Life After Bariatric Surgery
Patients nearing their gastric sleeve surgery date are excited about the new life and health that awaits them. One reason is that patients who undergo a sleeve gastrectomy will lose weight comparable to gastric bypass without the many restrictions of a bypass, such as the ability to eat any food groups without suffering side effects such as dumping that occurs with a gastric bypass.
This excitement, while justified, should also be tempered by the notion that the patient has significant responsibilities after surgery. To ensure that the procedure is as effective as it can be, a patient must understand they have significant responsibilities after the surgery. In order to do so, we must first define weight loss surgery not as a magic bullet or cure-all, but rather as a tool to help the patient lose weight and regain their health. Ultimately, it is up to the patient to change their lifestyle significantly – mostly through diet and exercise. These changes will determine the outcome of the procedure over the long-term.
Patients will have to restrict the foods they eat, avoiding high sugar and high fat foods and replacing them with healthy, nutritious items. Water will become the new drink of choice and if exercise is not a daily occurrence, then it must be performed on a regular basis week in and week out.
These responsibilities cannot be taken lightly because achieving the patient’s goals and expectations largely depend on following the prescribed lifestyle changes. There is no doubt that these lifestyle changes come with their own set of unique challenges – we all have good and bad days – yet the lifestyle change must continue.
It is important to remember that the changes a patient will be experiencing after bariatric surgery are not easy, however the ultimate goal is a complete transformation and well worth the effort. Further, it should be noted that each and every day can’t and shouldn’t be perfect and patients will stumble along the way. That is perfectly normal. It is how we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off that will determine how successful we are in the end.
Post-bariatric surgery is a major life commitment for any patient. Stay committed. Become healthy. Enjoy your life for the rest of your life.