The modifications made to your gastrointestinal system will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. Post surgery dietary guidelines may vary according to your specific surgery. You may hear of other patients who are given different guidelines following their weight loss surgery. It is important to remember that every surgeon does not perform the exact same weight loss surgery procedure and that the dietary guidelines will be different for each surgeon and each type of procedure. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to Dr. Thomas’ recommended guidelines. The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines a weight-loss surgery patient may encounter with any of the weight loss surgeries that we offer:
- When you start eating solid food, it is essential that you chew thoroughly. You will not be able to eat steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly and very moist.
- Don’t drink fluids while eating. It is best to wait at least fifteen to twenty minutes after eating to maintain the desired feeling of being full. Drinking while eating flushes the food out of the pouch quicker.
- Omit desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients. These are empty calorie foods.
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milkshakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content. Read all labels – something may sound nutritious but may have hidden sugar, carbohydrates and fats.
- Avoid alcohol. Gastric bypass patients become intoxicated very easily. Do not drive even if you only have one sip of alcohol.
- Avoid snacking between meals.
Going back to work
Your ability to resume presurgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of weight loss surgery you had. Many patients return to full presurgery levels of activity within one to two weeks of their procedure.
Birth control & pregnancy
It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement. During and after patients lose their excess weight they become very fertile.
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) and Vitamin B12, folate and iron levels and several other tests. Follow-up tests will be conducted at six months and then yearly, or as needed.. It is imperative that you keep your appointments for follow-up. Patients should see their surgeon for any abdominal pain or if they are losing excessive weight or gaining weight.
The widespread use of support groups has provided weight loss surgery patients an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. We have support group meetings in our Nacogdoches and Houston office as well as online to assist you with short-term and long-term questions and needs. And the realize.com website is a useful tool similar to support group. Just another way to help you stay focused. Ongoing post-surgical support helps produce the greatest level of success for patients. We strongly encourage all our patients to attend the monthly support group meetings for a minimum of one year after surgery.