Life After Weight Loss Surgery
You will likely spend much time preparing, mentally and physically, for weight loss surgery. Once the surgery is complete, it’s time to focus on the steps that will help you be successful in achieving long-term weight loss.
Attend Follow-Up Appointments
It is especially critical to attend all physician appointments for the first year after weight loss surgery. Individuals with gastric-bands should attend monthly appointments for the first six months and then every two months for the remainder of the year. Annual follow-up appointments can be made on an ‘as-needed’ basis. For patients who have the gastric-sleeve procedure, follow-up appointments should be scheduled at three, six, nine, and 12 months, or as recommended by the bariatric surgeon. Individuals who attend these appointments increase their chances of maintaining weight loss.
Take the Appropriate Supplements
The amount of food you consume will change dramatically following your weight loss surgery, but it’s important to make sure that you still receive all the nutrients your body needs. The types of supplements you’ll need will depend on the surgery that you have. The most common vitamin and mineral supplements recommended include a daily multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B12. Your physician may also recommend additional supplements such as folic acid and iron.
It’s important to drink plenty of water and other low calorie drinks between meals so you do not become dehydrated; the goal is to increase your intake to two liters per day. Avoid carbonated drinks as well as those that contain caffeine.
Immediately following your weight loss surgery, you’ll only be able to consume a clear liquid diet. You’ll begin adding thicker liquids after leaving the hospital and then work up to blended foods and liquid-supplement drinks after about two weeks.
Important information and instructions:
- Your stomach will be very small after your surgery and it will only be able to contain very small amounts of food. Take a couple of bites, and allow things to settle for about 10 minutes before you try to eat more.
- Follow the diet provided to you by your bariatric surgeon as you leave the hospital and recover from surgery.
- Eat 300 to 600 calories daily and avoid consuming more than 1,000 calories in a day.
- Record your food and drinks in a diet journal so you can keep track of what you’re eating.
- Eat slowly, taking small bites, and chew your food thoroughly. Eliminate sweets from your diet, and avoid drinks that contain fruit juices and other empty calories.
- Stop eating when you become full, and eat high quality foods that aren’t processed. You should prepare meals that are high in protein and vitamins, and you should avoid eating fibrous foods.
These small steps will help you recover quickly from your procedure and prepare you for the successful weight loss results you hoped for when choosing to have surgery.