Bariatrics and Weight Loss

Life after bariatric surgery, what to expect and how to succeed

Young mixed-race woman exercising at home while smiling because she knows what to expect after her bariatric surgery.


Get insights on life after bariatric surgery, what to expect and how to succeed in your long-term weight loss goals!


By Netanel Y. Alper, MD, Bariatric and General Surgery, Nuvance Health


Undergoing bariatric surgery marks a profound commitment to a healthier life. As you step into this new chapter, understanding what lies ahead and how to navigate it successfully is paramount. Learn what to expect after your bariatric surgery so you can keep the weight off and be successful in your long-term weight loss goals.


Learn more about Nuvance Health’s comprehensive weight loss program.

Medications after bariatric surgery


After bariatric surgery, your doctor may prescribe medications to aid in your recovery and overall well-being. These medications are crucial for managing pain, preventing complications and ensuring a successful outcome.


Common post-operative medications include pain relievers, vitamins, supplements and acid reflux medications. It is important to strictly follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medication use.


While medications are vital for recovery, they can also have side effects and interactions. It is important to be aware of these potential effects and discuss any concerns with your doctor. Regularly updating your doctor about what medications you are taking can help prevent adverse reactions.


Diet after bariatric surgery

Significant dietary changes are essential to support your long-term weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle post-bariatric surgery. Your doctor, along with a dedicated bariatric dietitian, will provide you with specific dietary guidelines tailored to your individual needs, focusing on recommended food choices and portion sizes.


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Being mindful of portion sizes is crucial, as your stomach's capacity will be significantly reduced after surgery. Consuming smaller, frequent meals throughout the day can help meet your nutritional needs while avoiding discomfort. Dealing with food cravings and emotional eating can be a common challenge post-surgery. Developing healthy coping mechanisms and seeking professional or group support can help manage these issues.


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Nutritional needs after bariatric surgery


Typically, after bariatric surgery, you will maintain a low-calorie liquid diet for the first few days that is gradually changed to a soft solid food diet within two or three weeks. Later, you should be monitored after surgery to ensure you are on track with your weight loss goals.


Ensuring optimal health and successful weight loss post-bariatric surgery involves prioritizing your nutritional needs and physical activity. Supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals is crucial, as bariatric procedures can impact the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients.


Your doctor will guide you in selecting the right supplements and dosage based on your needs for the type of surgery you underwent. Generally, recommended supplements after bariatric surgery include multi-vitamins, calcium, vitamin B12 and iron.


Regular blood tests and follow-up appointments with your doctor are crucial to monitor your nutritional status. Remember, supplementation is just one component of the lifestyle changes necessary for success post-bariatric surgery. Following a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are all essential for long-term weight loss.


Learn more about weight loss follow-up care and support groups at Nuvance Health.


Returning to daily life after bariatric surgery


Returning to your daily life after bariatric surgery is a significant milestone in your recovery journey. However, it is important to allow your body adequate time to heal and adjust before resuming your level of normal of activity. The time required before returning to a normal routine depends on factors such as the type of surgery, your overall health and any physical limitations. Typically, most people can safely return to their daily routines within two to four weeks after bariatric surgery.


For the first six weeks after bariatric surgery, you should limit your exercise. Physical activity should be limited to just walking. You should also avoid weightlifting or high intensity training for the first six weeks after surgery. You should also avoid lifting anything heavier than 15 to 20 pounds during this time.

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The bottom line: Your life after bariatric surgery is a transformative experience, requiring commitment and dedication to long-term health. Understanding and preparing for the changes ahead are key to achieving success. By embracing these changes after bariatric surgery, you can pave the way for success and enjoy a healthier, happier future that meets your weight loss goals! Book now with a bariatric surgeon to learn more.