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Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss Surgery

How Does Weight Loss Surgery Affect Overall Health?

Obesity-related medical problems will generally improve after weight loss surgery. These include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • High cholesterol
  • Degenerative joint disease or orthopedic problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Urinary incontinence

 

How Does Weight Loss Surgery Affect Nutrition?

After weight loss surgery, the body has difficulty absorbing certain important nutrients, including:

  • Iron 
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D

However, taking a daily multivitamin, plus other supplements, can prevent or reduce these deficiencies.

What Lifestyle Changes Are Necessary After Weight Loss Surgery?

Over time, some people regain weight despite bariatric surgery. Some eat high-calorie or high-fat foods, instead of healthy foods -- and eat them too often. Some people rely on "soft meals" such as ice cream, milk shakes.

The body itself may change over time, too, leading to weight gain. The digestive tract might begin absorbing more calories. Even the size of your surgical stomach can expand gradually over time.

To keep the weight off, you need to work at it. Here are some tips:

  • Eat very small meals. Adapting to small meals is challenging, but necessary. Eat small amounts of food slowly, chew well, and eat lots of protein.
  • Make nutrition a priority. You must make the foods you eat count. Good nutrition is critically important. You must also take the right supplements, as recommended by your health care provider, because serious malnutrition occurs easily following weight loss surgery. A dietitian can create a diet and nutrition plan designed to meet your needs.
  • Exercise regularly. Many obese people aren't used to exercise but it's very important to prevent weight regain. The good news: Once you start losing weight, exercise will get easier.

How Will My Physical Appearance Change After Weight Loss Surgery?

As you start losing weight, you will likely be thrilled with your new appearance. However, many people who lose a lot of weight often find their skin looks loose and baggy. You may want plastic surgery to remove this excess skin.

Will My Social Life and Relationships Change After Weight Loss Surgery?

Your relationships with friends and family may indeed change after weight loss surgery. For many people, food and drink are the basis for socializing. After weight loss surgery, you must find other ways to socialize -- ways that aren't focused on food.

Also, as you lose weight, the results will be obvious. People will notice, and ask you about your appearance. Prepare for these questions ahead of time -- and consider how you want to answer them.

Will I Feel Like Myself After I Lose Weight?

Losing a significant amount of weight is no small matter. In fact, the effects are profound and far-reaching. Life may seem disconcerting at times. You may feel odd, not quite like yourself. You may feel overwhelmed by the lifestyle changes you must make for the rest of your life. You may have reached for food as comfort -- and have difficulty giving it up.

A therapist can help you get through this complicated period. A support group can also help. Ask your doctor about support groups for people who have had weight loss surgery. It helps to meet people who are making the same adjustments you're making -- and can help keep you on track with your weight loss program.

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