Lifestyle to Adapt After Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is a difficult disease to treat and is associated with various medical issues. Bariatric surgery offers substantial weight loss as well as resolution of associated medical issues. Patients are expected to adapt to a new lifestyle that involves healthy eating, nutritional supplementation, exercise, avoidance of alcohol and smoking, and regular follow-ups.

It is important to stay hydrated after the surgery. Patients are advised to consume at least 2 lts of liquid or more each day to prevent nausea, kidney-related problems, constipation, and fatigue. In addition to liquids, patients will also need to focus on total protein intake. Usually, patients need to consume 60 to 100 grams of protein per day, depending on surgical procedure and body weight. They should choose high protein foods first to prevent weakness and muscle loss and avoid foods rich in sugar and starch.

Obese people usually have multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies. After surgery, patients will need to be on bariatric-specific vitamin and mineral supplements including multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D, and iron, for life, dose depending on their individual blood reports. Patients who do not take vitamins every day for life can suffer severe and even life-threatening complications. All patients are advised and encouraged to perform suggested exercises to maintain weight loss in the long term. Recovery would be faster if patients start walking frequently, within just a few hours after surgery, which can help patients recover faster. On average, all patients should perform 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Patients planning to undergo bariatric surgery need to quit smoking for the rest of their life. Patients should stop all nicotine-containing products before surgery to prevent lung cancer and to improve the body’s ability to heal from surgery, as continuing nicotine consumption puts patients at risk for heart attack, pneumonia and blood clots immediately after surgery. Alcohol use after bariatric surgery can have serious consequences as it gets absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream after surgery, and patients would have higher levels of alcohol in their system for a longer period.

Regular follow-up after surgery is very important as obesity is a chronic disease and patients may regain weight if not being careful and regularly monitored and counseled. In the first year post surgery patients should follow-up quarterly, and annually thereafter for life.

Always remember, bariatric surgery is a tool which helps patients to lose weight, though for the maintenance adaptation to suggested lifestyle is important for long term success.

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