So, you've had your surgery and reached a level of recovery where you can return home. In the hospital, your diet and daily routine were managed by our bariatric team. Once you’ve been released to go home, the choices are yours to make.
No one is saying that the next steps are easy, but with the level of pre-education and counseling you’ve received from Sarasota Memorial – combined with your own motivation to change – you are well armed to keep your recovery moving in the right direction.
You are making a life-long commitment to change, so here are some key things to keep top-of-mind now, as you get back on your feet – and in the long-term, as you get on with the rest of your life:
Diet and behavior modifications are instrumental to sustaining weight loss after surgery. The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that you must follow for successful weight loss. Because each surgeon may perform the procedure differently, post-surgery dietary guidelines may vary. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to your surgeon's recommended guidelines. Some of the most basic of these include:
- Eat protein first for all meals
- Remember to chew thoroughly when you start eating solid food
- Avoid fluids while eating (drinking fluids makes you feel full before you have consumed enough food)
- Avoid alcohol
- Limit snacking between meals
Omit these food/drink items:
- Carbonated drinks
- High-calorie nutritional supplements
- High-fat foods
- High-fiber foods
- Milk shakes
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. Sarasota Memorial's Bariatric Team is committed to offering long-term nutrition, exercise and emotional support. Nutritional deficiencies that occur over the course of many years are still being studied. Over time, you will need periodic checks for anemia (low red blood cell count) and Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, folate and iron levels. Follow-up tests will initially be conducted every three to six months or as needed, and then every one to two years.
Monthly Bariatric Support Group Meetings
Many successful weight loss surgery patients say that their support network helped them immensely in maintaining their new healthy lifestyle changes. From family and friends to bariatric program support groups, there are many options available for people interested in weight loss surgery.
In addition to surgery, Sarasota Memorial's support groups provide the long-term support needed to help you make a comprehensive lifestyle change. You’ll hear about successes, frustrations, plateaus, and special moments, and have a chance to share your own experiences. You will develop relationships that can contribute to improved physical and emotional health.
General Support Group meets at the Institute For Advanced Medicine in the Classroom on the 1st floor and meets on the 1st Thursday of each month. Gastric Band Support group meets on the 4th Thursday of each month in Suite 211. For more information, call the Comprehensive Bariatric Program at 941-917-4753.