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.
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.
Having a good attitude and committing to healthy living each day will help you reach and maintain your wellness goals. Some days after surgery may be harder than others. To keep your attitude positive:
- 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 the Center for Health and Wellbeing in the Sanford Heart Hospital. Other satellite support groups are also available. Click here to learn more.
Keeping stress levels in check after surgery will help keep you focused on your long term goals. Research shows that excessive ongoing stress is linked with weight gain. To keep your stress levels in check:
- 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 led 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.
Important vitamins and minerals
Bariatric vitamin FAQ
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.