If you’re overweight, making the decision to have weight loss surgery is only part of the answer to help you achieve ongoing weight loss and minimise your risk of obesity-related health conditions.
Before your surgery, it’s important to think about some of the challenges you’ll face afterward, such as diet and lifestyle changes you’ll need to make and steps you’ll take to deal with the changes losing weight will bring.
Here are our top tips for getting the most from your weight loss surgery:
1. Understand what will be expected of you
Talk with your specialist about what you’ll be expected to do pre- and post-surgery. You may need to lose weight a few weeks before your surgery, often by following a low-calorie diet. After surgery you’ll need to follow a very specific diet, usually transitioning from liquid, to puree to soft food.
2. Make lifelong diet changes
It’s important to follow a healthy diet after your surgery. You will need to cut out high calorie, low nutrient foods such as sweets and soft drinks and limit highly processed foods, like pies, sausages, biscuits and chips. Instead, you’ll need to eat foods high in protein, like eggs, milk, fish and nuts and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Alcohol is high in calories so you’ll also need to cut down on the amount you drink.
3. Make a habit of exercising regularly
Regular exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy weight post-surgery and it also plays a big part in your mental wellbeing. Find an exercise you enjoy, join a class or fitness club, or find a walking buddy. Set some fitness goals and make a commitment to achieving these. Start slowly and build up. Record your progress so you can see how you improve over time.
4. Have a good support network
People may react differently to your weight loss and there might be a lot of comments about your body that you’re not used to. Make sure you have someone to talk to and support you on your journey, whether it’s a friend, family member or a health professional.
5. Think about any underlying issues that contributed to your weight gain
There are many physical and psychological issues that contribute to weight gain, and many of the triggers that caused you to gain weight will still be present after your surgery. Again, consider talking to someone who can help you readjust.
6. Monitor your medications
Losing weight can affect the amount and type of medications you take. Make sure your specialist and GP know which medications you’re taking, and let them know about any new side effects.