Tips for Success
Age, overall health, and genetics make each person’s progress a little different from others. Don’t compare your progress to another patient (e.g., your weight loss, the amount you eat, or how much you can exercise). With commitment and dedication, you can expect to achieve the same long-term success.
Here are several tips that will help you achieve and maintain your weight loss goals:
1. Protein first every meal
Always eat the protein portion of your meal first. Eating protein helps the body feel full and sends a signal to stop eating. Most people need about 60 grams of protein per day.
2. Drink water: 64 ounces minimum
The importance of water cannot be emphasized enough. In the beginning, it is important to continually sip water all day. Try to get a minimum of 64 oz a day. This is a goal to work towards.
Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. In the beginning, exercise will be difficult, as your energy level will be low. Just keep moving, and this should get better within four to eight weeks. You may begin resistance training four weeks after surgery. Your results will get better and you will be encouraged by how quickly your stamina improves. Walking is a fantastic exercise and is probably the easiest way to get started exercising. Walking also helps prevent serious complications, such as blood clots and pulmonary embolus if you start immediately after surgery.
4. No snacking between meals
The main problem with snacking on snack foods is that they usually contain a lot of sugar and/or carbohydrates. Snacking can actually make you hungrier, and it will slow down or even stop your weight loss. It can also lead to weight gain down the road. You must commit to lifestyle changes in order to make the surgery work for you for the rest of your life.
5. Take your vitamins
It is important that you remember to take your vitamins daily. Your body needs these vitamins since you are not able to take in an adequate amount through your diet. Make it a priority.
6. Avoid simple carbs
Simple carbohydrates are highly processed foods such as white bread, pasta, sugar, and white rice. Simple carbohydrates can elevate blood glucose levels, triggering hunger pangs and cravings. They are usually not well tolerated as they swell when they reach the stomach causing you to feel overly full.
7. Eat mindfully
Do not eat while watching television. Focus on what you are doing when you eat, and stop the moment you feel full. Giving your full attention will help you develop new, healthier habits.
8. Find healthful coping skills
If you needed bariatric surgery, the chances are high that you used food as a coping mechanism. It is time to find new ways to cope, whether it is exercise, reading a book, talking to a friend, or something else that works for you other than eating.
9. Don’t drink your calories
Your caloric intake will be very limited after surgery. Don’t work against your surgery by taking in liquid calories, such as fruit juice, carbonated drinks, sweet tea, etc. that provide no nutrition and slow your weight loss. Make every calorie count by focusing on protein.
10. Avoid sugar
Sugar is the ultimate empty calorie. Sugar will make your blood sugar climb, causes hunger pangs, and provides no nutrients. Avoid sugar and any foods that list sugar in the first three ingredients whenever possible.
11. Don’t drink fluids immediately before, during, or after your meal
It is essential that you reserve the small amount of space you have in your stomach for high-quality, nutrient-rich food. Drinking before and during your meal will fill your stomach with fluid, instead of food, and drinking immediately after you eat can “wash” food out of the stomach, making you feel hungry sooner. Separate food and fluid by at least half an hour.
12. Avoid carbonated drinks
The bubbly nature of carbonated drinks can cause gas and increase the pressure in your stomach which can, in turn, stretch your stomach.
13. Skip alcoholic drinks
Alcohol is full of calories that provide no nutritional value. It can also contribute to stomach ulcers. Weight loss surgery also makes you more sensitive to alcohol than you were before.
14. Chew and chew some more
Chewing your food thoroughly is essential to preventing nausea and vomiting during and after your meal. Large chunks of food can have trouble passing through the digestive tract after surgery, and if it gets stuck along the way, it may cause severe pain until it passes.
15. Avoid pregnancy for the first 24 months after surgery
Your body will be in weight loss mode tor at least one year after your surgery. During that time, supporting you and a baby would be unhealthy for you and a developing fetus. If you are sexually active, use a reliable method of birth control, and consult your surgeon before attempting to become pregnant.
16. Listen to your body
One of your responsibilities after surgery is to learn what being full means and what it feels like. Your goal is not to finish the food on your plate, but to stop when you are satisfied.
17. Surgery won’t fix your life
Remember that surgery is a way to lose weight, but it is not a miracle fix for every problem in your life. Be ready to cope with your issues without food, and be realistic in your expectations of life after surgery.
18. Stay motivated
Having bariatric surgery does not mean that you will be free from cravings or bouts of emotional eating. Remember where you started and keep your weight loss goals a top priority. Do not let yourself fall back into old habits as this could eventually lead to regaining weight.