Weight Loss Surgery’s Do’s and Don’ts

We thought it would be helpful for those who are about to undergo weight loss surgery as well as those who are researching to share our guide to weight loss surgery do’s and don’ts…

Do try to lose weight pre-surgery

Research has found that patients who lose weight during this preparation period tend to lose more weight after the surgery and are more successful in long-term weight maintenance.

Tips include eating fibre rich foods including fruits and vegetables as this helps you feel fuller for longer and being aware of portion sizes. You may also be advised to follow a liquid-only diet prior to the operation.

It’s also worthwhile using this time wisely to get a feeling of how life will be in terms of following a new diet and exercise plan post the weight loss procedure.

Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to lose all of your weight immediately

Post-surgery, most people do recover very quickly but it’s important to remember that you’ve had a major operation and to take it slowly for a few weeks. Therefore, do not put yourself under pressure to lose weight immediately. Take it easy, follow the dietary recommendations and exercise plan and you’ll soon see results.

Do follow the dietary recommendations

After surgery, you’ll gradually progress from a liquid to a solid diet as your body adjusts to the weight loss procedure and it’s important that you follow your nutritionist’s recommendations.

A great rule to follow is the 20:20: 20 rule – aim to eat 20 mouthfuls of food over a meal, over a 20-30-minute period and chewing each mouthful 20 times. By eating slowly, it helps you feel fuller and prevents you from over-eating.

Don’t risk dumping syndrome

Dumping syndrome occurs when food, especially sugar, moves from your stomach into your small bowel too quickly. To prevent this, it’s important to eat foods that are low in fat and sugar and wait at least 30 minutes after eating before drinking liquids.

Do set mini goals (SMART goals)

The SMART approach to goal setting outlined below is very useful and helps you with setting achievable goals.

S: is your goal specific?

M: is your goal measurable

A: is your goal attainable?

R: is your goal relevant?

T: is your goal timely?

But we also recommend setting mini goals that you can reach as you progress through your weight loss journey e.g. losing 5lbs, walking 1k, exercising for 30 minutes, losing 3 inches from your waist line and going down a dress size.

Don’t rush into intensive exercise

We recommend incorporating exercise into your new weight loss plan but to start with, take it slowly and don’t go in full wack with high intensity work-outs.

Start off with something that is easy on the body such as walking and swimming and then gradually work up to high intensity exercise regimes such as HIITT or jogging and combine these with strength training to build muscle strength and increase bone density.

Do join a support group

Support is key and it’s great to build a team of friends and family who can rally around you when you have a tough day and celebrate your successes, but we also advise joining a local bariatric support group. It’s a great way to meet other bariatric patients who can share tips with, hear their experiences and who’ll support you with your weight loss journey.

We also recommend The Gastric Guru – an online support tool with a wealth of bariatric related information.

Don’t skip meals

It’s important not to skip meals which can lead to succumbing to cravings and going back to bad eating habits. Our tips are to eat protein and fibre rich meals to keep the hunger cravings at bay, have healthy snacks on hand and drink plenty of water.

Do celebrate every single success

Every time you reach each goal, ensure you take time to celebrate e.g. going to the cinema, having a massage or buying a new piece of clothing. Celebrating successes boosts our well-being as it makes us practise gratitude and keeps us motivated.

Don’t let the scale define you

Although weighing yourself is important – we recommend not doing this daily but on a fortnightly or even monthly basis.

The number on the scale can either make or break your day and sometimes isn’t a true reflection of your weight, especially as it can’t account for water retention, hormonal fluctuations or weight gain resulting from increased muscle.

Do keep a positive mindset and believe you can do it.

Heard the phrase ‘the body achieves what the mind believes’? If not, you’ll be surprised to hear there is a link between positive thinking and success. Start believing that you can lose the weight, and those positive thoughts will increase your motivation, enabling you to follow your new weight loss plan and achieve your goals.