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Lifestyle Patterns For Post-Surgery Success

Healthy lifestyle. People, diet, healthy nutrition, fruits, fitness

Gastric surgery is not a quick fix. It is a way to jump-start massive weight loss, but the surgery will fail if you are not dedicated to making major lifestyle changes in the wake of your surgery. Diet and exercise are the keys to losing weight. 

The most common gastric surgery patients are people who are beyond the point of mere diet and exercise, so the surgery aims to get you to the point where diet and exercise can again be effective in losing weight.


Immediately after surgery your doctor will put you on a liquid diet for the first eight weeks after gastric surgery, then you will begin to reintroduce regular foods into your diet. Once the introductory period ends, though, you’re on your own. So how do you eat healthy?

  • Limit portion size: Your stomach is now smaller, but if you return to eating the same amount of food you used to eat, it will stretch out and you’ll be back where you started. When you treat yourself, eat only one slice of pizza instead of the whole pie. Cut down on empty foods, like dessert. Don’t eat more meals than you should.
  • Eat proteins: Proteins are the key building blocks that will help your body heal from the surgery. Furthermore, protein is calorie-dense energy that will help you stay full longer. Skinless poultry, lean red meat and eggs are the best and healthiest sources of protein.
  • Drink Milk: Unsweetened milk is a good source of protein and carbohydrates. A little fat is okay, since it helps your body absorb many nutrients, but stick with 1 percent.
  • More about drinking: Don’t drink anything with your meal, as it will dilute your limited stomach acid. Instead, drink a glass of water 15 minutes before your meal, and more throughout the day.
  • Get choosy with carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are an easy source of energy and taste good, but there are good carbs and bad. Emphasize vegetables, fruits, beans and 100 percent whole wheat bread, rice and pasta. (Still, beware of consuming too much fiber immediately after gastric sugary.) Avoid processed carbohydrates like white bread, white rice or any sugary baked goods.
  • Cut back on sugar: Sugar is the quintessential empty food. Don’t eat junk food like cookies, cakes, chips or anything highly processed. Additionally, don’t drink your calories in the form of soda or sweet tea.
  • Play the long game: Don’t feel bad about treating yourself to the occasional slice of greasy pizza or a small ice cream sundae; this is not a fad diet, but rather a serious change. It may take years to fully overcome your old, unhealthy eating habits. The key is being diligent about eating healthy overall, and cutting back on how much you eat.


Exercise is crucial for weight loss. Even the best diet will do little good without exercise. Begin by taking walks to build muscle. Rapid weight loss, such as you will experience after gastric surgery, deteriorates muscle. But muscle regulates metabolism, and keeps you strong and lean, so you have to work to build it back.

Aim to exercise at least 200 minutes per week; that’s less than 30 minutes per day. Work your way up to walking 30 minutes daily in the weeks following surgery. Over the first year, work your way up to 45 minutes of more vigorous exercise (aerobics, kickboxing, yoga) per day.

As you continue along, work your way up to running or hiking.

With both exercise and diet, the key is making slow, gradual changes that add up over time. Be patient with yourself, but also diligent about your resolution to be healthier. 

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