8 Tips For The Bariatric Patient
Thinking about getting bariatric surgery? The benefits from this weight-loss procedure are life changing, and according to the ASMBS, the number of bariatric surgeries increased to 179,000 as of 2013. Here are some tips for the bariatric hopeful.
Mr. Right Doctor
We cannot stress enough the importance of the right fit between you and your doctor. This person is about to guide you into one of the most important events in your life, and if you’re not a 110% comfortable with them, you shouldn’t move forward. Trust and communication are key when it comes to the doctor-patient relationship. A trustworthy bariatric surgeon is board certified, has documentation of his work and probably has a ton of patient referrals willing to vouch for him. Do your research on bariatric surgeons online, including reading testimonials and checking out every option. Don’t be afraid to ask every single question and resolve every doubt. This is your life we’re talking about, and the right doctor will not rush you and understand your own personal process.
The pre-op process is lengthy and vital for the outcome. These are a few important points:
- Do your research. Understanding the surgical process and what to expect afterwards will make this fly by more easily. Talk to people who have gone through it before, and make sure you have a support group. This is not only a physical makeover, but an emotional one as well.
- You will have to make changes pre-op. Losing a bit of weight before surgery reduces risks and speeds up the recovery process. If you smoke, you will definitely have to stop. Your surgeon will also have you go through a qualification process tailored to your specific case.
- Bear in mind that your life will truly completely change after this. Your eating habits will be modified for the rest of your life, so you must be mentally prepared for this 180°, have an outlined plan to maintain your weight-loss after surgery and be able to follow through.
Working out is equally important in pre-op & post-op. Increasing your level of fitness is obviously good for your mental and physical state, and focusing on cardiovascular exercise improves heart health, decreases body weight and helps lose fat. Be sure to work with caloric facts and medical guidance as to not overdo it and hurt yourself. After surgery you should gradually incorporate low intensity physical activity in your daily routine, with the guidance of your doctor or health care specialist. Without a doubt, exercise will form a key part of your success for the rest of your life.
Easy As Pie
A diet designed specially for the post-op bariatric patient is imperative to ensure the goals are reached, i.e. help the body heal and modify their overall eating habits. It’s truly important to follow the recommended guidelines carefully prepared by your health care providers for this situation. The purpose of a diet is to limit the amount of caloric intake you consume without sacrificing balanced meals that help you achieve optimum nutrition and preserve muscle tissue. It also helps to get used to new portion sizes, lose the actual weight and avoid side effects from the surgery. Some general guidelines would be:
- Eat balanced meals with small portions.
- Follow a diet low in calories, fats and sweets.
- Keep a record of your food portions and of your calorie and protein intake.
- Eat slowly and chew small bites of food thoroughly.
- Do not use straws, drink carbonated beverages or chew ice. They can introduce air into your pouch and cause discomfort.
The specifics of your diet should be discussed with your personal health-care specialist. Needless to say, life after surgery is going to be very different, and you have to be patient with yourself and ease into this new and improved lifestyle. Have some fun looking for (or making your own!) creative recipes for this new phase of your life.
We’ve all heard the 8-glasses-of-water-a-day rule, and as obvious as it may seem, this essential liquid plays a key part in your metabolism. Although most of us take it for granted, water has many qualities almost tailored for the bariatric patient. Apart from naturally suppressing the appetite, studies have shown that the amount of water you drink has a direct relationship with the decrease/increase of fat deposits in your body.
This is because our kidneys can’t work at their full potential without enough water consumption. When this happens, some of their work is passed on to the liver. The liver, as we know, metabolizes fat into energy, but when it has the kidney’s load on top of that, it can’t fulfill its task properly and metabolizes less. Consequently, the fat remains in the body and weight-loss suddenly becomes way more difficult, so be sure to stay hydrated!
No Mama Drama
You most definitely and obviously cannot go through bariatric surgery while pregnant or while still healing from this beautiful process, but there are some things you should know about when looking forward to pregnancy after weight-loss.
- After a bariatric procedure your body is going through a LOT. A body that is losing weight rapidly and adjusting its nutritional deficiencies is not a good habitat for a baby. Experts recommend waiting 18 months after surgery so your body is in tip-top shape for the newcomer.
- According to a 2004 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who’ve had bariatric surgery have a higher risk for a cesarean process. The causes are not exactly clear, but the results are. Talk to your ob-gyn from the beginning so they can guide you in these issues.
- Great news! A 2005 report of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing tells us that women with obesity-related fertility problems see a significant improvement in their fertility after weight-loss surgery.
- Remember that our bodies and minds are inextricably linked. You may have to deal with body image issues when your body starts changing again during pregnancy. From accepting this change in your physicality –again- to coming up with strategies to lessen stress-eating and sticking to a good diet, make sure you’re ready for the pregnancy journey.
When considering weight-loss surgery, most people tend to think about the bariatric process only, when in reality there are more decisions to make. Massive fluctuations in weight often cause the skin to lose its elasticity, so it can no longer shrink back to a smaller size and shape once the excess weight has been lost. This can leave post-bariatric patients with loose excess skin that hangs off the body in folds. The board-certified plastic surgeons at VIDA Wellness and Beauty realize this and for each specific case, there are several procedures that can solve this.
Patients who have undergone major weight loss surgery generally see body contouring as the next step. This consists in a combination of procedures that address the problematic areas in each situation. Generally it targets excess sagging skin on the buttocks, excess skin on the thighs and hips and/or limited fat deposits in lower body areas. To correct all these aesthetic concerns, plastic surgeons offer the post-bariatric lift, which focuses on upper body and lower body.
For instance, for patients needing extensive contouring throughout their entire lower bodies, lower body lift surgery can include abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery), lateral thigh lift and Brazilian butt lift surgery. For other patients requiring less extensive body contouring, the CosMed plastic surgeon may only include abdominoplasty and thigh lift surgery. To get a broader sense of the post-bariatric lift, you can click on the following link:
A lifestyle change is easier said than done. The weight-loss experience can be a hard and emotional one, even when you have the means to recover in luxury. Support is what will get you through this process more than anything else. Readjusting almost all of your life can be terrifying, and we know that. That’s why we recommend keeping your dear friends close by for familiar warmth, group therapy with people who have gone through the same ordeal and can advice you on things they’ve been through themselves, or life coaching from a certified specialist that can give you psychological and emotional support through your brave journey.