If you’re one of the millions of American men and women living with obesity, bariatric surgery can be life-changing, if not lifesaving. But surgery is only the beginning of your weight loss journey. Maintaining weight loss after bariatric surgery requires significant, lasting lifestyle changes -- changes that might seem overwhelming at first. But help is always available to you at the Bariatric Center of Kansas City.
You Are Not Alone
You may be asking, “Will I be able to do this?” You may even ask, “What can I eat?”
Our team is here to help walk you through this weight loss journey.
The Bariatric Center of Kansas City places a high priority on all aspects of patient care, including post-surgery care. Unlike many other practices where you may not see your practitioner more than once or twice after your bariatric surgery, we offer long-term follow-up. This includes regular visits with your bariatric team, access to our dietitians and clinical psychologists, and social support designed to help you stay on track, such as support groups and social media groups.
When you’re a patient of the Bariatric Center of Kansas City, you can rest assured you’ll receive all the help you need post-surgery to maintain weight loss.
Realistic Goals = Positive Mindset = Long-term Success
Generally, gastric bypass is a good surgery with good outcomes. Most literature reports about an 80 percent success rate, and the complication rate is as low as having gallbladder surgery.
But how you measure success is another issue.
- Never make your goal a number. There is no true “ideal weight.”
- Measure your success by how well you reverse comorbid conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure.
- Celebrate smaller steps that are actually big leaps; moving without pain, crossing your legs or walking a mile.
- Don’t obsess about a slight weight gain. Most people will regain 5 to 10 pounds. Staying focused on the plan will help.
What’s My New Diet Going to Look Like?
The first week after surgery will consist of clear and full liquids only. For example, you will begin with liquids such as broth or sugar free popsicles and advance to milk and protein shakes.
The second week, you will be able to start on pureed foods, such as scrambled eggs, cottage cheese and refried beans.
- You may start having very small bites of soft protein, like fish, tuna or chicken mixed with a little mayonnaise, or a thin slice of deli-style turkey or ham.
- You will focus on eating protein at every meal, with the goal of retaining muscle.
- Once you can eat three ounces of soft protein per meal, you can add a few bites of soft cooked veggies.
- You will gradually add one new item at a time.
- You must chew everything to a baby-food consistency before swallowing.
- You cannot drink 30 minutes prior to eating, during eating, and for 30 minutes after a meal, to aid with the sense of fullness and satisfaction.
Once you complete the 8-week diet progression, you will be able to try most foods. There are some lifelong rules you will need to follow:
- Always eat solid protein first and always consume 60 grams per day.
- The amount of food per meal should be limited to ¾ to 1 cup. Have patience; it will take 6 to 12 months to get to that stage.
- Drink 64 ounces of water a day, in between meals.
- Avoid snacking between meals.
- Carbonated beverages should be avoided, with alcohol limited for life.
A Day in the Life – Is it do-able?
Yes, it is! Although the process is slow and requires patience, you will get there.
You’ll get plenty of food that can taste great. Here’s a sample menu:
- Breakfast: a scrambled egg and 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Lunch: ½ cup tuna salad with a few strawberries
- Dinner: 3 ounces of grilled salmon and ½ c broccoli for dinner
Although you’ll never completely resume the eating of your past, you will be satisfied and attain an immeasurable new quality of life.
Suffering a Setback – What if I Regain the Weight?
The biggest reasons you may regain weight are:
- You start drinking soda pop again.
- You start snacking between meals.
- You begin eating too many simple carbs – bread, cereal, pasta and rice.
- You eat too much high glycemic fruit – melons and grapes, as opposed to berries.
- You consistently eat portions that are too big.
Follow-up Visits with Your Team are Critical
We like to see everyone annually for six years after surgery. That is how we know our patients are maintaining their health.
You need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily to help with weight loss.
Most people report that exercise is much easier after surgery. Research shows that 20 pounds off your waist is like 40 pounds off your knees.
Come to our support groups offered twice a month, where we’ll continue to educate you throughout your journey. We bring in trainers to introduce you to different forms of exercise, such as High Intensity Interval Training, Yoga, Tai Chi, balance and more. We have an on-site gym where you can work with a physical therapist to help you get started.
For more information on bariatric surgery at the Bariatric Center of Kansas City, sign up for a free informational seminar with our surgeons.