10 Tips for Recovery After Weight Loss Surgery

March 9, 2016
FeaturedTips & Tricks

Trying to picture your path to a new, healthier, thinner body can be frightening. After all, what happens when people opt for a surgical solution to their weight problems? How do they do it, and – more important – how will you?

Patients count down the days leading up to their weight loss surgery in nervous anticipation. While those days of physical and mental preparation are important, so are the days and weeks immediately following the big day. A successful recovery depends on realistic expectations and being prepared to give your body, mind and spirit everything that they need:

1.  Stay Focused on Your Goal.

It’s true. Whatever you focus on grows. You’ve committed to losing the excess weight and reclaiming your health. Thanks to the surgery, you’ll lose weight quickly, but it’s still a process. Some days may be full of emotional traps, but better ones lie ahead. Trust yourself, and focus only on the things that aid your goal: losing weight and reclaiming your life.

2.  Have Realistic Expectations.

Compared with open surgery, laparoscopic techniques offer shorter recovery periods and less pain. However, you’ll still have to heal. You should be prepared for some pain, discomfort and possibly nausea. Your hospital stay may be just a day or two, but how quickly your body can recover depends on the complexity of your procedure, any complications and your overall physical condition.

3.  Arrange Your Home Environment.

Hospitals are designed to accommodate patients, but most homes are not. At home, you’ll need to keep moving, but stairs, bathrooms and long hallways are common obstacles. You’ll need to be able to keep your surgery site clean and dry, and you’ll need to be safe from falls. Even simple devices like handheld shower extenders or extra-long tongs for reaching can be lifesavers.

4.  Follow Your Doctor’s Orders.

Before your discharge, you’ll receive full instructions in writing, and your success depends on following them to the letter. If you’re experiencing a persistent problem, call your surgeon’s office. Exploring online advice and deviating from the plan can result in serious complications. Every surgery is unique to its patient. Your surgeon’s instructions represent your optimal path to recovery.

5.  Keep Check-Up Appointments.

Everyday life has many moving parts, but weight loss surgery amps up change. Your check-up appointments and scheduled meetings with your support team members need to be a priority. Your doctor will want to ensure you’re healing. Gastric bands and intragastric balloons may need adjustments. Health conditions can improve dramatically and swiftly, so medications to control them may need to be adjusted accordingly.

6.  Rely on Your Counseling and Support Team.

Emotional challenges and even weight loss successes may leave you feeling drained or disoriented. Food may prove hard to handle when it can no longer serve as companion, activity and escape. Family and friends may want to help, but many times, they simply can’t. Use support staff as the highly trained, experienced, professional resource that they are. Your counselors offer an arsenal of teachable strategies to help you beat every challenge.

7.  Keep Moving.

Don’t get hung up on the term exercise. Movement—any movement—is exercise. You’ll be limited from strenuous activities for a while—often 3 to 6 weeks—but constant, regular movement literally sets your feet on the path to success. Movement promotes circulation, burns calories, elevates mood, occupies time, builds muscle and kills hunger. Take your cue from the Walk From Obesity movement, and keep the blood pumping.

8.  Eat Small, Nutritious Meals.

Your stomach is a fraction of its original size, so you have no calories to waste. Every bite you deem worth consuming needs to be nutrition-dense and must comply with your doctor’s prescribed post-surgical diet. Your nutritionist can teach you how to plan what and when you should eat, how to evaluate food labeling and how to avoid self-sabotage. You may also need additional supplementation to ensure your body has all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly.

9.  Stay Hydrated.

Every bodily function depends on water. What registers as hunger may actually be thirst. Fatigue, fainting, nausea, dark urine and lower back pain are all signs that you need liquids and medical attention. Nausea that progresses to vomiting can quickly strip your body of not only water content but also essential minerals and vitamins. Keep liquids handy, and sip them regularly, but be selective. Caffeine and alcohol are guaranteed dehydrators.

10.  Learn To Identify Nausea Triggers.

Even the gentlest gastric procedure can heighten stomach sensitivity. If odors trigger nausea, unscented products and a mint essential oil may help. Foods can also cause nausea. Sometimes, it’s the food itself. Other times, you may need to eat more slowly, sip instead of drink, reduce portions or chew more thoroughly. You may even be dehydrated, so ice chips, decaffeinated herbal tea, or diluted juices and broths may help.

Celebrate Your Recovery

Above all, remember to celebrate even the smallest accomplishment. Each one brings you closer to your goal. If you’re considering a weight loss procedure, call us at 337-233-9900, or visit the Acadiana Weight Loss Surgery website today. Let us help you reach that goal.