Life After Weight Loss Surgery

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Beginning the Rest of Your Life

Life After Bariatric Surgery

A Giant Step Forward, A Ways to Go

Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix. It’s an ongoing journey toward weight loss through lifestyle changes. After surgery, the difference in your body makes it physically easier to adjust your eating and lifestyle habits. Fortunately, you will not have to go through the process alone. Your team at Blossom Bariatrics will be there to support your efforts. Positive changes in your body, your weight, and your health will occur, but you will need to be client through the recovery process.

Following surgery, your body will give you signals to stop eating before you take in extra calories that would become excess body weight. It’s what you do with these signals that counts. When you take on new habits and truly stick to them, you can achieve lasting weight loss without experiencing dangerous weight loss/weight gain cycles. At least two-thirds of clients who have bariatric surgery are able to keep off at least 50% of their excess weight for 10 years or longer.*

Post Surgery Diet

The changes made to your gastrointestinal tract will require life long changes in your eating habits that must be followed for successful weight loss. Post surgery dietary guidelines will vary by bariatric surgeon. You may hear about post surgery guidelines different from the ones you receive. It is important to remember that these guidelines will be different depending on the surgeon and type of procedure. What is most important is that you follow your surgeon’s guidelines. The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines that successful clients follow:

  • When you start eating solid food, it is important to chew your food thoroughly and eat very slowly. It is important to wait two to three minutes after swallowing before putting the next bite of food in your mouth. You will not be able to digest steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
  • Don’t drink fluids while eating. They will make you full before you have eaten enough food. Fluids consumed with meals can cause vomiting and dumping syndrome, and can lead to feeling hungry sooner after a meal.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, foods high in fat, and foods that have no nutritional value.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit snacking between meals.
  • Don’t eat desserts and other items with sugar if they have more than 3 to 5 grams per serving size.

How Much and How Often Will I Eat?

Most of our weight loss surgery clients are instructed to eat ¼ cup or 2 ounces of food. As time goes on, you can eat more. Most people can eat approximately 1 cup of food after a year or more post surgery. The secret is to eat slowly and chew all bites at least 20 times.*

What Happens If I Don’t Follow the Dietary Guidelines?

The guidelines are designed to improve the chance of long-term success in weight loss. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you may not lose or maintain the loss of the estimated 2/3rds of excess weight. You may experience complications such as vomiting, diarrhea or malnutrition after surgery.*

What is dumping syndrome?

Eating simple sugars (such as sugar, honey, and corn syrup), high-fat foods, or other small-particle foods can cause dumping syndrome in clients who have had bariatric surgery. This occurs when these products are “dumped” from the stomach into the intestine at a rapid rate. Water is then pulled into the intestine from the bloodstream to dilute the sugar load. This flush of water causes symptoms that can include diarrhea, rapid heart rate, hot flashes or sweating, clammy skin, dizziness, or feeling a need to lie down. Some individuals experience some or all of these symptoms after eating more than 3 to 5 grams of sugar, alcohol sugar, or greasy foods, while others tolerate greater amounts.

Though the symptoms are unpleasant, dumping syndrome can be a helpful condition. Some clients will avoid sugar because of the very unpleasant symptoms it can cause. Dumping syndrome generally occurs 10 to 30 minutes after eating, and the symptoms can last for 30 minutes to two hours.

The best treatment is prevention by avoiding foods that cause dumping syndrome. If you have dumping syndrome, lie down for a short while to lessen the symptoms. Dumping syndrome is a positive side effect of surgery; it helps you learn to eat healthy!*

Importance of Exercise

When you have bariatric surgery, you lose weight as the amount of food energy (calories) you can eat becomes much less than your body needs. Your body has to make up the difference by burning unused fat or muscle tissue. Your body will tend to burn any unused muscle before it begins to burn the fat it has saved up. Without daily exercise, your body will burn unused muscle. Daily aerobic exercise for 20 minutes will engage your muscles and force your body to burn fat instead.*

How Much Exercise?

Exercise is an important part of success after surgery. Exercise actually begins on the day of bariatric surgery – the client must be out of bed and walking. The goal is to walk further every day after that, including the first few weeks at home. You may be encouraged to begin exercising – limited only by discomfort – after surgery. The type of exercise depends on your overall condition. Some clients who have severe knee problems can’t walk well, but may be able to swim or bicycle. Many clients begin with low-stress forms of exercise and move on to more demanding activity when they are able.*

Lots of Water

When you are losing weight, there are many waste products to eliminate, mostly in the urine. Some of these substances tend to form crystals which can cause kidney stones. A high water intake protects you and helps your body rid itself of waste efficiently, promoting better weight loss. Water also fills your stomach and helps create a feeling of fullness. If you feel a desire to eat between meals, it may be because you did not drink enough water in the hour before.*

Optional: Post-Bariatric Body Contouring

After losing a large amount of weight, many bariatric surgery clients desire to further enhance their appearance by undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures. Many of them meet with the leading Las Vegas plastic surgeons to discuss various body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck, liposuction, breast lift and breast augmentation. In addition, some clients desire to refresh their facial appearance by obtaining a bright, radiant smile. They often schedule appointments at the cosmetic dentistry Las Vegas offices of the city’s foremost cosmetic dentists in order to explore their smile makeover options.*

*Individual results may vary

Blossom Bariatrics in Las Vegas, Nevada, is home to nationally renowned, board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeon, Dr. Tom Umbach. With more than 15 years of specialized experience in gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and lap band surgery, Dr. Umbach has been named one of the “Nation’s Leading Bariatric Surgeons” and “Best Healthcare Consultants.” Together with his compassionate staff, Dr. Umbach attracts clients worldwide with unparalleled pre- and post-operative support, unmatched pricing, a convenient location and world-class expertise.

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