Lifestyle after weight loss surgery

Lifestyle changes when considering Gastric Bypass weight loss surgery

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a highly-effective tool to assist in the process of long-term weight reduction, leading to a healthier, higher-quality of life. Even so, an individual’s motivation and commitment to making long-term life changes are the elements essential to weight loss success. New eating and exercise habits must be developed for the rest of an individual’s life, benefiting long term health and wellness, while creating noticeable physical and emotional results.

When considering any weight loss or bariatric surgery, it is important to set realistic expectations. The goal of surgery is to assist in the loss of excess weight. While not all excess weight may be lost, a healthy and balanced weight can be achieved, improving or preventing other health-related problems as well as increasing overall wellness and quality of life. Effective and noticeable weight loss results occur steadily and most individuals lose over half of their excess weight in the first year-and-a-half, but this comes only with lifestyle changes. Eating and exercise habits must change following a weight loss procedure. If these habits do not change, weight will not be lost or kept off.

Behavioral changes needed for gastric bypass surgery:
1. Eat a regular breakfast within 90 minutes of getting out of bed each day.
2. Eat three meals per day, 4–6 hours apart. Plan at least thirty minutes for each meal.
3. Eat 55–65 grams of protein each day. At least one half of each meal should be protein.
4. Cut back on high sugar/starch carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, ice cream, and candy.
5. Eliminate the following:

• Snacks, unless you are a diabetic
• Alcohol, which is the consumption of empty calories
• Carbonated beverages, these add unnecessary air to the stomach
• Chewing gum, which stimulates the appetite
• Caffeine, again, empty calories
• Straws to drink beverages, unnecessary air is once more added to the stomach
• Tobacco, which is not good for overall health

6. Chew food excessively before swallowing. If you cannot chew it until it is mush, don’t swallow it!
7. Take small bites.
8. Do not drink liquid 30 minutes before or after meals. Do not drink liquid with meals. Foods such as soup, jello, and ice cream are not to be eaten for meals. Solid foods stay in the stomach longer, increasing the sense of being full.
9. Take a multivitamin daily. This is a program requirement.
10. Exercise each day.
11. Stop eating as soon as that sensation of being full occurs.
12. Remember that each person in unique, what one individual tolerates, another may not.

Exercise also plays an important role in long-term weight loss success and must be a priority. Exercise strengthens the heart and bones, burns calories, increases metabolism, and decreases stress. Thirty minutes of exercise every day is a good guideline to follow. Choose an enjoyable form of exercise. Exercise with a family member or friend to help stay motivated and accountable. Begin slowly with realistic expectations; gradually increasing length of time and level of difficulty.

While physical and lifestyle changes must be made, emotional changes will be a natural product of the physical changes an individual experiences. Emotional support is crucial during this time of change, as it provides the steady ground on which to base, and to continue making, healthy lifestyle changes. Through the process of weight loss, emotional loss may also be experienced; self image will shift; a change in relationships may occur; and while much of this will be good, it will also be stressful.
Support during this time is crucial.

Support Options:
• Attend a Bariatric Support Group both before and after surgery.
• Talk with trusted friends, family members, and health care professionals.
• Talk with others who have undergone weight loss surgery
• Work with a mental health professional, and consider counseling and support groups.

For further information in regard to health guidelines, procedure information, to address procedural-related concerns, or in regard to other related weight loss information, CRMC / MIMIS offers Informational Seminars as an excellent resource.