“How soon will I lose weight after bariatric surgery?”
This is a common question that many patients inquire about who are considering weight loss surgery. And while the answer can vary case-by-case, your bariatric surgeon should be able to help you set realistic weight loss expectations.
Bariatric surgery is merely one cog in the wheel of your weight loss journey, however. Dieting and exercising must become a normal part of your life, or you may continue gaining weight despite surgery.
When you first consider weight loss surgery, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. Fortunately, your bariatric surgeon should help you determine the surgery that’s right for you.
Each surgery comes with its own set of risks and benefits. While there are many types of weight loss surgeries that are offered, the most common include:
- Gastric Sleeve -- A part of the stomach is separated and removed from the body, and the remaining sections of the stomach is formed into a tube-like shape which should reduce appetite.
- Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass– A small pouch is created at the top of the stomach, limiting the amount of food you can consume at any given time.
- Duodenal switch with biliopancreatic diversion – A large portion of the stomach is removed while the remaining portion is connected to a section of the small intestine (the duodenum).
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding – A balloon is fitted around the upper part of the stomach before being fixed in place, which can be inflated or deflated to regulate how much food you can eat.
Speak with your bariatric surgeon to see which surgery would benefit you the most.
Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Timeline
Bariatric surgery is a lifetime commitment. Even after the surgery has been completed successfully, your chances of long-term success will be inhibited greatly if you regress back to your old lifestyle.
One way to prepare yourself physically and mentally is to gain an understanding of what you should come to expect after you’ve undergone weight loss surgery. Let’s dive into a bariatric surgery weight loss timeline, so you can have a general idea of how much weight you can expect to lose in the weeks and months after surgery.
Immediately after bariatric surgery
Immediately post-surgery, you should follow a strictly liquid protein diet which should last for two weeks. When ready, you can eat soft and pureed foods.
You will likely find it difficult to move around during this period, but try walking for at least five minutes a day as you regain your strength. Eventually, you’ll want to work your way to walking for 30 minutes a day.
One to three months after surgery
By this point you should be transitioning back to a more solid diet. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try a range of foods to see what you can handle. If you struggle, stick to the liquid/pureed diet until you’re ready for more solid foods.
It’s important you begin to train yourself to reduce the portion sizes of each meal. Put enough food on your plate to satiate one person, not several.
Six months after surgery
By the six-month mark, you should have experienced a significant amount of weight loss. The approximate amount lost is typically contingent on the weight loss surgery you underwent.
For instance, gastric banding patients generally lose 1 to 2 pounds per week on average. Therefore, many gastric banding patients lose 25 to 50 pounds by the six-month milestone.
Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery, on the other hand, should see a far more significant loss in weight – as much as 30% to 40% in many instances.
Nine months after surgery
The nine-month mark is typically where patients are dealing with the complications that may arise from bariatric surgery. You may experience vitamin deficiencies, for example. Or, you may not be shedding enough excess body weight to make a notable difference.
Whatever the case, it’s important to visit your bariatric surgeon and dietician regularly to prevent complications from developing into serious issues.
One year after surgery
You should experience a significant loss of weight by 12 to 18 months. Gastric banding surgery patients typically lose around 100 pounds when they hit this milestone. Gastric bypass patients, on average, will have shed much more weight by this point though it varies from person-to-person.
Additional Factors That Will Impact Weight Loss
While bariatric surgery will significantly improve a patient’s ability to lose a large percent of their excess weight and lower their body mass index, long-term success will be completely contingent on a complete lifestyle change.
This means cutting foods that don’t contribute to healthy living. Foods to avoid include:
Speak with your dietician to learn more about changing your diet. You will significantly improve your chances of adopting and maintaining a new healthy diet if you have a roadmap to follow. Your dietician will also be able to recommend the vitamin supplements you should be taking to offset any nutritional deficiencies.
Just as importantly, you must incorporate exercise into your life. The more calories you burn through active exercise, the faster you’ll lose weight, and with the right commitment, you’ll keep it off for good.
Keeping the Weight Off Through Diligence
Weight loss surgery takes a significant commitment that will last a lifetime. However, you can meet your target weight goal if you’re willing to make drastic changes in the way you eat and exercise in addition to bariatric surgery.
Aftercare services are vital to long-term success. Checking in with your bariatric surgeon and dietician regularly post-surgery will keep you focused on improving your health.
At Olde Del Mar Surgical, we’re known for our surgical excellence and comprehensive post-surgical follow up care. Don’t leave your future in the hands of just anyone. Contact us today for more information.