My Weight Is Over: Expected Weight Loss from Weight Loss Surgery
How much weight can you expect to lose and what long term changes can you expect following your bariatric weight-loss surgery? Read on to learn more about expected weight loss, lifestyle changes, maintaining your weight, the 8 rules of weight loss, expected changes and reconstructive / plastic surgery options.
First and foremost - keep in mind that follow-up is appointments and follow-through behavior are extremely important following 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 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 surgeons.
Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass
Gastric Bypass patients experience rapid weight loss in the first 12-21 months following weight reduction surgery. Studies suggest that patients lose an average of 60 to 80% of excess body weight. After 21 months, the stomach pouch has stretched to hold more food. This stabilizes the weight loss. At this time, is critical to adhere to the low fat, low sugar diet and exercise recommendations to maintain the weight loss.
Laparoscopic Gastric Banding
Lap-Band procedure patients will have progressive weight loss for the first 2-3 years following surgery. The patient can, however, continue to lose excess body weight up to 6 years. Studies show that banding patients lose an average of 50 to 60% of excess body weight.
Research has shown that bariatric surgery patients who exercise 3 or more times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time lose an additional 12% of their excess weight in 6 months compared to their peers who do not exercise as strenuously.
You cannot lose weight without having a healthy lifestyle. Here are some simple things you can do right now to keep yourself, your friends and your family on track:
- Get rid of all the junk food in your house. (No, the kids don't need junk food). Restock your cupboards with healthy snacks your whole family can enjoy.
- Set aside time for fun and outside play.
- Have a daily schedule to ease the chaos and decrease some of the stress in your life. This may mean taking some activities out of your schedule or your kids' activities. Often, we plan to do more than we have time for.
- Cut the time you and your family spend each day watching TV or using the computer. Spend more time doing more active things such as playing outside with the kids or going for a walk.
- Plan your social life with activities that do not include food, such as going out dancing rather than going out to dinner.
Maintaining the Weight
We have been referring to bariatric surgery as a tool to help you lose weight. The goal of the obesity surgery is to allow you to lose weight with the fewest possible restrictions to your diet. It is not automatic, and your behavior after surgery plays a very large part in your outcome. How you use the tool will affect your weight loss.
Gastric bypass works in part by making the stomach much smaller so that you feel full sooner. It also works to curb the appetite because the food goes quickly into the small intestine, and chemical messages are sent to the brain telling the satiety centers that food is present. The surgery will give you a full feeling on a much smaller meal, improve the sense of self-control and help many avoid sugary foods .
The lap-band surgery patient will feel full sooner also because the pouch above the band is smaller than the stomach below it. This, in turn, will restrict the patient from ingesting more food than necessary.
By eating only at mealtime and only until you feel full, your daily food intake will be decreased enough to provide weight loss. The weight loss will vary from week to week and may plateau for days and up to two weeks at a time. If you are at a plateau during the first 6 months post-op that lasts longer than two weeks, please call the office.
Gradually, the rate of weight loss will decrease and your weight will stabilize. Your responsibility is to avoid snacking and grazing (continuous nibbling); and to choose healthy foods, become more active and exercise regularly and nurture the process of recovery from obesity. Participation in group meetings will help you through the surgery process and the years to follow. Also be sure to keep your regular office appointments so that your weight loss can be maximized and your health monitored.
Again, weight loss surgery is a tool, something to help you accomplish your health goals. There will be adjustments that you will need to make. The bariatric surgeons will be glad to guide, support and motivate you. We know that you can do it!
The 8 Rules of Weight Loss
There are eight rules that we have found helpful for weight loss success. All successful patients have these things in common.
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.
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.
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.
Never drink liquids when eating solid foods. Liquids should be avoided for a period of 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after eating meals.
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 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.
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.
- 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!
As you lose weight, you may notice other changes in your body. You may experience increased energy levels and you should be able to sleep better at night. You can anticipate resuming a more normal life soon after recovery. As your weight decreases, more physical activity will be possible. Ongoing exercise will be important for calorie burning, muscle tone, and a sense of well-being.
Long term, you can anticipate doing things you were not able to do before. Traveling, eating in restaurants and other pastimes will be more enjoyable. You may also experience a more positive self-image.
Patients who lose more than 100 pounds may also face another challenge – excess skin. You may notice excess skin folds and wrinkles where the greatest weight loss has occurred. This is especially noticeable on the face, upper arms, chest and abdomen. Reconstructive surgery can correct these issues if needed, but it should be delayed until your weight loss has stabilized for at least one year. We will be glad to discuss this with you and recommend an experienced surgeon.
Bariatric Support Groups & Schedule
If you're in Connecticut bariatric surgery and support is nearby. 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 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 THREE different support groups for you to attend.
- Bariatric Support Group (see the schedule)
- 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 Bariatric Surgery 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 about Weight Loss Surgery in CT: 877-255-7847