Welcome to our blog post on embracing your new body after weight loss surgery. We understand that many of you have found yourselves trapped in the cycle of losing weight only to regain it, and often more. That's why you have considered starting a journey to a healthier self with weight loss surgery. In this blog post, we will explore what weight loss surgery is, the benefits it can bring, and how you can navigate the post-surgery phase successfully.
What is Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a surgical procedure performed on individuals who are severely overweight or obese and have been unable to lose weight through other means such as diet and exercise. The primary goal of weight loss surgery is to help patients achieve significant weight loss and improve their overall health.
Before undergoing weight loss surgery, you will typically go through a thorough evaluation process. This involves medical examinations, discussions about your health history, and consultations with various healthcare professionals, including surgeons, dietitians, and psychologists. The purpose is to assess your overall health, determine your eligibility for surgery, and prepare you physically and mentally for the procedure.
It's important to note that weight loss surgery is typically reserved for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher (or 35 or higher with obesity-related health conditions) who have failed to lose weight through other methods.
Types of Weight Loss Surgeries
There are several types of weight loss surgeries that you may want to consider:
Gastric Bypass: This procedure involves creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach, which is then connected directly to the small intestine. It reduces the amount of food you can eat and limits the absorption of calories and nutrients.
Sleeve Gastrectomy: In this surgery, a large portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a small sleeve-shaped stomach. It restricts the amount of food you can consume and decreases appetite by reducing the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Adjustable Gastric Band: This surgery involves placing a band around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. The band can be adjusted to control the size of the opening between the pouch and the rest of the stomach, regulating food intake.
Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch: This is a more complex surgery that involves removing a large portion of the stomach and rerouting the small intestine. It limits both the amount of food you can eat and the absorption of calories and nutrients.
Weight loss surgery is a potential long-term solution, but it's crucial to consider the risks, potential side effects, and the commitment required for its success. However, once that commitment is made, you will fall in love with your new body forever as it will be a happier and healthier you!
Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
Let's take a look at some of the benefits you can expect from weight loss surgery:
Significant Weight Loss: Weight loss surgery can result in substantial and sustained weight loss, which can lead to improvements in obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and joint problems.
Improved Overall Health: Beyond weight loss, bariatric surgery can help improve metabolic function, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity. It may also alleviate symptoms of conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Enhanced Quality of Life: Losing excess weight can enhance an individual's overall quality of life by improving self-esteem, body image, and physical mobility. It may also provide a greater ability to engage in social, recreational, and occupational activities.
Remission of Obesity-Related Conditions: Weight loss surgery has been associated with remission or significant improvement in various obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.
Long-Term Weight Maintenance: Compared to non-surgical weight loss methods, bariatric surgery tends to result in more long-term weight loss maintenance. However, ongoing lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, are necessary to sustain the benefits.
While weight loss surgery offers significant benefits, it's important to note that it may also entail risks and potential complications if not properly cared for and guided. These can range from nutritional deficiencies to surgical infections, gallstones, changes in bowel movements, and Dumping Syndrome. It's crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the pros and cons before making a decision.
Navigating the Post-Surgery Phase
If you're feeling overwhelmed weighing the pros and cons of weight loss surgery, we are here to guide you through the post-surgery phase. This phase can be daunting, filled with lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, and regular follow-up appointments, but the outcomes for being persistent in your approach are highly rewarding.
Building Healthy Eating Habits
After weight loss surgery, it's essential to follow a Bariatric Surgery Diet Plan to ensure proper healing and maximize weight loss. The diet plan occurs in phases and includes foods of different textures. Here's an overview of the phases:
Phase 1: Immediately after surgery, you'll start with a clear liquid diet that includes water, broth, sugar-free gelatin, and herbal tea. This phase helps your body adjust to the changes and allows your stomach to heal.
Phase 2: Gradually, you'll progress to a full liquid diet, which includes protein shakes, low-fat dairy products, strained soups, and smoothies. These liquids provide essential nutrients while allowing your stomach to continue healing.
Phase 3: Once you can tolerate liquids well, you'll move on to soft foods that are pureed or mashed. This includes foods like cottage cheese, cooked vegetables, lean ground meat, and soft fruits. The goal is to introduce solid foods in a form that is easily digestible.
Phase 4: Eventually, you'll transition to a regular or modified diet, depending on your surgeon's recommendations. This stage includes introducing solid foods gradually and focusing on lean protein sources, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Portion control and calorie control are crucial at this stage.
It's important to remember that weight loss surgery nutrition is all about a calorie deficit diet and mindful eating. Working closely with a registered dietitian who specializes in bariatric nutrition can provide personalized guidance and support throughout your journey.
Embracing Physical Activity
Physical activity after bariatric surgery helps improve your fitness level, promotes weight loss, and supports muscle maintenance. Follow the recommendations of your surgeon closely, as they are tailored to your individual needs and the type of surgery you underwent.
Begin with low-impact exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time. Incorporate a mix of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your routine. This combination helps improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, and maintain flexibility.
Activities like brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine can improve your cardiovascular fitness. Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If you experience pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, or any unusual symptoms, stop exercising and consult your healthcare team. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
Apart from dedicated exercise sessions, try to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from your destination, or take short walks throughout the day.
Remember, each individual's post-surgery journey is unique. Your healthcare team will provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.
Supplements After Weight Loss Surgery
Gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery can result in changes to your digestive system that can affect nutrient absorption. Always consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian who specializes in bariatric nutrition to determine the specific supplements you should take based on your individual needs.
That being said, some common supplements that are often recommended after weight loss surgery are:
- Multivitamin: A high-quality multivitamin like Multi is typically recommended to help meet your daily nutrient needs, as you may have difficulty obtaining adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals through food alone.
- Calcium: Weight loss surgery can affect calcium absorption, so calcium supplements may be necessary. Calcium citrate is the preferred form as it is better absorbed by the body.
- Protein: The key here is to find an easy-to-digest and very low-calorie diet (VLCD)-friendly option, such as PROTEIN by MNT. This protein supplement provides sustained energy without any added sugars or fat. It is nutrient-rich and of the highest quality, ensuring that you get the essential nutrients your body needs during the recovery process.
Vitamin D: Adequate vitamin D levels are important for bone health and overall well-being. Many individuals who have undergone weight loss surgery may have deficiencies, so supplementation may be necessary.
Iron: Iron deficiencies are common after weight loss surgery, particularly in menstruating women. Iron supplements may be needed to prevent anemia. It is usually recommended to take iron supplements in a different dosage form than regular multivitamins, as they can interfere with each other's absorption.
Vitamin B12: Since the surgery can affect the absorption of vitamin B12, supplementation is often necessary to prevent deficiency.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These essential fatty acids are beneficial for heart health and can also help reduce inflammation. Fish oil supplements are commonly used, but vegetarian alternatives like algae-based omega-3 supplements are available.
Working closely with a healthcare professional will ensure you receive the necessary supplementation based on your specific needs.
Nurturing Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Weight loss surgery is not just about physical changes—it also has a profound impact on our mental and emotional well-being. Cultivating self-love, managing body image concerns, and embracing a positive mindset throughout your journey are of utmost importance. Here are some strategies to consider:
Meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and promote emotional well-being.
Therapy: Consider seeking professional therapy to address any emotional challenges and develop coping strategies. A therapist can provide guidance and support as you navigate the emotional aspects of your weight loss journey.
Support Network: Build a strong support network of friends, family, and fellow weight loss surgery patients. Sharing experiences, challenges, and successes with others who have gone through similar experiences can provide invaluable support.
Remember, your journey is unique, and you are never alone. Make the right choices and follow the right practices to develop a healthy body and positive self-image after weight loss surgery.