The secret to any successful weight-loss procedure actually happens in the weeks and months after surgery. It’s a three-part process that starts with surgery and ends with a lifetime of healthy eating and physical activity. Being able to stick to a healthier lifestyle is the only way to lose unwanted weight and keep it off.
Unfortunately, many patients that seek out bariatric surgery are those that have spent years not taking care of their bodies. Even a walk around the block becomes too difficult, so they just stop trying. Constant snacking and foods with no nutritional value are the norm and health begins to decline.
Gastric sleeve or bypass surgery is a great starting point to get back to a healthy weight. The hard part is then making the needed mental and physical adjustments to keep moving forward with this new lifestyle. Many patients want to hit the ground running so to speak.
However, bariatric surgery is still surgery and there needs to be time to recover fully enough to begin an exercise program. After all, if you just had knee surgery, you won’t be ready to run again for a few months – if not longer. Changes in how weight-loss surgery is performed had a great effect on shortening that timeline.
Types Of Surgery and Recovery Time
In the past, many procedures were performed using “open” surgery. Surgeons used one large incision to perform bariatric surgery, whether it was the gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, or gastric bypass. The recovery time was long and patients had to wait a couple of weeks after surgery before being able to get up and move around.
With laparoscopic surgery, that recovery time has been cut dramatically. Using a series of small incisions for the procedure, most patients are able to walk around a little bit just hours after surgery. In a day or two, they will be able to resume normal day-to-day activities like shopping for groceries or even returning to work.
Starting an Active Lifestyle
As the saying goes, you’ll need to learn to walk before you can run. If you are obese or morbidly obese, chances are you won’t be taking a 2-mile stroll anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start with a 2-block trek a few days after surgery. The idea with any exercise plan is to start slow and easy
Not only will it give the weight-loss surgery extra time to heal, but you’ll also prevent other injuries from happening. If you start exercising at a million miles a minute, you could be doing great harm to joints, ligaments, and tendons. Remember, they haven’t been used very much, so sudden stress could push them past a breaking point.
This isn’t to say you can’t set goals for yourself, you just need to do it the right way. There are millions of beginner workout plans on the internet. But these routines aren’t personalized for you. Consider talking to a personal trainer or health care professional about exercising safely.
What To Focus On
Have you had little to no physical activity in the past year or two? Or maybe exercising has never been your thing. Burning calories, getting the heart rate up, and breaking a sweat are fine and dandy. But doing too much, using the incorrect form, or not being efficient in your workouts may end up doing more harm than good.
You don’t want to spend the first month or so hurting yourself or being discouraged by your progress. That’s why it’s recommended that you see a professional for the right way to begin a fitness program. After bariatric surgery, you’ll want to concentrate on three things:
Flexibility – The key to any physical activity is being able to have full movement. Stretching your muscles before activity not only helps warm you up but increases the flexibility in your joints and muscles. After taking a stroll to begin warming up the body, follow a stretching routine. You feel better during the workout while preparing your body for the upcoming workout.
Strength Training – It doesn’t matter if you want to get into powerlifting or just want to tone up. You’ll need to improve your muscle mass for either one. You’ll definitely want to start slow here, too. Not being able to move the next day certainly won’t do you any good.
Cardiovascular Improvement – The best way to lose weight through exercise is to build up your endurance levels. Through aerobic exercises, you’ll be able to work out longer and recover faster. Even moving quickly during strength training will help improve your stamina.
Work With The Experts
Although different people have different needs, every adult should get at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity five days a week. This is enough to get the body moving while still allowing for recovery time. At WeightWise, all of our bariatric surgery patients are assigned an exercise physiologist to create individualized programs for maximum – and safe – results.
We also provide a dietitian to help with your meal planning and overall diet as well as a patient advocate to answer any questions you may have about insurance, finances, or scheduling. They’ll also root you on when you’re having a hard time. Consider your patient advocate as your own personal cheerleader.
Watch our free online seminar to see how our program works. Every aspect is designed to keep you safe and moving forward at all times. When you’re ready for a complete lifestyle change, reach out, and schedule an appointment with one of the bariatric surgeons. We look forward to working with you!