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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 when satisfied or as soon as you have eaten the recommended portion size.
  • Eat slowly over a period of 20 minutes and chew small bites thoroughly. Avoid drinking 30 minutes before or after meals. Sip unlimited water throughout the day.
  • Don't overeat out of kindness to others – do what's right for you.
  • Always eat from a small plate and use small utensils. This will help ensure small portions.

Nutrition Counseling for Weight Loss Surgery

Sanford's bariatric dietitian visits are 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.

  • Individualized Registered Dietician visits will be available to you at 6 weeks post surgery and again at between 9 and 12 months. You are always able to visit our dietician as needed, and will gladly answer any questions you may have by contacting us.
  • Back on Track Classes are held quarterly throughout the year. These 2 hour classes help post weight loss surgery patients get back to basics and are taught by the Bariatric Nurse Practitioner, Bariatric Nurse Coordinator, and our Bariatric Dietician. For more information, call (605) 333-2249.

BLAST (Better Living, Attitude, and Success Training)

Classes are held each month for pre-op bariatric patients. Join our bariatric dietician to discuss the following topics during BLAST class. Call (605) 333-2249 for more information.

Mindful Eating

This class will show you how to pay closer attention to what you are eating and how it makes you feel. Practice taking smaller bites, eating slower and experiencing the food with all your senses. Learn to enjoy the quality more than the quantity. Determine why you are eating… is it for hunger or for other reasons? Identify activities that are personally interesting and nurturing that can replace unnecessary eating.

Barriers and Feelings

This class will help you identify any food related issues before having bariatric surgery so you can focus on your activities of life. Some issues can be dealt with and others may require more time. Identify health improvements resulting from successful weight loss surgery.

Menu Planning/Activity

This class will help you learn how to build a food plan and subsequently create a grocery list. You will learn about physical activities that can be started before surgery and how to support healthy behaviors after surgery.

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 and you will learn more about the required supplementation at your pre op surgery class.

Exercise

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.
  • A well designed exercise 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.
  • If you need additional exercise tips or ideas, or have questions about your exercise regime call (605) 333-2249 for more information.

Attitude

  • Focus on your strengths and emphasize them. What do you do well? What do you enjoy?
  • Set realistic and achievable 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 Sanford Weight Loss Surgery Support Group which is held the 3rd Monday of each month at 7:00 PM in Meeting Room A at Sanford Medical Center. Other satellite support groups are also available. Click here to learn more.

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.

Back on Track Class

Please join the Sanford Metabolic and Bariatric Surgical Program for Back on Track Class. This quarterly class is for anyone who has had weight loss surgery and may be struggling to lose or maintaining their weight loss, or for those who want to get back to basics after surgery. The following topics will be reviewed and discussed as a group:

  • Back to basics after surgery
  • Diet guidelines
  • Eating tips, tricks, and hints
  • Mindful eating
  • Emotional eating
  • Physical activity
  • Motivation and personal accountability

Classes are lead by the Bariatric Nurse Practitioner, Bariatric Nurse Coordinator and Bariatric Dietician. Please call (605) 333-2249 for more information.

Your Weight Loss Team

The entire Sanford Metabolic and Bariatric Surgical Team is here for you at any time, pre or post surgery. Please contact us at any time if you have questions about your surgery, are struggling or need to get back on track. Your success is our success! View your weight-loss team members.

Helpful Resources

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

Metabolic and bariatric supplement information:
Post operative metabolic and bariatric vitamin regimen
Important vitamins and minerals
Bariatric vitamin FAQ

Other resources:
Metabolic and Bariatric surgery follow-up requirements
Metabolic and bariatric surgery post operative diet guidelines
Metabolic and bariatric post operative tracking tool

If you would like additional information, please call to arrange a consultation with one of our bariatric surgeons at (605) 328-3840 or (800) 727-0670, or click here to request more information online.