Surgery requires major lifestyle changes. To maintain weight loss after surgery, you will still have to exercise and limit food amounts. You will also need to change the types of food that you eat every day. It is important to remember that bariatric surgery is only a tool to support you in achieving lasting weight loss. Healthy eating patterns and regular exercise are the keys to success.
Nutrition For Life
Before surgery, you will meet monthly with the dietitian who will discuss and instruct you on a personal eating program. It is very important that you begin to understand how to balance your diet, maintain good nutrition and eat appropriate serving sizes, in order to be successful with weight loss surgery. We expect you to begin to make these changes during the pre-surgery process.
After surgery, your body will need several weeks to heal, depending on the type of surgery you have. Over time, you will move through five dietary phases: clear liquids, full liquids, puréed foods, soft foods, and eventually, regular foods. After surgery, your stomach will only be able to hold about half a cup (4 oz.) to one cup (8 oz.) of food at one time. Each day, you will eat five to six small meals that are high in protein. You will also need to drink at least 64oz of water a day and take daily vitamins. Good nutrition through balanced meals is the key.
Exercise: Start Small and Be Successful
Developing a personal exercise plan is an important step in preparing for weight loss surgery. During your monthly visits before surgery, the physical therapist will help you identify options for physical activity. The therapist will provide creative ideas to increase physical activity in your daily routine. It is very important to get active and to keep moving to promote weight loss before and after surgery.
This exercise plan should begin well before surgery and should be restarted as soon as possible after surgery. Even a small increase in exercise can improve your flexibility, range of motion and balance, as well as decrease the chance of injury and soreness. Making exercise a part of your daily life is an important way to help control your weight and lower your risk for health problems. Spend less time doing activities that use little energy, like watching TV and playing video games, and spend more time taking part in active recreation interests. Trying to include fun activities that you like into your exercise routine will help you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and will help you be more successful after surgery.
Consider Participating in Studies to Help Others
If you decide to have bariatric surgery, you may be asked to take part in studies that we are doing to help us improve weight loss surgery for adolescents and treatment of obese patients. Of course, your decision to participate in any study is voluntary. You do not have to be part of a study to have weight loss surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
It Can Be a Long Process
Leading up to surgery, a complete work up will be needed. This includes a psychological evaluation, laboratory work, sleep study, cardiology evaluation, bariatric surgery support group, other tests/evaluations/requirements and approval for surgery. After the surgery, patients must have regular visits during the first 12 months after bariatric surgery. In addition, you will continue to be seen at Nationwide Children’s Hospital well after your procedure.