Just as you had to prepare for your surgery with a special gastric bypass post-op diet, tests and visits to the specialists, you will also have to follow a post-op routine for helping you get back on your feet and off to a healthier lifestyle. In this article, we will cover some of the concerns and solutions to your post-op recovery so that you can be prepared.
Once you have successfully come out of your surgery, you will want to sleep most of the first day. While your friends and family will want to see you, they will also understand that rest is an important part of your recovery. You will more than likely be in the hospital for a three or four-night stay following your surgery. You may have to undergo a few tests to ensure that the surgery was successful and your body is responding the way it should be. You will need to get up and start moving around as soon as you can to avoid any possible blood clots.
When choosing weight loss surgery, a patient is enduring a lifestyle change and lifelong commitment. Surgery is a part of the process, and changing the way they eat and becoming more active are two important facets of the weight loss process.
After Gastric Bypass surgery, a specific diet must be followed to make sure that proper nutrition is obtained. A specific diet must be used so a patient’s body mass, skin elasticity and hydration are monitored properly.
Typically, a patient is discharged from the hospital on a liquid-only diet for two to three weeks. After that period, they can begin to eat soft foods for six to eight weeks. The body is then transitioned to regular food for six to nine months. During this eating change, patients typically take multivitamins that include calcium, iron and Vitamin B12, A, D, K and E. 40-60 grams of protein is recommended each day.
There will be certain foods and drinks that you can no longer consume once you are out of surgery. Caffeine should be avoided as it causes dehydration. Alcohol should also be avoided as your stomach will no longer be able to metabolize it the way it once did which could, in turn, lead to an increase in the risk of liver disease. You should get into the habit of chewing all of your food until it takes on an applesauce-like consistency. This will prevent anything from becoming blocked.
For the first three weeks after your surgery, you will be on a mostly liquid clear diet again. This will give your body a chance to heal and adapt to the new changes within your body. Protein shakes, drinkable yogurts and clear soup broths offer your body the nutrition and vitamins it needs as it recovers.
Following the liquid diet routine, you will be able to re-introduce soft foods back into your diet. These will be ingredients such as ground meat, cooked beans, eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, well-cooked vegetables, poultry and soft fruit. Refrain from foods like rice, bread, and pastas as these fillers do not offer the necessary nutrition you require.
Once your body has gotten used to eating the softer foods, you will start the last phase of your eating plan which will carry on through the rest of your life. This will be a healthy balanced diet of protein, vegetables, fruits and grains. Learning portion size is an important step in this process. You will need to aim for five servings a day of fruits and vegetables each day. Make sure you take in enough fiber for the day and a recommended 60 to 120 grams of protein each day. The doctor will more than likely recommend that you start taking a daily vitamin supplement which includes iron, calcium and vitamin b12 to help strengthen your body during this post-op process.
Immediately after Gastric Bypass surgery, a patient is advised to drink two ounces of a high-protein liquid supplement every hour. They must also drink two ounces of a liquid that is non-carbonated and caffeinated and low calorie every 15 minutes. This prevents dehydration.
A patient may drink things such as skim milk, Boost protein, no sugar added Carnation, Ensure, Soy milk, water, Crystal light, decaffeinated coffee or tea, diluted juice and broth. The patient should never use a straw and only take small sips of room temperature liquids.
In between this diet and soft foods, a patient will visit both their dietitian and surgeon before moving on to the next phase of the weight loss phase.
Even though one is transitioning to solid foods, the focus is still on protein and eating foods that are low in fat, fiber and sugar. Some patients still need protein from a supplement even though they are consuming soft foods. Eat four to six small meals a day. Eat high-protein items first then slowly add one new food at a time to determine if one has a tolerance for that particular food.
Some foods that are introduced into the diet include: eggs, low-fat yogurt, baked or broiled fish or seafood, ground poultry, beef or pork, soups, oatmeal, soft vegetables and dry toast.
After six to eight weeks of eating soft foods and introducing new foods into the diet, a person can begin eating solids once again. At this point, a patient will begin to be able to eat what they could before the surgery, just in smaller portions. It’s important they choose healthy food choices that include lean proteins and foods low in fat. The volume of food they will be able to eat will always be limited, so this makes choosing healthy food even more important.
Part of living a healthy new lifestyle is exercise. While you may not be up to much more than walking for the first little while after surgery, this is fine. Aim for 30 minutes a day of walking and try to extend that to 45 minutes and then an hour when possible. You may want to speak with your doctor regarding the best types of exercise, however aerobic exercises such as bike riding and swimming are often the best choices. You will also want to work in a lightweight training routine as this type of exercise will help increase your metabolism and will help you lose more weight. Always remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after your exercise workouts. You should get in the habit of drinking 8 to 10 glasses water each and every day.
Your doctor will more than likely want to see how you are progressing as the year moves along. Your first visit should be around the two week post op mark, then again around the 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year marks. You will be able to discuss any concerns or issues you may be having with your diet and exercise plan or medications you may be taking. It’s increasingly important to be examined by a doctor through your post weight loss experience.