Weight loss surgery may help you meet your weight loss, health, and lifestyle goals. However, once you’ve undergone a weight loss surgery, you’ll need to learn some new habits to make sure that you lose weight and keep it off.
Weight loss surgery will reduce the size of your stomach so that it will only be able to hold one to two ounces of food. Immediately following the procedure, you will be on a liquid diet for two weeks so that your stomach and digestive tract can heal properly. After that, you will gradually return to a healthy diet.
While you recover, you will eat very small meals that are easy for the stomach to digest. As you progress with your recovery, you will learn exactly how much you can eat. You will feel full for longer and you will be able to control your dietary intake.
The success of your weight loss surgery relies on how well you maintain your body after your surgery. Through proper diet and regular exercise, you can expect to lose two thirds or more of the excess weight you are dealing with right now.
Short-Term Eating Changes
In weight-loss surgery, the stomach is reduced to a small pouch that limits how much food you can eat at one time; the result is that you feel fuller sooner. The pouch starts off very small but can stretch over time:
Time Frame – Food Capacity
After surgery – 1-2 tablespoons
6 months – 1 cup
Long term – 1 to 1.5 cups
Even at its larger capacity, however, the pouch is still much smaller than the stomach was before surgery, helping you feel satisfied with much less food.
Eating for Long-Term Success
Bariatric surgery doesn’t ensure long-term success. It can be a tremendous support in helping you—but ultimately, you must commit to eating healthier for the rest of your life.
To maximize your weight loss after surgery and keep it off, you should expect to follow these guidelines:
- Eat only three small meals a day. Do not snack between meals
- Stop eating and drinking when you feel full
- Take daily supplements: a multivitamin, vitamin B12, and calcium
- Make protein-rich foods (eggs, cheese, fish, poultry) the main part of your diet
- Avoid very sweet, high-sugar foods. These can lead to heart palpitations, abdominal pain, diarrhea
- Drink small amounts of liquid, preferably water, throughout the day
- Minimize alcohol intake
Type 2 Diabetes Management
Any amount of weight loss after surgery will help with your type 2 diabetes management. For some patients, their diabetes completely resolves after losing weight from bariatric surgery.
*Note that the results and guidelines on this page pertain specifically to gastric bypass surgery; results for gastric band and other procedures may differ.
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