You’ve successfully undergone gastric sleeve surgery, an effective weight loss procedure that helps most patients lose about 60% of their body weight within 18 months. This is because the size of your stomach was reduced from one quart (32 ounces) to roughly the dimensions of a banana (8 to 10 ounces), making it easier to decrease food intake. The procedure also removed the part of the stomach where ghrelin, or the “hunger hormone,” is produced, resulting in fewer cravings.
However, the procedure itself was only one important step in your weight loss journey. For it to truly be successful, several lifestyle changes must be implemented to achieve long-term success. Here, Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates, P.A. shares some pointers on how to maintain a healthy weight after gastric sleeve surgery.
Follow Dietary Guidelines
Gastric sleeve surgery may accelerate a patient’s weight loss, but to reach your goals and maintain your new weight, a strict diet must be followed at all times. This is because overeating can eventually stretch the new, smaller stomach to a larger size, causing you to eat more to feel satisfied. Plus, proper nutrition following surgery will aid you immensely during the healing process as you adjust to having a smaller stomach.
Dr. Andrei and his team will provide you with a post-operative meal plan to follow so you can properly heal and achieve weight loss success. You’ll be on a mostly liquid diet for the first few weeks after your gastric sleeve procedure, then slowly begin reintroducing solid foods. To ensure you’re getting enough protein and preventing postsurgical complications, keep the following tips in mind:
- Divide high-protein meals into four to six small servings per day
- Chew slowly and thoroughly
- Choose complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and sweet potatoes, instead of calorie-heavy and sugar-rich simple carbs
- Drink at least 50 ounces (1.5 liters) of water per day
- Supplement your meal plan with approved protein powders and/or supplements
- Stop eating once you feel full – not when the plate is clear
- Avoid carbonated beverages and foods that cause flatulence
Establish an Exercise Routine
Though you may experience some discomfort immediately following your gastric sleeve, physical activity is crucial to a speedier recovery and long-term weight loss. In the first week after your procedure, Dr. Andrei advises patients to go on several short walks each day. Doing so will support your circulation, bowel function, and wound healing, as well as decrease your risk of blood clots. Additionally, you’ll build up strength to handle more strenuous exercise down the road.
Once you’ve healed from surgery, you should try to walk at least 10,000 steps each day while incorporating other low-impact exercises like biking and swimming. Once he thinks you’re able, Dr. Andrei will clear you for weightlifting and more advanced physical activity, which will accelerate your weight loss when combined with the dietary guidelines above.
Seek Psychological Support
Many of our patients find it advantageous to regularly speak with a counselor following their surgery. Complex emotions may arise as your body and your approach to eating change, and working with a trained mental health professional can provide the guidance needed to help manage these feelings and maintain progress.
Dr. Andrei and his team are also here for you at every step of the way, offering resources like support groups, seminars, and more. For additional information on maintaining a healthy weight after gastric sleeve surgery, call 800-200-5553 or contact Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates, P.A. online today.