they will need to adhere to after surgery. Most surgeons also offer support group meetings to patients that are interested in undergoing treatment and those that have already undergone treatment.
  • Online Support Groups: Online support groups are an alternative to local meetings. Online forums provide more anonymity to patients that are uncomfortable attending support group counseling sessions in person. Online support groups also are more convenient than scheduled meetings, as patients can log on to their preferred websites at any time, right from the comfort of their homes. What's more, many websites allow patients to track their weight loss, diet plan, and exercise schedule online.
  • Individual Counseling: Individual counseling is available to bariatric surgery patients to assist them in dealing with emotional issues, addictions, or other problems that may have led to their extreme weight gain.

Find a Weight Loss Surgeon

With the help of safe, successful, and effective weight loss surgery, many patients lose between 100 and 200 pounds. Consult a bariatric surgeon to find out if you are an appropriate candidate for weight loss surgery.

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