My Weight Is Over: After Your Weight Loss Surgery
Congratulations! You're well on your way to a new, healthier you. To help you succeed in your lifelong journey, we've gathered some important information for you to read and download for future reference.
Follow our guidelines below to assure success after bariatric surgery. Please be sure to view and print the Support Group Schedule, read about potential symptoms and download some helpful forms to track your ongoing success Your success is in your hands but we are here to help in every way we can.
Success After Bariatric Surgery: The Patient's Guide
- Make a follow up appointment: Make a post-op appointment to meet with your bariatric surgeon 7-10 days after your surgery. Follow-up is extremely important with bariatric surgery. Lifelong follow-up appointments are expected and need to be scheduled with the office staff. Of course, visits with other specialists are encouraged, should you have any problems. Initially you will have many appointments during the first year, especially if you have had the Lap-Band® procedure. Long-term, your weight loss surgeon will expect to see you once a year. It is probably a good idea to have your annual physical exam scheduled with your primary care physician before your annual surgical appointment. The primary care physician can have testing done which can then be reviewed with you by your bariatric surgeon.
- Avoid anti-inflammatories: Avoid the use of all types of anti-inflammatory medications containing ibuprofen forever (i.e. Advil®, Nuprin®, Haltran®, Midol®, Motrin®, Aleve®, etc.). Contact the surgeon if any of these is absolutely necessary. These medications can cause ulcers and also lead to the Lap-Band® erosion into the stomach.
- Attend a support group: Attend support group meetings and workshops. They will help you stay focused and motivated and help you work through the changes that weight loss brings. Plus, you might just make a few new friends! Click HERE for the support group schedule, or call the Bariatric Coordinator or surgeons' office for dates and location; or with any other questions you may have.
- Take time to heal: Do not lift anything more than 20 lbs. for 2 weeks after surgery.
- Take your vitamins: Gastric Bypass patients should take a multivitamin and 1200 mg of calcium citrate every day. Lap-Band@ patients should take a multivitamin and 1200 mg calcium every day. check with your surgeon regarding B12 vitamins.
- Breath deep: Continue to do your "deep breathing" exercises every hour.
- Manage your pain: Activity often helps to alleviate discomfort. We expect you to feel a little better each day. Use the pain medication that were given to you when discharged from the medical center if needed, and contact the surgeon or PA if you have severe pain.
- Bathe carefully: You may shower upon returning home, but do not bathe in a tub until you see your surgeon at your follow-up appointment.
- Keep your incision sites clean: Gauze-covered bandages at incision sites may be removed 3 days after obesity surgery, but leave the Steri-Strips® in place until they fall off by themselves. Pat your incision sites dry after showering.
- Start moving: Take 6-8 short walks a day, and rest when tired. You may start a moderate exercise program (i.e. walking, riding a bike) as soon as you feel up to it. It is essential that, within the first 6 weeks after surgery, you begin a regular exercise program, like walking, swimming, bike riding or etc. Research indicates that this will increase your overall weight loss by 12% in 6 months.
- Stay hydrated: Consumption of an adequate amount of liquid, preferably water, is crucial. You should consume a minimum of 64 oz. of liquid each day. This can only be done slowly, sipping fluids throughout the day. Gastric bypass patients should never drink more than 2 ounces of liquid quickly. On very hot or humid days, or when exercising, you should drink additional water. This is necessary in order to prevent dehydration. Sip liquids slowly, drinking at least ½ cup every hour between meals to total 64 ounces per day to avoid dehydration.
- Only eat at mealtimes: Between-meal snacking or “grazing” on small amounts of food throughout the day will sabotage your weight loss and result in the inability to lose an adequate amount of weight. Stop eating when feeling full or if feeling any discomfort. Do not snack between meals.
- Cut your food: Always cut food into small nickel size pieces and chew food very well to prevent blockage. If food should stick in your throat, try a teaspoon of Adolph's Meat Tenderizer® dissolved in a glass of warm water, sipped slowly.
- Focus on protein: The primary source of nutrition should be protein. 70 to 75% of all calories consumed should be protein-based (eggs, fish, meat, etc.) Carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, etc.) should make up only 10 to 20%, and fats (butter, cheese, etc.) only 5 to 15% of the calories that you eat. A diet consisting of 600 to 800 calories and 75 grams of protein should be the goal for the first 6 months. Eat three tiny, protein-focused meals per day at regular times, sitting at a table. Eat slowly, savoring your food. Do not eat when feeling rushed or stressed as this may cause gastric upset. Concentrate on eating protein-rich foods such as fish and seafood, cheese, eggs, and poultry. At mealtime, eat protein foods first before any other food.
- Advance your diet to “Stage 2”: (Full Liquids) 7 days after your weight loss surgery, as long as you are feeling well. For further diet or nutritional information call your nutritionist or make an appointment with him/her 6 weeks following WLS.
- Keep liquids and solids separate: Never drink liquids when eating solid foods. Liquids should be avoided for a period of 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after eating meals.
- Minimize alcohol consumption: Decrease intake as it is high in calories, may cause an ulcer, and the effects may be felt much more quickly. You may have a stronger effect from alcohol than you did prior to surgery.
- Stay away from sugar: Avoid foods and liquids which contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Not only will they slow down your weight loss, but they may make you sick! Sugar may cause “dumping syndrome” in patients who have had the gastric bypass procedure. "Dumping”, in short, is when sugars go directly from your stomach pouch into the small intestine causing heart palpitations, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
- Stop when you’re full: You can expect to be fuller sooner. Be sure to stop eating and drinking when you begin to feel full. Listen to your body's signals. Do not think about the food that is left on your plate. Overeating and overfilling your stomach pouch will cause your pouch to stretch and may prevent weight loss success - or worse - cause long term problems and complications.
Bariatric Surgery Support Groups & Schedule
- Weight loss support group meetings are held each month at St. Vincent's Medical Center and on the Westport Campus. These meetings are, by far, one of the most important steps used to help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Although we know we cannot make you attend, we consider these group meetings to be mandatory, and believe you should as well. Please be aware that these support groups are an important part of our Bariatric surgery program for education, support, nutritional, and medical advice and are critical in helping you assure ongoing weight loss and weight management success post surgery.
- Group meetings provide peer support from others who have had bariatric surgery, allow you to learn about the surgery first hand from others, and let you share experiences. You may find it reassuring to hear other's viewpoints on common concerns and to get additional information from the counselor. It is also a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and be with people who share what you are experiencing.
- We also occasionally provide periodic guest speakers to expand your knowledge on obesity surgery related topics.
- We offer many different support groups for you to attend. See the schedule for details.
- Psychological support for patients who have had Bariatric surgery. Mary Ziller, Licensed Care Social Worker will be present as the group leader.
- Stay Fit – Get Well Bariatric Group (see the schedule) Presented by Sarah Collins, Exercise Physiologist. Sarah’s topics will revolve around exercising principles.
- Bariatric Nutritional Group
- Post-operative bariatric nutritional education presented by Nancy Murphy, registered dietician. REGISTRATION IS NECESSARY for this group. Please call or email Nancy at 203-256-0048 or FCLifeStyle@optonline.net.
Research has shown that patients who attend support groups regularly are more successful with their weight loss and mental adjustment than people who do not, especially long term.
Click in to view the current support group schedule, mark your calendar and join us! You will find these meetings helpful in many ways. We look forward to seeing you there.
View our Weight Loss Success Stories and learn more about how St. Vincent's Medical Center can help you achieve your health and wellness goals.
Call us to learn more: 877-255-7847