Life After Bariatric Surgery: What Changes Should I Expect?
Posted: November 16, 2022
At Alabama Surgical Associates, we take a comprehensive approach to weight loss. Dr. Doucette and his team are here for you through every step of your journey to better health, including after your weight loss procedure. Here are some tips on navigating life after bariatric surgery.
Benefits of Life After Bariatric Surgery
The benefits of bariatric surgery go beyond just weight loss. Some of the things that our patients talk about the most are their “non-scale victories”—the various ways that your life improves that you may not have even considered at the beginning of your weight loss journey. Benefits of life after weight loss surgery include:
- Improvement of medical problems: The health benefits of bariatric surgery are well-established and clinically proven.1 Our patients are often able to reduce or eliminate medications that they were previously taking for conditions such as high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes.
- More ease navigating the world: After bariatric surgery, patients are able to fit in an airline seat comfortably and do things like ride roller coasters without worry!
- More energy: Patients are amazed by the boost of energy they get after bariatric surgery. Many tell us that they are happy that they can finally keep up with their kids or grandkids!
- Improved confidence: The confidence you get from looking and feeling better can have a positive effect on all aspects of your life, including at work, in your love life, and in your athletic or creative pursuits.
Planning for Long Term Weight Loss Success
People who are considering bariatric surgery often feel afraid of missing out on life after their procedure. On the surface it can seem like so many of our important life events revolve around food and it is normal to worry that you will miss out due to a post-bariatric diet. The key is to remember what is really important in life—connection. You can connect with friends and family members even if you do not have the same thing on your plate! A little pre-planning can go a long way toward maintaining weight loss and living a happy, balanced life. A few tips to put this in action:
- Eat a healthy meal before you go out
- Bring your own healthy snacks or a healthy dish to share
- Suggest active outings, like a hike or a bike ride, instead of just going out to eat
- If you do go out, call ahead to restaurants to ask about low-carb, non-fried options
Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery
Many patients wonder about starting or growing their families after bariatric surgery. The good news is that bariatric surgery can actually improve your fertility.2
Here are a few things to keep in mind about pregnancy after weight loss surgery:
- Dr. Doucette advises waiting at least one full year after bariatric surgery before getting pregnant. The first year after your weight loss procedure is your year to optimize weight loss and focus on your own health!
- If you do get pregnant less than a year after weight loss surgery, your weight loss could be compromised and you will need to work closely with your medical team to maximize your outcome.
- If you do decide to have children in the years after weight loss surgery, focus on staying healthy during pregnancy. Dr. Doucette typically recommends that patients only gain 10 to 15 pounds during pregnancy.
Diet Changes After Weight Loss Surgery
At the beginning of the bariatric weight loss journey, one of the top questions people ask is, “what will I eat after weight loss surgery?” Your diet will vary based on your nutritional needs and your preferences (and our dietitians will help guide you), but there are a few guidelines that all bariatric patients should follow:
- Moderation: It is important that you follow a healthy diet and stick to your goals. This means avoiding sweets and fried foods. In the past moderation may have meant one dessert per day, but after weight loss surgery it will look more like having a piece of cake on your birthday, but not on everyone else’s birthday.
- Little to no alcohol: You will metabolize alcohol differently after weight loss surgery and feel the negative effects of alcohol much faster than you did before. Also, alcohol adds empty calories so it is best to avoid it completely in the first year after surgery.
- Avoid carbonation: After weight loss surgery, you will likely find that carbonated drinks cause physical discomfort. It is best to stick to plain water, which can be dressed up with a slice of fruit or zero calorie sweetener.
We love helping people live healthier lives. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about bariatric surgery or weight loss options.
1 American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Benefits of Bariatric Surgery. Available: https://asmbs.org/patients/benefits-of-weight-loss-surgery Accessed October 12, 2022
2 Dg Marshitah, Pg Baharuddin, Alvin Oliver Payus, et al. Bariatric surgery and its impact on fertility, pregnancy and its outcome: A narrative review, Annals of Medicine and Surgery, Volume 72, 2021, 103038, ISSN 2049-0801.