After Weight Loss Surgery

You will slowly return to your regular activities. You can return to work in as little as two weeks if your surgery is laparoscopic, you have no complications and your job doesn't require much physical effort.

The post-surgery diet will help you progress from liquids to solid foods. The weight loss surgery diet will be the one you will follow for the rest of your life. You will have to choose nutrient-dense foods, focus on protein and take the vitamin and mineral supplements that your dietitian or surgeon recommends. You will also have to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids between meals, and not with them.

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Support After Weight Loss Surgery

Support is a key part of your success. You may attend support group meetings for months or years after surgery. The meetings let you meet other bariatric surgery patients, learn strategies for successful weight loss and maintenance and stay positive. Support from family and friends is also important in your success.

Online resources, such as the BariatricPal.com forums, have these benefits:

  • Ability to meet thousands of bariatric surgery patients, in contrast to real life, even if you don't know any or many patients in real life
  • Ability to ask your weight loss surgery-related questions on diet, side effects, planning for surgery and anything else about your surgery and get answers from people who have gone through the same thing
  • Available 24/7 so you can get encouragement or help whenever you need it.

All bariatric patients have the right to choose whether to tell others about their surgeries. Some patients are quite open about their surgeries, while many weight loss surgery patients tell only their family, their closest friends and people who are themselves interested in weight loss surgery.

Changes in the First Year

Weight loss usually leads to better health, more energy and greater self-confidence. The very rapid weight loss, however, can cause alopecia, or thinning hair. Selenium and a high-protein diet can help reduce the effects. While losing weight, patients often feel colder than usual because the body is conserving energy instead of using it to generate heat.

Side effects of weight loss surgery may be ongoing, but can often be prevented by following the proper diet. Side effects may include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or esophagitis (higher risk in lap-band patients)
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation
  • Dumping syndrome (highest risk in roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients)
  • Ulcers
  • Cholelithiasis (gallstones) or cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation)
  • Lactose intolerance (especially in roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients)
  • Nutritional deficiency symptoms, such as fatigue from iron-deficiency anemia or dry skin from vitamin A deficiency
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After losing large amounts of weight, many weight loss surgery patients opt for body contouring, or plastic surgery, to remove excess skin to change their body proportions and be more comfortable.