Facts About the Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure in which your surgeon creates a small pouch from your stomach and the rest of the stomach is bypassed. The small pouch is attached directly to the small intestine. The newly created pouch can only hold a small quantity of food. Your stomach will secrete less of the hormone ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. You will not get as hungry and when you do eat, you will likely feel full after eating only a small amount of food or consuming a small drink. By consuming less food overall, you will eventually be able to lose weight. A key part in maintaining this weight loss is following steps to eat healthy and in small portions, and by following the advice provided by your doctor.
What to Expect After Gastric Bypass Surgery
For the first few days after your gastric bypass surgery, you will be on a liquid diet. Until about week six after surgery, you will only be eating a limited amount of soft foods. This allows your digestive system to heal. If you had a laparoscopic gastric bypass, you may be able to go home about five days after your surgery if you are healing well. If you had an open abdominal surgery, you will probably go home about a week after your procedure. You will need to rest and avoid heavy physical activity during this time. You may not be able to lift heavy items. This is because your abdominal muscles need to heal.
Most gastric bypass surgery patients will need to have someone to help them with household chores, such as cleaning, immediately following the procedure. You may need to come into your doctor’s office to have your surgical site checked and the bandages changed. Regular follow up visits are an important part of your care and are important for monitoring your progress.
Nutrition Tips for Gastric Bypass Surgery Patients
As a part of your gastric bypass surgery, you may need to participate in pre-surgical nutritional counseling. The goal of this counseling is to modify your eating habits. You will learn about making healthy food choices and substituting unhealthy foods. For example, one healthy food substitution could be to substitute a dessert like ice cream for healthier options such as Greek yogurt.
After gastric bypass surgery, you will only be able to eat about 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of food at each meal. You will also learn about how many calories you should eat and the amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fats that your body needs for optimal nutrition. Your doctor will also provide you with guidance on vitamins and minerals. It is important to adhere to your nutritional plan so that you can avoid diseases that are caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Your counseling will likely continue after surgery to reinforce good eating habits. Your doctor may give you guidelines about how many calories to eat, and this will change as you lose weight. As your body loses weight, it needs fewer calories to maintain that weight. For example, a person who weighs 400 pounds may be able to eat 3,000 calories per day and stay at the same weight, while a person who weighs 200 pounds would need to eat about 1,900 calories daily for weight maintenance.
Your doctor will work with you and provide post-surgical instructions that are tailored to your health and your unique situation. It is very important to follow these instructions carefully in order to see the most progress and to stay healthy.
Continuing Weight Loss After a Gastric Bypass
Most of your weight loss after a gastric bypass will take place within the first six months of the procedure. Some patients lose up to 5 pounds per week during this rapid period of weight loss, but this amount can vary. After this time, you will need to work harder in order to continue your weight loss. Working with a nutritionist and developing an exercise plan can help you lose the rest of your excess weight. For most people, a healthy rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. To monitor your weight loss, your doctor may ask you to come in for weekly, biweekly, or monthly weight checks.
Part of this follow-up might also include lab tests to check on your blood calcium, vitamin D level, and other nutritional markers. Many people need to take vitamin or mineral supplements after gastric bypass surgery because the smaller stomach area is not able to absorb the correct amount of vitamins from foods. Maintaining ideal vitamin and mineral levels can also help to keep up your metabolism for continued weight loss.
Beginning to Exercise After Gastric Bypass Surgery
Your doctor may advise you to take it easy for the first 8 to 10 weeks after your gastric bypass surgery. This is because your body needs this time to heal and recover. Once your physician gives you the okay, you may begin to exercise. Starting a physical fitness routine will help to continue the success of your gastric bypass surgery. For some patients, diet alone is typically not enough to ensure continued weight loss and maintenance of a healthy body weight.
If you are new to exercise, you may wish to find a personal trainer to help you. A personal trainer can teach you proper form and correct posture so that you do not injure your abdominal muscles or overwork yourself. A combination of aerobic exercise such as walking, using an elliptical trainer, or swimming, along with strength training such as weight lifting. will help you to build muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat. As you increase your muscle mass, your body can more naturally burn more calories.
To learn more about gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss options, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure and your options.