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Your Role After Bariatric Surgery

Commit to Success

To achieve successful, healthy weight loss with bariatric surgery, you’ll need to:

  • Commit to an active, healthy lifestyle. 
  • Discuss your health history openly and honestly with your surgeon. 
  • Discuss any questions or concerns you have with your surgeon and/or other members of the Bariatric Team. Learn all you can about surgery before making a decision. 
  • Make appropriate food choices and follow recommended eating habits for life. 
  • Comply with nutritional, vitamin, and mineral supplements as recommended by your healthcare providers. 
  • Incorporate physical activity and exercise into your routine. Exercise not only helps you lose and maintain weight loss—it also benefits your general health and well-being. 
  • Follow up with your physician as directed. 

Dietary Changes

Your diet following bariatric surgery will progress through stages, from liquids to small meals. Simple vitamin and mineral supplements will be required on a daily basis. 

Exercise

In order to maximize and maintain weight loss before and after surgery, it’s essential to incorporate physical activity into your daily life. A routine exercise program is a key factor to long-term success. 

It’s beneficial to start exercising before you have surgery to optimize your health. If you haven’t exercised recently or have physical challenges, it may be very useful to have a personal trainer assist you in developing an exercise plan specific to your abilities and your individual preferences. 

Strenuous activity will be restricted for the first few weeks after surgery, but frequent short walks will be encouraged. Gradually increase the distance you walk. If you have problems with your weight-bearing joints, water exercise may be very beneficial and will be allowed a few weeks after surgery. 

Patients who begin routine exercise soon after surgery find it very rewarding. As your weight rapidly disappears, your ability to exercise improves dramatically, with significant improvements on a week-by-week basis. Do not cheat your body of this important aspect of weight loss. Make a long-term commitment to daily physical activity and exercise.

When the body is in rapid weight-loss mode during decreased calorie intake, it will burn muscle as well as fat for energy. However, regular exercise will protect your muscle and direct your body to burn the excess fat instead of muscle.

Three Types of Exercise

  • Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise uses large muscles for long periods of time. Walking, running, swimming, and dancing are all examples of aerobic exercise.
  • Strengthening exercises make your muscles and bones stronger and increase your metabolism. Muscles use more calories for energy, even at rest. Examples of strengthening exercises are using Thera-bands®, lifting free weights, or utilizing specific gym equipment. 
  • Stretching exercises can prevent muscle and joint problems, and include gentle, holding stretches of the major muscles in your body. 

Exercise as a Lifestyle

Exercise that is consistent is the most effective. Here are tips that may help you stick to your program:

  • Make exercise fun! 
  • Commit to the need to exercise. 
  • Join a gym or exercise class. 
  • Keep it interesting. 
  • Find a buddy. 
  • Listen to music that keeps you going. 
  • Participate in sporting groups. 
  • Schedule your workout. 
  • Maintain a workout record. 

Along with losing weight, exercise provides many benefits, including improvements in your blood pressure, blood sugar, mood, bone strength, and sleep. Exercise will be a key component in achieving your goals and feeling healthy after your bariatric surgery. Good luck, and enjoy your exercise!