Life after bariatric surgery

At Ocala Health, our bariatric surgeons perform weight loss procedures to help you reach a healthy weight and resolve obesity-related conditions. But even after your bariatric procedure, diet and exercise will be essential to successfully losing excess weight.

To see the best results for life after bariatric surgery, you will need to follow the bariatric surgery diet and guidelines set for you by your weight loss team.

For more information on Ocala Health's bariatric program, call our bariatric program coordinator at (352) 291-6357.

Once you have undergone weight loss surgery, you will have a new set of guidelines for your diet and exercise routines. These guidelines will help lead to the successful loss of excess weight and decrease or elimination of obesity-related conditions.

If your surgery was performed laparoscopically, you can resume normal activity in about two weeks. You likely will be able to return to work full time in one to two weeks, if your job is sedentary.

If you had open surgery, your activity will be limited during the first six weeks after your procedure. You should not lift anything over 5 pounds. You should not push, pull or strain during this time. Depending on the type of work you do, you may feel you are ready to return to work part time after three weeks. An early release to work can be given with lifting restrictions.

Postoperative bariatric surgery visits

Our bariatric team is here to offer you support along your weight loss journey, even following your procedure. Before you leave the hospital, we will schedule your first postoperative appointment, which will be one or two weeks after discharge.

Your first postoperative visit

During this first visit, you will have any abdomen staples removed. You will be given a prescription for your vitamins, minerals and liquid iron. Your food diary will be reviewed to see whether you are consuming enough protein and fluids. We will set your next appointments—one per month for three months. These appointments all us to monitor your diet progression, your weight loss and your health as it relates to your weight loss.

Diet after bariatric surgery

Four to six weeks following your surgery, you will be advised to begin your mechanical soft diet. This diet consists of foods with very soft textures that can be mashed on your plate and are easy to digest. You will also be advised to begin eating three meals a day with milk or other high-protein foods as a snack between meals.

At eight weeks post-surgery, you should be able to eat all foods except those high in sugar. You will continue to eat three meals a day but with no snacking in between.

Your stomach pouch will still only hold 1 ounce of food at a time. The solid foods will pass more slowly than the liquids you have been consuming.

It is important to learn to eat slowly, to stop eating once you feel full and to give time for the foods to be digested before finishing your meal. Continue to keep an occasional food record of what and how much you eat and drink. Our team can use this food record to help with meal planning, as needed.

Exercise after bariatric surgery

Beginning a routine exercise program is highly recommended as part of your long-term weight loss and weight maintenance program. Not only will exercise help raise your basal metabolic rate and help you lose weight fast, it will tone your muscles. Exercise will not cause your skin to shrink back into shape.

As you begin to see weight loss results, you may also start to notice sagging skin. Although some patients' skin will tighten up within a year after their weight loss, most people will develop an abdominal apron and sagging skin on their upper arms, thighs or throat. This can be corrected with plastic surgery.

You will be fully able to begin a moderate exercise program eight weeks after your surgery.

The best form of exercise for you will depend on your physical condition and degree of obesity. Walking, stationary bikes and treadmills are good places to start.

Seeing results after bariatric surgery

After eight weeks, your weight should begin to stabilize. How much weight you lose each month will depend on your height, weight, age, gender and activity levels. Your eating habits will also determine how much weight you will lose.

Finding a good scale to weigh yourself consistently each week is difficult. Feel free to come by the office and weigh yourself. It is best to weigh yourself no more than once a week. For most people, a monthly weigh-in will be adequate.

Many patients try to compare their “success” to others' results. While it is important to create friendships with other bariatric surgery patients for emotional support and advice, you can only measure your success based on how you are doing. Trying to meet or beat others' weight loss schedules will set you up for potential failure, discouragement and despair.