Bariatric surgery is an excellent weapon in the fight against obesity but it is not, unfortunately, a quick fix. Surgery alone does not guarantee success, and surgery candidates who fail to make lifestyle changes are at risk for losing weight after surgery only to gain it back later.
When possible, it is best to implement and commit to lifestyle changes before your weight loss surgery so that you are not trying to learn new habits afterwards while focusing on recovery. Any improvement you make before your surgery also makes you healthier and your body better able to endure and recover quickly from the surgical process.
Try implementing these four lifestyle changes before your surgery to improve your odds of long-term weight loss success.
1. Take vitamins and mineral supplements
Your stomach will be smaller after your surgery and able to hold less food. As a result, you may not absorb enough vitamins and minerals during the digestive process. To combat this, take a multivitamin that contains iron, folic acid, copper, zinc and selenium every day. Supplement your intake of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 as well.
2. Drink 8 cups of liquid every day, preferably water
Not all of this liquid has to be water, but avoid high-calorie drinks, those that contain a lot of sugar and carbonated beverages. Try not to drink while you are eating. After surgery, liquid in your stomach may make you feel full even if you haven’t taken in enough food. Liquids consumed alongside food also contribute to dumping syndrome, which is even less pleasant than it sounds.
3. Eat more foods rich in protein like eggs, chicken and fish
Try eating several small meals throughout the day rather than two or three larger meals. You will need to eat this way after surgery as your stomach will hold only about one cup of food at a time. There are plenty of diet options out there for Bariatric patients, or you can check out a few weight loss recipes online and create your meals at home!
4. Exercise 30 to 45 minutes a day
If this is too much for you, simply start by going as long as you can – some exercise is better than no exercise. You can add time to your workout as your stamina builds. Participate in cardio or aerobic exercises three to five times during the week. Work on strength training the other days as this will build muscle and helps maintain weight loss.
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