The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. You may hear of other patients who are given different guidelines following their bariatric surgery. Dietary guidelines will be different for each type of procedure. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to your surgeons and dietician’s recommended guidelines.
The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines a bariatric surgery patient may encounter:
- When eating solid food, it is essential that you chew thoroughly. You will not be able to eat chunks of meat if they are not ground of chewed thoroughly.
- Do not drink fluids while eating.
- Omit desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first 3 ingredients.
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods, and foods with high fiber content.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals.
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 bariatric surgery you had. Many patients return to full pre-surgery levels of activity within 6 weeks of their procedure. Patients who have had a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure may be able to return to work within two weeks.
BIRTH CONTROL AND PREGNANCY
It is strongly advised that woman of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after bariatric surgery. The added demand pregnancy places of your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.
LONG TERM FOLLOW UP
Although the short-term effects of bariatric surgery are well understood, there are still questions to be answered about the longer-term effects on nutrition and body systems. Nutritional deficiencies that occur over the course of many years will need to be studied. Over time, you will need periodic checks for anemia (low red blood cell count), Vitamin B12 levels, folate, and iron levels. Follow-up tests will initially be conducted every 3 to 6 months, or as needed, and then every 1 to 2 years. Follow-up care is recommended for life.
The widespread use of support groups has provided bariatric surgery patients and excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. Most learn, for example, that bariatric surgery will not immediately resolve existing emotional issues or heal the years of damage that morbid obesity might have inflicted on their emotional well-being. Bariatric surgeons will tell you that ongoing postsurgical support helps produce the greatest level of success for their patients.