Weight loss surgery isn’t a panacea. While it’s well-documented that procedures such as the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy can help people shed large percentages of excess body fat, these operations aren’t a “cure” for obesity. In order to enjoy long-term success, patients who choose this path must be willing to commit to making major and lasting lifestyle changes.
These tips can help those who plan to undergo bariatric surgery count themselves among the 85 percent or so of patients who report lasting success:
• Prepare in advance – This doesn’t just mean following doctor’s pre-surgical advice. It also means understanding exactly what to expect, undergoing counseling and nutritional assistance in advance and generally having a strong grasp on what life will be like after surgery. Patients who are well-prepared are often better able to adjust to the dietary and lifestyle changes that are musts after weight loss surgery.
• Follow nutritional advice closely – Since most weight loss procedures call for a dramatic reduction in stomach holding capacity, diet will matter after surgery. It is important to work closely with a nutritionist to ensure the diet selected is one that packs nutrition into every bite.
• Be sure to get physical – Exercise is a key component in helping weight loss surgery patients obtain and maintain a healthy weight. It is important to seek advice from a doctor on when exercise may start after surgery and what type of exercise is deemed suitable. Keep in mind that as weight comes off and fitness levels improve, more vigorous activity will likely be recommended.
• Take advantage of support – The quest to lose weight and keep it off is one that will continue for years after surgery. Be sure to take advantage of any support system available to stay on track with diet and exercise. Some surgeons even offer online support groups to help their former patients years down the road.
Weight loss surgery can produce tremendous results. People who want to make sure the weight stays off, however, need to be committed to lasting change. For more advice on how to enjoy long-term success after surgery, consult with a licensed bariatric surgeon.