Recovery takes effort. The diet is strict. Your body is trying to heal. Your weight is beginning to adjust. The recovery stage of the process becomes easier once you start to see positive changes. The timing varies by patient. Some patients begin to lose pounds within days of their surgery. For others, a couple of months go by before they see noticeable weight loss. With courage and a circle of support, you will make it through recovery and start to do things like never before.
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Although the steps for recovery are different for everyone, here are some common examples:
Bariatric patients may hear the following, but again, following your doctor’s specific orders is always best:
It's normal not to have an appetite for the first four to six months after bariatric surgery. Continue to drink liquids, and contact your bariatric surgeon or primary care physician if you are having trouble eating two to three meals a day.
Most pills or capsules are small enough to pass through the new stomach pouch. At first, your doctor may suggest that medications be taken in crushed or liquid form. As a general rule, ask your surgeon before taking whole pills/capsules if they are bigger than a small peanut. Some liquid medications (sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol) may cause dumping syndrome because of their excessive alcohol sugar content.
Most bariatric surgeons recommend a period of four weeks or more without solid foods after bariatric surgery. A liquid diet, followed by semisolid foods, may be recommended for a period of time until necessary healing has occurred. Your surgeon will provide you with specific dietary guidelines.
Snacking usually involves high-calorie and high-fat foods. This can add hundreds of calories a day to your diet, possibly slowing your weight loss or even leading to weight gain. Snacking and uncontrolled eating may lead to less success with long-term weight loss.
Best choices include eggs, low-fat cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, tofu, fish, other seafood, chicken (dark meat), turkey (dark meat), lean ground beef, canned low-fat meats (tuna or canned white chicken), and thinly sliced deli meats.
Most experts suggest 30 to 65 grams of protein a day. Check with your surgeon to find the right amount for your type of surgery. Too much protein is not beneficial, as it is used as a calorie source instead of protein for the body. Not having enough protein will result in fatigue. Without protein supplements, the average protein intake is 20 to 30 grams a day from regular food alone. Some programs recommend protein supplements, while other programs do not.
Most patients are able to enjoy spicy foods after the first six months following surgery.
Surgeons provide patients with materials that clearly will describe a suggested diet and dietary expectations. After surgery, health and weight loss depend on following these guidelines. You must do your part by limiting high-calorie foods, avoiding sugar, snacks, and fats, and strictly following the diet set by your surgeon.