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Making Bariatric Surgery Work for You
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Making Bariatric Surgery Work for You

After bariatric surgery, success is in your hands. The changes you make need to be lifelong commitments. Follow any instructions you are given on nutrition and activity. Be aware that how you see yourself and how others see you may change. Turn to those close to you for support. They can help you adjust to your new life.

Woman holding up very large pants.

What to Expect As You Lose Weight

Most likely, you will lose weight steadily each month after surgery. The most rapid weight loss often happens during the first 6 months after surgery. Most patients lose over half their excess weight in the first year and a half. After that, you may gain a small amount of weight back. This is normal. Most likely, you won't reach your ideal weight. But you'll reach a healthier weight.

Changing Your Eating Habits

To stay healthy, you may be given guidelines such as:

  • Choose high-protein foods to help prevent nutritional problems.

  • Eat slowly. Take small bites. Chew each bite well before swallowing it.

  • Stop eating as soon as you feel full.

  • Do not snack between scheduled meals.

  • Drink sugar-free liquids, such as water. Drink them between (not with) meals. Wait 1 hour after meals before drinking liquids.

  • Take vitamins as directed.

  • Avoid fibrous foods, such as celery, string beans, and unprocessed meat.

  • Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks.

Having an Active Lifestyle

These tips can help you succeed:

  • Choose a form of exercise you enjoy.

  • Exercise at your own pace.

  • Ask a friend to join you.

  • Keep a record of your exercise activity in a calendar or notebook. Some people find this a good way to track their progress and stay motivated.

Finding Support

You might talk to:

  • Friends and family members.

  • Other bariatric surgery patients. Often they know just what you're going through. You may find other patients through a support group at your bariatric surgery program. Or there may be a group in your local community.

  • A mental health professional. If you spoke before surgery, you might seek him or her out again. Special counseling or classes may be suggested.

Resources

  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

    www.asmbs.org

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Obesity Education Initiative

    301-592-8573

    www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt

Click here to hear about a recent bariatric surgery success story!