Life After Surgery

Surgery marks the beginning of a journey that will change your body – and your life. But surgery alone will not transform you. After surgery, you need to take important steps in order to achieve your long-term goals. Sanford's team supports you the entire way, recognizing lifelong success relies on five key areas: eating habits, exercise, attitude, stress management and care of the spirit.

Eating Habits and Nutrition

  • Restrict portions to the size recommended. Stop eating as soon as you feel full or as soon as you have eaten the recommended portion size.
  • Eat slowly, chew thoroughly. Slow your eating to one bite per minute and chew small bites of food. Sip liquids between meals.
  • Don't overeat out of kindness to others – do what's right for you.
  • Always eat from a small plate. This helps ensure small portions.

Nutrition Counseling for Weight Loss Surgery
Sanford dietitians offer educational programs designed to help you fully prepare for healthy eating before and after surgery. In addition to practical steps and valuable information, you'll build confidence to ensure future success.

  • Next Step Program
    This supportive education/nutrition program is geared to weight-loss surgery patients who have been out of surgery for at least three months. The program helps you make healthy lifestyle changes by providing supportive education, coping skills, feedback and peer support needed for long-term success and weight management. For more information, call (701) 234-4111.
  • Honor Your Health Sessions
    Knowing what to eat is the first step, but many of us struggle with the "how to" of putting this knowledge into daily practice. Sanford Nutrition Therapy offers Honor Your Health sessions geared to help learn practical ways to make changes that will matter to your health.

Your body needs proper nutrition so you can feel your absolute best. Daily vitamins and minerals play a key role in the nutritional success of weight-loss surgery. Lifelong vitamin and mineral recommendations have been developed specifically for weight-loss surgery patients.


The start of a new life generates great excitement, but please know that fatigue after surgery is to be expected. It'll likely take several weeks for your strength to return and for your body to heal.

Following surgery, many patients have found it works well to gradually move into a daily walking habit to regain strength:

  • Begin with short distances – and congratulate yourself for taking this very important step.
  • Within two months after surgery, try to exercise four hours per week. Again, pat yourself on the back.
  • If walking is your chosen exercise, strive for a brisk 50-minute walk (without stopping) six times a week. A goal of walking three miles in 45-50 minutes is recommended.
  • Make exercise fun. Participate in new activities like swimming or an exercise class. Exercise is the key to getting the best possible result from your surgery.

Sanford Lifelong Fitness Program
A well-designed fitness program can help you safely reach and maintain a healthy fitness level, decrease your risk for a variety of serious health problems and improve your ability to cope with stress.

Sanford's Lifelong Fitness Program may be just what's needed to ensure exercise stays in your life.


  • Focus on your strengths and emphasize them. What do you do well? What do you enjoy?
  • Set realistic goals – and reasonable plans for reaching them.
  • Engage in meaningful work, activities and connections with people. Spend your time doing what brings you joy. When possible, weed out those negative activities and obligations.
  • Focus on positive thoughts.
  • Attend the Weight Loss Surgery Support Group

Stress Management

  • Pay attention to your stress level. When you notice symptoms of stress such as headache, tense muscles, fidgety sleep or snapping at loved ones, step back and take a deep breath.
  • Set limits. Learn to balance the needs of others with your own. Learn to say "no" to those things that interfere with your goals.
  • Know ahead of time what you will do when a food urge strikes, whether it's an urge for a specific "problem food" or a desire to binge. Come up with workable plans of action so you can successfully deal with these moments.
  • Get adequate sleep. When you feel refreshed and alert, you're better able to tackle problems.

Care of the Spirit

Everyone desires peace of mind, but how do you get it? Religious practices, meditation, prayer, journal-writing – these are just a few of the ways to care for your spirit.

Your Weight Loss Team

Your journey will include several key passages: an initial consultation, months of education and preparation, surgery and recovery, and finally a new, healthy way of life. At every step of the way, you'll meet specifically trained professionals who will work with you. All share a common goal: your lifelong success. View your weight-loss team members.

Helpful Resources

Use these trusted links and frequently asked questions for more help.

Weight Loss Success Stories

Weight Loss Success Stories

Real-life stories of people who have found a solution to their serious weight problem through our weight loss surgical program.