Recovery & Nutrition

After bariatric surgery, you'll work with your team of professionals who'll help guide your nutritional training. Weight-loss surgery doesn't fix everything, and your work post-operatively will ensure successful weight loss and future weight management.

Recovering from Surgery

Most patients stay one night and return home the day after surgery. However, if you have health complications, like diabetes, your doctor may recommend an extra day or two to ensure your safety.

When can I return to work?

Most patients return to work three weeks after surgery. By the third week, you'll be able to drink enough to stay hydrated through the day.

Will I have excess skin to be concerned about?

Although this is always a personal decision, many patients feel they don't have enough skin to cause concern. However, excess skin removal can be done by a plastic surgeon if desired.

Talk to your doctor and medical team about these options. Insurance is likely to pay for this removal if the skin is causing irritation or other health issues.

Diet, Vitamins & Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

After progressing through the initial diet phases and resuming normal textured foods, you should be able to eat most foods. However, some food might not be tolerated in the long term, and your smaller meals will emphasize healthy options.

General Diet Tips for Success

By following some general diet tips, you'll practice safe and healthy habits that will make your weight loss surgery a success:

  • Consume at least 3 meals daily (approximately 1 cup in volume for each meal) and limit snacking between meals
  • If you snack throughout the day, choose foods moderately high in protein and low in calories
  • Stop eating with indications of fullness. It can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to register your stomach is "full," so if you feel a pressure in the center of your abdomen, just below your rib cage, your body is telling you to stop eating
  • Add your protein intake every day to ensure you're meeting the requirements. Inadequate protein intake can result in hair loss
    • Minimum protein for women: 60-70 grams per day
    • Minimum protein for men: 70-80 grams per day
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of fluids daily. Be sure to stop drinking fluids 15 minutes before your meal and wait 1 hour after your meal before you start drinking liquids again
  • Mild spices, herbs, salt, and pepper are permitted to add taste, but do NOT use sugar, honey, molasses, and syrups. Sugar substitutes like Splenda, Equal, and Sweet-n-Low are acceptable
  • Read food labels closely. Avoid high sugar foods, like sweets, juices, and sodas. Aim for no more than 10-15 grams of sugar per serving of food in one sitting

Vitamins & Minerals

Your doctor will prescribe some vitamins that will help you with post-operative recovery and nutrition. Each surgery has specific vitamins that are most beneficial, but many include supplements like multivitamins, vitamin B12, and iron.

  • Begin taking these vitamins and minerals when you start the pureed diet phase.
  • Do not take vitamins on an empty stomach.
  • If iron causes nausea or stomach upset, you can try a slow release formula such as Ferretts Iron or Ferro-Sequels.
  • Take iron and calcium at least 2 hours apart for the best absorption.
  • Do not take vitamins and minerals with tea, coffee, or cola.
  • You will need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life.

Exercise & Fitness

Your doctor will help coach you on when it's appropriate to reintroduce physical activity after your bariatric surgery. Exercise helps you meet your weight loss goals and provides cardiovascular benefits, improving heart and lung function and building muscle mass.

After bariatric surgery, it's recommended to aim for 36-60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, if possible.