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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 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.

  • The psychologists at the Eating Disorders & Weight Management Center are here for you long after your surgery to provide supportive education, coping skills and feedback 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.

Follow-up Care
We will see you frequently the first year after surgery to monitor your progress and check for any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Long-Term Follow-up
Follow-up after weight loss surgery does not end at one year. It is very important for you to continue to see your health care provider. Studies have shown that the most successful weight loss surgery patients continue to see their weight-loss surgery team. Patients who commit to eating healthy foods, take the required supplements, have routine blood work drawn and incorporate an exercise program into their lifestyle have the best long-term results.


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.

Lifelong Fitness
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. Learn more about Sanford Power's Medical Weight Loss Exercise Program.


  • 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.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call 701-234-4111.

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.