Weight Loss in The Six Months After Bariatric Surgery

November 5, 2019

The early postoperative period after weight loss surgery is both an exciting and daunting time in every patient’s life. Undoubtedly, there is the potential for exceptional weight loss and disease resolution, making life healthier and more enjoyable. On the other hand, every bariatric patient understands going in, that the post-bariatric lifestyle is not easy and requires a great deal of dedication and motivation to achieve these goals and maintain their weight loss.

The first six months after bariatric surgery are crucial to setting the tone for longer-term weight loss, and ultimately maintaining a lower, normal body weight.

Early Recovery

Immediately after surgery, you will be on a clear-liquid diet. This is important to allow your stomach and intestinal anatomy to heal after major surgery. Shortly thereafter, you will progress through a liquid diet, soft food diet and eventually a regular diet with certain limitations, like keeping sodium, sugar and other empty carbs low, while prioritizing whole grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables.

In the first few months after surgery, your weight loss will be significant, and you will likely be very pleased with your progress. However, as you continue to lose weight, you will notice plateaus that may last for a couple weeks or even longer. These plateaus are perfectly normal and represent the body adjusting to the new diet and lifestyle. However, plateaus can be frustrating and disappointing when you’ve spent months losing a significant amount of weight.

So How Do We Manage Plateaus in The First Six Months After Surgery?

The key is diversity both in your diet and exercise. If you are eating much of the same things every day and exercising in the same way, your body becomes accustomed to this and may slow its weight loss. This can be counteracted by changing up your diet and beginning to work with muscles that you haven’t before. Also, be sure to maintain your strength training regimen as muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.

You may also find that as you get stronger and more toned, you begin to plateau or even gain a little bit of weight. This is normal, since muscle is denser, and therefore, heavier than fat. We would certainly expect a little bit of weight gain when you begin your strength training exercises in earnest.

This is a good time to mention that you should not always rely on the number on the scale as your measure of success. Your bloodwork numbers, your waistline, how you look, and your general body shape will all be improving even if the number on the scale stays the same.

When Should You Be Concerned?

If you find that you are liberalizing your diet or you are not following your exercise regimen carefully and have started to gain weight – 15% or more of your excess body weight loss – it is time to schedule an appointment with our office. First, we will recommend that you attend support group every month; second, we will evaluate your diet and exercise plan to make appropriate tweaks, and third, we will discuss motivational tactics to keep you on track in the future.

In conclusion, the medium-term weight loss potential after bariatric surgery – about six months to a year – is where you will learn to lose the most amount of weight at the fastest rate. This is also a difficult time when your body is readjusting to its new food and exercise reality. You may feel tired, angry, frustrated, as well as a whole other range of normal emotions, but rest assured that this is your body and your hormones adjusting.

Ultimately, we are here to assist you in ensuring that you lose weight safely and rapidly, improving or resolving many of your diseases associated with obesity. So, please contact us anytime if you have a question or concern about your weight loss in the first six months or beyond.

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Advanced Surgical Associates is one of the first exclusively surgical groups practicing in Union County New Jersey. And that is just the first of many firsts for ASA. For over 40 years, we have pioneered breakthrough surgical patient care in North Jersey in both general and weight loss surgery. ASA also offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding to those suffering from obesity in New Jersey.
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