For patients who have recently undergone bariatric surgery, life post-op can be very overwhelming. Chances are if you’ve had a bariatric procedure, you’ve struggled to lose weight using traditional diet and exercise in the past, so losing weight post-op may seem like mission impossible. But don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged! There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you get the best results from your bariatric surgery!
- Watch what you drink. Whether you had a latte-a-day habit before your surgery, or you’re more of a beer or soda drinker, following your bariatric surgery it’s important that you watch what you drink. Drinks that are high in calories may fill you up, but they won’t give your body the fuel it needs to keep you feeling satisfied for long. Immediately following surgery, it’s very important to avoid alcoholic beverages, as they may interfere negatively with your post-op pain medication. It’s still important to stay hydrated, though, so do make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. It is recommended that patients aim for 64 ounces of sugar-free, caffeine-free liquids a day, and avoid drinking with your meals, so you don’t fill up on water instead of food.
- Move more. You may not be ready to run a marathon just yet, but remember that Lao Tzu quote “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step?” What he’s saying is you have to start somewhere, even if that somewhere is just ten minutes on the treadmill or a walk around the block. As your body heals and you begin to lose weight, you will be able to push yourself further and further, but the sooner you start moving, the easier it will be, and the faster the weight will come off.
- Protein first. You’ve probably already heard it a thousand times, but it bears repeating. Make room for your protein first. Protein builds muscle and keeps your body feeling fuller, longer. Choose vegetables next, and avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates.
- Stop eating when you feel full. Stopping when you feel full can be difficult for some people, especially if they are emotional eaters, but it is very important to learn to do this following your bariatric surgery. This is because following surgery, your stomach will be much smaller than it used to be. Chew your food slowly, so your stomach has time to recognize that you are feeding it. Some surgeons recommend chewing each bite 27 times before swallowing and putting your fork down between each bite. Continuing to eat after you feel full will not only slow your progress, it can cause a lot of discomfort.
- Don’t be discouraged. If you hit your weight loss goals and your body doesn’t quite look the way you’d hoped that is normal. Many patients who undergo bariatric surgery have a lot of loose skin following their weight loss because their skin has had to stretch to accommodate their extra weight in the past. While some skin will shrink along with the rest of your body, excess skin is very normal. The good news is it’s also fixable. Many plastic surgeons specialize in plastic surgery procedures to remove excess skin following weight loss procedures, and some insurance plans may even cover these surgeries if they are deemed medically necessary.
If you have taken the first step on your bariatric surgery journey, congratulations! When you’d like to learn more about excess skin removal following your weight loss, give Dr. Bruce Chau’s office a call at 888-966-9471, and set up a consultation today.