The decision to have bariatric surgery is never an easy one. In some cases, however, there may be no other options. Whether it was a long-lasting injury, a debilitating personal issue, or just an unhealthy lifestyle. But being obese or morbidly obese didn’t happen overnight. And it will take hard work after surgery to achieve a healthy weight once again.
Weight loss surgery is just one piece of the puzzle. Studies have shown the best way to lose up to 80 percent of unwanted weight is surgery, a healthy diet, and exercise. And not just for a few months after surgery, either. To reach a healthy weight, and stay there, it must be a life-long commitment.
Remaining Physically Active
Bariatric surgery patients will not be competing in triathlons in the weeks after a procedure. However, they will be able to plan and take part in specialized exercise programs almost immediately. For some, this could be walking around the neighborhood for 15-30 minutes a day.
For others, it could be starting an exercise routine involving weights, resistance training, and flexibility improvement after your doctor or exercise physiologist gives you the go-ahead. It doesn’t matter what the long-term goal is, either cardiovascular improvement or building muscle mass. The important thing to remember is your body is going through a massive change.
So start slow. Walking is a good first step (so to speak) and can be accomplished by almost any patient. Walking around the block for a week, then increasing it to two blocks if you can. Every little bit helps get your body used to activity – sometimes for the first time in years.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. The type of surgery you have will also determine how quickly you return to normal day-to-day activity. You’ll be able to return to those normal activities also immediately after laparoscopic surgery, a series of small incisions.
Toning Loose Skin
After 12 months of healthy eating and exercise, bariatric patients can expect to lose at least 65 percent of their excess weight. In some patients, that can be well over 100 pounds! This could lead to “sagging” skin, a condition where excess skin is left behind after a massive weight loss.
Cosmetic surgery is an option, though many bariatric surgery patients prefer other steps to tighten the skin around their stomach, legs, and arms. Some turn to strength training to develop lean muscle, which will help decrease the appearance of loose skin.
Other exercises can help improve muscle mass and perhaps return some elasticity to the skin. These include swimming, jogging, cycling, yoga, and other aerobic exercises. Although we said it’s important to start slow, you should build up to around 150 minutes of activity every week. This can be accomplished by exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Work With Weight Loss Experts
Meeting with an exercise physiologist is just part of the WeightWise program. We take a three-prong approach to bariatric surgery. Many facilities just work on one aspect of weight loss. With WeightWise, we take a holistic approach: There is the surgery itself, developing a nutrition plan, and creating a personalized workout routine.
All three work together to help you lose weight and keep the weight off. We want to stress this is not a six-month or two-year process. You will need to fully embrace this new healthier lifestyle in order to keep the weight off. This isn’t a diet or short-term workout plan – this is your new life.
When working with WeightWise, you will first meet with a bariatric surgeon. This conversation is to make sure you’re a viable candidate for the program. During this time, the doctor will find out more about you. Health history, the health history of your family, and if there are any injuries or factors that could hinder your weight loss.
This is also the time for you to ask questions about WeightWise. You’ll learn about different procedures, timelines for weight loss, and what to expect in the weeks and months after surgery. If you have any concerns or questions, now is that time to ask them.
If accepted, you will then meet with a dietitian and exercise physiologist. In both cases, you will discuss any issues that may interfere with your diet or exercise needs. For example, our diets may call for the lean protein found in fish or poultry. This will be a problem for a vegetarian or vegan diet.
That’s why we take the time to learn about each and every patient. Although there are similarities in diets, bariatric surgeries may require different diets and workout routines. Every situation is different – there is no one program that applies to everyone.
All Under One Roof
We believe having access to all of the services in one place is the most beneficial way to have a procedure. Instead of making our patients drive all over town to meet with us, a dietitian, and an exercise physiologist at different locations. By offering everything in one place, you will receive a comprehensive and consistent plan.
WeightWise also assigns a patient advocate to everyone accepted into the program. At different times, you may have questions about billing, insurance, and recovery. Your patient advocate will be able to answer those questions, provide a shoulder to cry on, and act as a personal cheerleader!
Interested in learning more about our bariatric procedures or the program as a whole? Make sure to check out our free online seminar to see why our program is so successful and then make an appointment. We look forward to seeing how we can help you or a loved one.