The following identifies areas that will be important for patients to follow after weight loss surgery.
The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. Post-surgery dietary guidelines will vary by surgeon. You may hear of other patients who are given different guidelines following their weight loss surgery. It is important to remember that every surgeon does not perform the exact same weight loss surgery procedure and that the dietary guidelines will be different for each surgeon and each type of procedure. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to your surgeon's recommended guidelines. The following are some of the general guidelines for our bariatric patients. You will progress through different nutritional phases. These phases allow your body time to heal. This progress from liquids to solids also gives you a time to change eating habits.
- Eat slowly (30 minutes to finish a meal).
- Stop drinking fluids thirty minutes before your meals and wait thirty minutes after eating to start drinking. Don't drink fluids while eating. They will make you feel full before your have consumed enough food.
- Stay on your liquid diet for the full three weeks.
- When you start eating solid food it is essential that you chew thoroughly. You will not be able to eat steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
- Limit serving sizes.
- Omit desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients.
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals.
- Keep a food diary.
- Nutritional postoperative classes and counseling are provided for all of our bariatric patients. Classes and counseling are provided by the Memorial Hospital of Tampa Weight Loss Center by a registered dietitian/licensed nutritionist.
Going Back to Work
Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of weight loss surgery you had. Many patients return to full pre-surgery levels of activity within six weeks of their procedure. Patients who have had a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure may be able to return to these activities within a few weeks.
Birth Control & Pregnancy
It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.
Although the short-term effects of weight loss surgery are well understood, there are still questions to be answered about the long-term effects on nutrition and body systems. Nutritional deficiencies that occur over the course of many years will need to be studied. Over time, you will need periodic checks for anemia (low red blood cell count) and Vitamin B12, folate and iron levels. The surgeon will coordinate follow-up tests every three to six months or as needed, and then every year.
The widespread use of support groups has provided weight loss surgery patients an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. Most learn, for example, that weight loss surgery will not immediately resolve existing emotional issues or heal the years of damage that morbid obesity might have inflicted on their emotional well-being.
Memorial Hospital of Tampa Weight Loss Center offers post-operative support groups. The groups will assist you with short term and long-term questions and needs. Our surgeon recommends ongoing post-surgical support to help produce the greatest level of success for their patients. Please call 813-342-1428 for time and location of sessions.