A Guide to Your First Year after Bariatric Surgery
By Fernando Garcia on October 19, 2017
Obesity is a serious medical condition that places excess stress on the joints and organs of the body. Although most people understand how dangerous it can be to carry around so much extra weight, it can be difficult to lose significant weight through diet and exercise alone. Those who are obese are often limited in their physical capabilities, making the weight loss journey that much more difficult.
Bariatric surgery alters the size of the stomach and can reroute the digestive system to make it easier for the patient to lose a great amount of weight in a relatively short amount of time. Bariatric surgery can be extremely effective for obese patients who have been unsuccessful in losing weight on their own.
However, it is important that patients are prepared to change their lives in the months following surgery. Here, experienced surgeons Fernando Garcia and David Vazquez offer a guide to your first year after bariatric surgery at our Tijuana, Mexico surgical center.
The Weeks Immediately after Bariatric Surgery
The first several weeks immediately following bariatric surgery will be the most difficult for patients. Along with recovering from a serious surgical procedure, patients will be adjusting to their new diet restrictions. Patients are advised to maintain a liquid diet for the first two weeks after surgery, after which soft, pureed foods can be added to the diet.
It is common to feel worn down or fatigued during this initial stage of recovery, but it is important to get active as soon as possible. Strenuous activities should be avoided, but it is important to walk daily. Patients can start with short walks, but should gradually build up to 30 minutes a day. This is the beginning of a healthier and more active lifestyle.
One to Three Months after Bariatric Surgery
After the first month of recovery, patients can begin eating solid foods again. However, they should keep in mind that the body can only tolerate small amounts of food. Even though patients may still crave larger portions, overeating can result in nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. The body also may not tolerate certain foods. It is best to introduce one food at a time to avoid feeling ill or uncomfortable. Nutrition is also vital. Since less calories and nutrients are taken in, patients will need to supplement with vitamins and minerals. Our doctors will recommend appropriate supplements.
By this point of recovery, incisions should be healed and patients can focus on increasing activity levels. Patients should consider aerobic activities such as swimming or jogging. The key is finding an activity that is enjoyable so that the habit will stick. Many people find that it is helpful to exercise with a friend. We also recommend joining a support group with other bariatric surgery patients, who can provide tips and encouragement as the body continues to change.
Six to Nine Months after Surgery
Following bariatric surgery, it is common to lose a pound or two a week. The average patient will have lost close to 50 pounds at this point. By six to nine months out, most have adjusted to their new diet and learned how to eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid discomfort. Nutrition will remain a concern, so we will check vitamin levels at the six-month post-surgical follow-up appointment to see if any supplement adjustments need to be made.
One Year after Surgery
A year after gastric bypass surgery, many patients are close to their ideal weight. We will schedule another follow-up appointment to ensure that patients are continuing to see expected weight loss results. Once weight loss goals are achieved, it is important to continue to follow nutrition guidelines, as well as to make exercise a regular habit. These healthy practices will ensure the long-term success of bariatric surgery.
If you are obese and weight loss seems out of your reach, it may be time to consider bariatric surgery. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the bariatric techniques offered at Tijuana Bariatrics. Dr. Fernando Garcia and Dr. David Vazquez look forward to helping you achieve your health and weight loss goals.