Many Americans turn to weight-loss treatments to avoid the crippling effects of obesity. One of the best ways to help an obese person lose weight and prevent life-threatening problems such as heart disease and diabetes is to undergo bariatric surgery or gastric bypass.
Bariatric surgery is recommended for people who have a body mass index or BMI of 40 or higher, which is classified as extreme obesity. However, this procedure has side effects and risks like any other surgery. So, how do you can keep on track after bariatric surgery? Continue reading below to find out more.
Bariatric surgery procedure involves reducing the stomach size by removing a portion using a gastric band, or rerouting or resecting the small intestine to the stomach. After the procedure, it is crucial to make permanent lifestyle changes, get regular exercise, and watch your diet to ensure long-term success.
Expect lifestyle changes after bariatric surgery, and online community groups, like VSG Community, can help you smoothly accept and transition to these changes. During the first three to six months after the weight-loss surgery, your body reacts to rapid weight loss as manifested by feeling tired, experiencing body aches, dry skin, and mood changes.
Here are some tips when changing your lifestyle to reduce these unpleasant physical reactions:
- Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages because alcohol is absorbed more quickly into your system than before. It has mood-altering and sedative effects, which are more difficult to control.
- Keep your skin moisturized at all times by keeping yourself hydrated. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
- Apply moisturizing lotion to extremely dry skin areas. Keep your skin protected by staying away from direct sunlight.
- Avoid engaging in strenuous activities during the first couple of months because your body is adapting to the new size of your stomach. This is to avoid dizziness, fainting, and extreme fatigue.
- Stop smoking to avoid the increased formation of blood clots. After bariatric surgery, there’s an increased chance of blood clot formation in the legs that may travel to the lungs, which is fatal.
Diet and Nutrition Changes
Bariatric surgery is also suitable for those who are obese (BMI of 35 to 39.9) with weight-related severe health problems, such as high blood pressure, severe sleep apnea, or type 2 diabetes. It is even recommended for those who have a BMI between 30 and 34 because of serious weight-related health problems.
How does bariatric surgery affect your diet? You need to follow your doctor’s recommended dietary guidelines after the procedure. The goal is to eat a balanced diet and limit the number of calories to help preserve muscle tissue and prevent nutrient deficiencies. Talking to a dietitian or nutritionist about changes in your diet after the surgery is a good idea.
Here are the general dietary guidelines after undergoing a gastric bypass:
- Eat balanced meals in small servings.
- Avoid sugar and sugar-containing foods and beverages, like fruit juices and concentrated sweets.
- Keep a daily record of your protein and calorie intake, as well as food portions.
- Don’t use straws, chew ice, or drink carbonated beverages because all of these can introduce air into your stomach pouch, causing discomfort.
- Avoid bread, rice, fresh fruits, and raw vegetables, as well as pork and steak or meats that aren’t easily chewed. Ground meats are better tolerated.
- Eat foods rich in protein (minimum of 65 to 75 grams) to preserve muscle tissue. Eggs, fish, tuna, meats, poultry, cottage cheese, yogurt, soy milk, tofu, and other milk products are rich in protein.
Exercise After Weight-Loss Surgery
Exercise plays a vital role in helping patients achieve long-term success. You can lose weight, maintain your desired weight, and live a healthy lifestyle after the surgery by performing recommended exercises.
Talk to fitness professionals and your bariatric surgeon to develop a suitable fitness program that can address your unique needs and to achieve your weight-loss goals and live a healthy, active lifestyle.
Here are the general exercise and activity guidelines for bariatric patients:
- You should start walking for 20 to 30 minutes every day as soon as you get home after the surgery.
- The best types of activities for bariatric patients are low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and cycling. Also, aerobics classes, yoga, jogging, dancing, and light weights are allowed after bariatric surgery.
- You’ll be given an exercise plan that gradually starts with low to moderate impact exercise, like 10 minutes a day, and the amount of exercise is slowly increased. The activities should be intense enough to get your heartbeat faster, leaving you feeling out of breath.
After bariatric surgery, you might be overwhelmed with the major changes in your lifestyle, diet and nutrition, exercise, and other aspects of your life. But you can keep yourself on track after the procedure and transition smoothly by following the tips and guidelines mentioned above.