Your Role After Surgery
Although weight loss surgery is the only proven way for severely obese patients to lose weight and keep it off, it is a “tool” not a “magic cure.”
Recognizing and accepting this will enable you to use the surgery to achieve your goals. With sustained weight loss comes unlimited benefits, with the most important being improvement or complete elimination of medical problems related to obesity.
LIFE AFTER SURGERY
In order to achieve these goals you will be required to comply with a rigorous recovery, followed by lifetime changes in behavior. You will follow a two-week liquid diet before surgery. This diet helps to remove fat from the liver, shrinking it and making the surgery easier and safer. After surgery, an additional 2 weeks of full liquids is required, followed by a two-week pureed (blenderized) diet and then a slow progression into 'regular' (high protein, low fat) food.
We think it is important to give some attention to some of the important 'rules' that help make surgery successful. Consider the following: Any food that is liquid when it hits the stomach passes into the intestine easily, which is the reason to avoid liquid calories like soft drinks, juices, Kool-Aid®, sweetened tea, etc. A single 12 oz soft drink a day for 365 days accounts for 17 pounds of fat calories over a year. High calorie foods such as cake, cookies, pie, chips, candy, etc. also need to be avoided permanently. Because the dumping syndrome will sometimes occur after eating sweets, the required elimination of these from the diet is easier to do for most patients.
Weight loss before surgery helps make laparoscopic surgery safer and increases the likelihood that your surgery can be performed laparoscopically. Because of this, we may ask you to lose some weight before surgery; some patients are given a target weight that the surgeon feels will improve the likelihood that their surgery can be performed with a laparoscope. We also ask all patients to completely eliminate sugar and junk food from their diet before surgery.
Other dietary requirements are basic ‘common sense’ eating. With sensible eating and exercise habits (three sensible meals a day with healthy snacks), the weight loss can be easily maintained after surgery. The dietitians are available to counsel you in the office and on the telephone.
EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE
Exercise, though probably difficult for you now, will become part of your daily routine as you lose weight. With weight loss, patients have less joint pain, less shortness of breath, and more endurance.
We encourage all patients to adopt an exercise regimen such as walking, swimming, aerobics, or any other form of physical fitness. This not only increases caloric expenditure, but metabolism as well, thus helping with weight loss and maintenance. We also suggest weight training since building muscle tissue (muscle tissue burns calories 24 hrs/day) increases and helps maintain maximum weight loss.
In addition to changing eating behaviors, we also require lifetime vitamin supplementation, including multivitamin, iron, B12, and calcium citrate plus D. Occasionally, others are required as well. We monitor blood work on a yearly basis to determine appropriate doses of these vitamins.