After Bariatric Surgery
You had your procedure. You stayed in the hospital, and now you're home. What comes next?
After your surgery, you'll be restricted to liquids for a few days as your digestive system heals. Following the liquid diet phase, you can start eating pureed foods, then soft foods, until your stomach can handle regular, solid foods. We will discuss diet-related expectations with you in greater detail. Hence, you understand what you can and cannot eat during the days and weeks after your surgery.
- Your stomach is significantly smaller and now holds a maximum of 2 oz (gastric-bypass) or 10 oz (gastric sleeve)
- Hunger and fullness signals may be different from those you had before surgery.
- It can take 6-9 months for stomach emptying to stabilize and allow more food to be eaten.
For 8 weeks post-surgery, you will follow a strict diet to maintain adequate nutrition and avoid complications. Your diet will progress from a liquid diet to a regular diet, each stage being introduced at specific times.
This meal progression is designed to allow your body to heal appropriately, prevent complications and nutrient deficiencies, help achieve maximum weight loss, and allow yourself to become accustomed to your new lifestyle.
You will have NO SOLID FOODS for 4 weeks following your surgery. After that, solids will be introduced slowly to identify any foods that may cause discomfort. It is essential to pay attention to your fullness cues while eating.
Overeating can cause significant reflux symptoms, nausea and hinder weight loss efforts.
To avoid becoming dehydrated, you need to keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
We may also recommend taking nutritional supplements, especially if you had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Your body will absorb fewer nutrients due to the rerouting of the small intestine, and your stomach pouch will be significantly smaller than before. Therefore, nutritional supplements are essential to helping you stay healthy and preventing malnutrition.
You will need to make some significant lifestyle changes to be successful now that you've had weight loss surgery.
Our doctors will also work with you to develop a long-term diet and exercise plan. Diet and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid weight regain following bariatric surgery. Exercise and weight training may also help you tighten loose skin if you lose a large amount of weight quickly after your procedure.
- Stage 1: A sugar-free, low-fat, full-liquid diet. It starts upon discharge and lasts for 2 weeks until your first follow-up doctor visit.
- Stage 2: Puree Diet starts on day 16 post-surgery and lasts for 2 weeks.
- Stage 3: Soft Diet starts on day 30 and lasts for 4 weeks.
- Stage 4: Regular Diet starts about 8-16 weeks after surgery; you can re-introduce certain foods back into your diet.
Physical Activity after Surgery
Being active after surgery will help you achieve and maintain weight loss, improve sleep, boost your metabolism, improve and maintain heart health, promote bone strength, and improve skin elasticity. If you were not physically active before surgery, we recommend you start slowly and focus on activities you enjoy.
When a person goes through significant lifestyle and body changes, significant changes occur in how they think about themselves and others. Some patients gain confidence as they successfully manage their weight, while others struggle with continuing to see themselves affected by obesity.
Relationships may change. Strong relationships can become stronger, and weak relationships can fracture and suffer. Some may support and cheer you on, while others may be less supportive.
For these reasons, access to an experienced mental health professional can be a vital part of postoperative recovery.