Article by: Kimberly Hembree
Once you have weight loss surgery, you must do certain things to stay on top of your new lifestyle. It is not as simple as just having the surgery and calling it a day. There are steps you must take to ensure you stay healthy after the procedure. Your body will be completely different after bariatric surgery and the way that you process food is different. Nutritional deficiencies are the biggest concern after bariatric surgery because you are only eating such a limited amount of food. As a bariatric patient, I have learned over the last 7.5 years things that help me stay on track. One thing I added into my lifestyle after surgery that I am so thankful I did was getting regular bloodwork.
More than likely, your surgeon will order bloodwork for you every few months after surgery to make sure you are not getting deficient in key vitamins and minerals after surgery. This is an important step after weight loss surgery and one that you need to make sure you are staying on top of. Since you are now at high risk of developing deficiencies, you must take responsibility to make sure you are staying healthy. Some of the deficiencies to look out for after surgery include: vitamin D, B, calcium and iron to name a few. It can be extremely dangerous if you start to get deficient, so staying on top of this after surgery is key towards your success. There will come a time when your surgeon might not order it as often, but I encourage you to stay closely monitored by your primary physician as well and get lab work done as often as possible.
Not all lab work has to be negative. During my journey, it was really interesting for me to compare my lab work to see the progress I was making on a lot of things. I was able to see my cholesterol and blood sugar go down, which was extremely motivating. This is one of the many non-scale victories that is worth celebrating. We focus so much on the scale, but through time I realized that my lab work spoke so much louder than any scale. I know getting your bloodwork done every now and then does not sound very appealing, especially if you are not a fan of needles, but I think it is one of the most rewarding ways you can see your progress on this journey. It takes away the physical focus we have and truly looks at what our health is and it is such an exciting feeling when you see improvements.
Another thing I really enjoyed watching was the changes in my bloodwork when I started making positive changes after surgery. For example, early on my bloodwork showed that I was getting deficient in vitamin D. Once this was discovered, I made a huge effort to start getting regular with my vitamins and finding ways to get more vitamin D. I was able to physically see the progress I was making with it and it made me feel really good about taking the initiative to fix my deficiencies. I encourage you to take note of this on your journey so you can see if the way you are eating and the vitamins you are choosing are making a difference.
Weight loss surgery comes with many new changes and it is important to hold yourself accountable for the things you can control on this journey. There will be some side effects that you simply cannot do much about. However, so much of this journey relies on the work you put into it. Make sure you take the time to educate yourself on deficiencies and do your best to stay on top of your bloodwork. Lab work can be extremely motivating on a bariatric journey, especially on the days when you might not be seeing the changes as much. After all, we did this for our health and it is so important that you take the time to recognize how much you have improved.