How to Reach Your Goals with Bariatric Surgery

How to Reach Your Goals with Bariatric Surgery 

You’re ready for the health improvements that come with weight loss surgery and want to take steps to be successful. Be assured–most people lose at least half of their excess weight and, unlike non-surgical weight loss methods, keep that weight off long-term. Weight loss surgery is a great tool and putting in a little extra effort will give the best possible results. Here are 7 simple steps for maximizing weight loss surgery results.

I took control of my after-care.  I knew this was a very important step for me to succeed.  I journaled, read up on post-op care, and followed the healing procedures.  To this day, 11 years later, I still journal when I think I need to get back on track.  I still exercise on my treadmill.  I told myself 11 years ago that I was going to be successful; my change was permanent.  –Nora K.

Step 1 – Learn. Knowledge and skills are essential to make changes to the way you eat, think and live for best results from surgery. Barix Clinics offers many educational opportunities: follow up appointments, in-person support groups, a Facebook support group, monthly newsletters, and tips sheets.

Step 2 – Track. If specific behaviors are monitored, they are more likely to continue. It’s helpful to monitor:

  • Weight on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  • Food intake. Use a website, phone app, or simple pen and paper–this single act will make you very aware of and help you to control your food intake.
  • Measure exercise efforts–the number of steps taken in a day, the pounds you are able to lift for a variety of exercises, or the number of cycling classes participated in this week.

Step 3 – Keep fluids calorie-free. Water, Vitamin Water Zero, Bai Water, SoBe Water, diet iced tea, Crystal Light, Mio, and sugar free Kool-Aid are good options. Sipping on higher-calorie fluids can derail your efforts.

Step 4 – Eat right. With a decreased drive to eat, it is easier to make healthy food choices. Be sure to:

  • Eat small frequent meals. Eat six small protein-rich meals—about every 2 ½ to 3 hours. Take 20 minutes or so to eat and then stop. Avoid eating between meals—this is time to sip on calorie-free fluids. If you tend to eat out of boredom, when stressed, or while watching TV, find strategies to avoid eating between meals.
  • Keep portions in check. The amount of food that feels comfortable to eat at a meal can increase over time. To minimize this, be sure to avoid drinking with meals and for 30 minutes after, measure and limit meals to no more than 1 cup of food per meal, use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses, and log food intake to be fully aware of how much you are eating.
  • Prepare foods at home. Most times, the foods prepared at home are healthier options with more veggies and fewer calories than those eaten out. Plan and prep on your days off.
  • Keep up your protein intake. Protein helps maintain muscle tissue, keep hunger at bay, and maintain weight loss. Your nutritionist will give you a protein goal to shoot for daily.
  • Eat the right foods. The post-surgery eating plan is built on lean protein sources and fresh vegetables. Add in fresh fruits and small amounts of whole grain and healthy fats. Eat mostly fresh, unprocessed foods. Limit simple carbs in the form of added sugars, crackers, granola bars, rice, pasta, potatoes, and breads. Carbs should come mostly from low-fat dairy, fresh veggies/fruits and small amounts of whole grains.

Step 5 – Move more. Many people find that they have less joint pain shortly after surgery. That makes it easier to get in regular walks and eventually other exercises. The time invested in exercising pays off immediately by raising your energy level and mood.

I’m much more active now that I don’t hurt from walking and the heat doesn’t get to me. I can easily jog around my neighborhood, when before I couldn’t walk. –Terri J.

Step 6 – Manage stress and emotions. Developing new coping mechanisms will be important if you tend to cope with emotional highs and lows with food. If you’re grazing throughout the day, feeling out of control with eating, or continually making poor food choices, the help of a trained therapist may be worth investigating. Stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing can also be implemented independently.

Step 7 – Manage Medical Conditions. Medical conditions and medications can be managed with your primary care physician to minimize their impact on weight loss:

  • Sleep apnea. Continue with use of C-Pap machine after surgery until you are cleared by a follow-up sleep study.
  • Thyroid problems.
  • Medications can slow weight loss. Discuss medications with your primary care doctor. For those that promote weight gain, see if there are options for weight neutral medications.
  • Joint pain can slow down activity. Work with your doctor to find safe medications that relieve pain without being harsh on your new pouch or sleeve.

We’ll be with you every step of the way, providing information and tools to reach your health and weight loss goals. Once you know the steps to take, it’s simple.


About Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.
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