Making the decision to have gastric sleeve surgery is huge. You are committing to make a lifestyle change that will positively impact not only how you look, but how you feel, too. It is normal for many of our patients to have a multitude of questions about gastric sleeve and other bariatric surgeries.

What will the weight loss surgery involve, how much weight will I actually lose, how will I feel afterward are all common questions? Thankfully, gastric sleeve surgery is a relatively simple procedure and is a highly effective way to lose weight.

It is completed laparoscopically and the bariatric surgeon removes a large part of the stomach (up to 80 percent in most cases). The result is a small ‘sleeve’ that is the size and shape of a hot dog. This will limit the amount of food or drink you will be able to consume in one sitting.

For the best long-term results, a sleeve gastrectomy, duodenal switch, or gastric bypass surgery should all be done in conjunction with an overall lifestyle change. This will include changes to your diet as well as increased physical activity.

How will you feel after gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric sleeve recovery time is relatively short with few side effects. You will need to limit physical activity and take it easy. Resting and letting someone else do some of your main daily tasks is a good idea! However, you should be able to move around with relatively little pain.

Many patients are able to return to work in the days following the procedure, as long as it isn’t too physically taxing. You did just have surgery after all! But for the most part, the minimally invasive surgery won’t keep you out of commission for too long. In fact, surgery is the easiest part of the weight loss journey for many patients.

What will your diet look like?

During the initial consultation, your surgeon or dietitian will go over what your diet will look like after surgery. During the first two weeks after surgery, you will be limited to an all-liquid diet. You will need to drink at least 96 ounces of uncarbonated, non-caffeinated liquid per day. Staying hydrated is very important now.

It can seem daunting, especially if you’re used to eating whatever you want whenever you want. However, your body will be going through some hormonal changes as the amount of food intake lessens. You will feel fuller faster and the hunger pangs will subside in time.

In the following weeks and months, you will begin eating solid foods again. Lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, and other food as established by your dietitian. Carbs are a big no-no for many patients, as are sweet and fattening foods. We know it sounds hard, but you came to us to make a lifestyle change – this is what it takes.

What about physical activity?

As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. But don’t let that scare you too much: Our exercise physiologists will create a workout plan designed specifically for you. No two bodies are ever the same – perhaps you tore an ACL playing sports in college or were in a car accident that affected your mobility.

You won’t be made to run any marathons and strength training won’t begin until you’ve reached your target weight (somewhere in the nine-month to one year range). But you will need to start being more active, maybe for the first time in decades.

Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or climbing stairs in your home, the goal is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Our exercise physiologists will work with you to make sure you get your blood pumping – safely.

What about my emotional well-being?

There’s no reason to sugar-coat it: The months after surgery can be difficult for some of our patients. But WeightWise takes a holistic view when it comes to weight-loss surgery. We provide support group information for all of our patients as well as patient advocates.

We like to call them your own “Personal Cheerleader.” They will provide an empathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, as well as high fives when things are going great! They will also help with insurance information, scheduling questions, and will always be in your corner.

Ready to learn if gastric sleeve surgery is right for you? Our highly trained team of professionals at WeightWise is standing by to help you. Contact us today for details!