Without question, bariatric surgery is a valuable tool for losing weight and reducing health risks. Success stories proving the effectiveness of weight loss surgery are not difficult to find. However, bariatric surgery is a tool that requires the patient to follow protocols to maintain weight loss. In other words, the surgery is only the first step to reducing weight. Maintaining weight loss after bariatric surgery relies on important factors such as diet and exercise.
Lifestyle Changes That Come With Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery can truly change your life, but certain lifestyle changes are vital as part of bariatric surgery aftercare. Aftercare with weight loss surgery is needed long-term to help patients receive all the necessary support to achieve weight loss and maintain the results. The biggest lifestyle changes will include your diet and your activity levels.
The first weeks after surgery will involve following a liquids-only diet at first, transitioning to puréed or soft foods, and then gradually adding regular food. The long-term diet post-surgery is a high-protein-based plan that consists of eating smaller, more frequent meals. Each individual can have different dietary guidelines depending on the type of weight loss surgery.
A good rule of thumb is to strive to be more active after bariatric surgery. Try to achieve at least 45 minutes of daily moderate activity to support weight loss.
Set Realistic Goals and Adjust Your Mindset
One of the most important things to do to maintain weight loss after bariatric surgery is to keep your goals realistic and make sure your mindset is in the right place. Recognizing obesity as a chronic, complex medical condition that can require a multifaceted approach is the first step.
Next, make sure you have realistic weight loss goals. You can inadvertently set yourself up for failure by expecting too much too soon. Remember, reaching your goal is a journey, not a race.
Other tips that can help with maintaining weight loss after bariatric surgery include:
- Work with the bariatric care provider to keep your weight loss goals in check.
- Be diligent about your nutrition plan.
- Avoid snacks between meals.
- Seek support from friends, family, a support group or even a therapist.
- Don’t panic if you gain a few pounds; 5- to 10-pound fluctuations may occur.
How to Handle Setbacks
Weight regain happens to some bariatric patients, so there is no reason to feel like you’ve failed. A few common reasons for weight gain after weight loss surgery include:
- Consuming sugary drinks
- Eating high-glycemic foods
- Neglecting portion size control
- Snacking between meals
- Eating a high number of simple carbs
- Not getting in 45 minutes of activity every day
A few small missteps could lead to gaining a bit of weight. Get in touch with your care provider right away to discuss why this could be happening. Oftentimes, making a few adjustments will get you back on the right track. However, the longer you overlook an obvious issue, the more weight you could gain.