Statistics show that more than 90% of those who undergo bariatric procedures report that it enhances the quality of their lives. Make your odds even better by following these 12 commandments for what to do during your recovery period and beyond.
Of course, the operation is just the beginning of lifelong changes you’ll need to make. Your doctor can advise you on your individual situation, but many people are able to move around as soon as they get home. In another 2 to 6 weeks you may be able to start more intensive activities.
Consider these lifestyle changes as you make your transition.
Exercise and Nutrition:
1. Go for walks. Walking is the first exercise most patients start with. Begin with 10 minutes a day and increase your time gradually until you’re walking for at least half an hour daily.
2. Take up strength training. Resistance training is a priority. You’ll want to replace the muscle mass you lose during rapid weight loss in the months following your operation.
3. Find an instructor. A trainer can help you pick appropriate activities and teach you about using proper form. You’ll get faster results and reduce your risk of injuries. You may also enjoy the social support of a workout buddy.
4. Eat a balanced diet. You’ll be working your way up from liquids to soft foods before you can resume your usual fare. Ensure you’re getting all the essential nutrients!
5. Watch your portions. You’ll also be advised to eat small servings and consume your food slowly. Measure out recommended portion sizes until you’re familiar with what they look like.
6. Drink more water. It’s easy to become dehydrated when you’re losing weight, so sip water all day. It’s also a good way to dampen your appetite.
Other Lifestyle Changes:
1. Keep your follow-up appointments. You’ll be seeing a lot of your doctor in the weeks following your surgery and for the rest of your life. Seek emergency care if you have symptoms including pain, swelling, or bleeding around your incision.
2. Practice proper wound care. Keep your dressing clean and dry. Be especially careful to avoid putting any pressure on the wounds in the shower. Avoid long baths until you’re healed.
3. Manage your medications. Talk with your doctor about all the prescription and nonprescription drugs you use. You may be using blood thinners temporarily and you’ll want to avoid over-the-counter pain relievers that can irritate your stomach lining.
4. Consult other experts. Your doctor will probably refer you to additional specialists. That may include nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and psychologists. You may also be interested in plastic surgery to remove extra skin.
5. Iron out financing. Reduce stress by planning for how you’ll pay for your surgery. Insurance may cover much of the cost of the operation, which ranges from about $20,000 to $35,000, depending on which bariatric surgery you choose. Calculate the costs of follow-up care and vitamin supplements. Healthier food selections also tend to be pricier.
6. Monitor other conditions. In addition to looking slimmer, you’ll likely experience other benefits. Most patients get significant relief from many serious obesity-related conditions including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea.
Weight loss surgery is safer and more effective than ever. It has an impressive record for mending or eliminating obesity and related medical issues. However, having the surgery requires a willingness to commit to the habits that will keep you fit and healthy. Work with your health care team to find the best way for you to lose excess weight and keep it off.