What to Expect After Weight Loss Surgery
Nutrition After Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery causes significant changes in how the body absorbs food. It becomes harder to absorb certain nutrients, including:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
Up to half of patients undergoing "roux-en-Y" gastric bypass surgery experience some vitamin deficiency. Anemia (a low blood count) is also common. Most of these vitamin deficiencies can be reduced or prevented.
Taking a "one-a-day" multivitamin isn't enough, though. Your doctor can check the levels of nutrients in your blood. Many people will require supplements of specific nutrients, like iron or vitamin B12.
Lifestyle Changes After Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery can produce dramatic results. But the gains from losing weight are not automatic. The process requires permanent lifestyle changes to be successful.
Eating small frequent meals. The small stomach created by weight loss surgery can only hold so much. Eating large meals can cause problems. Many people with obesity are "binge eaters." Adapting to eating smaller meals can be a challenge.
Committing to nutrition. Serious malnutrition occurs easily in weight loss surgery patients. Avoiding it means taking a new approach to diet and nutrition. A dietitian can help create a plan.
Exercise. People who exercise after weight loss surgery are less likely to regain weight. Exercise can often be easier after substantial weight loss. Many severely obese people are not used to exercising regularly.
Many weight loss surgery centers offer behavioral counseling programs. These can help people make the change to a healthier lifestyle before and after weight loss surgery.