Steps for Preventing Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery

Many people try to diet and exercise but are unsuccessful, going through phases of yo-yo dieting and ever-increasing weight gain. That's when people turn

Steps for Preventing Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is a life-limiting disorder that often produces several comorbidities. Currently, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and more than one-third are considered obese. Worldwide, the number of obese adults is expected to number 1.2 billion by 2030.

Many people try to diet and exercise but are unsuccessful, going through phases of yo-yo dieting and ever-increasing weight gain. That's when people turn to weight loss surgery from qualified bariatric surgeons to achieve significant weight loss and regain their health.

Gastric sleeve and laparoscopic bypass are the two most popular surgical procedures to help people lose weight. More severely obese people often opt for gastric bypass or a more drastic procedure called duodenal switch, which alters the intestines and makes the stomach smaller. The average excess weight loss for gastric bypass patients is 65%, meaning that the average person who is 100 pounds overweight will lose 70 pounds. Some people lose more.

Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery is Common

Nevertheless, weight regains after bariatric surgery is a genuine problem. About half of patients eventually regain some weight after hitting their low point, usually about 18 months after their procedure. Most people keep at least 50% of their excess weight off after ten years. If you have 100 pounds of excess weight and lose 70% of that, your average weight regain is eight pounds. However, not everyone is successful in achieving weight loss following bariatric surgery. Weight regain can decrease the procedure's efficiency in mitigating diseases associated with morbid obesity.

Reasons for Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery

Several factors make it more likely for bariatric surgery patients to lose less weight or gain it back following their procedure. These include:

● Your weight before surgery. Losing weight before surgery will set the stage for sustainable weight loss and make it less likely that you'll experience weight regain.

●Alcohol or drug abuse. Substance abuse makes it more likely that you will revert to old habits.

● Lack of a solid support system. If you don't have family or friends supporting you, or if you have no access to nutritional counseling, you're more apt to put pounds on.

● Your post-surgery psychological state. Psychological and behavioral factors like food addictions can increase food intake and decrease feelings of well-being.

Tips to Avoid Regaining Weight

Fortunately, most bariatric patients respond well by reminding themselves why they committed to losing weight and restarting their lives. Only a small percentage of patients need revision surgery because their metabolism isn't responding sufficiently to their altered digestive system. Take the following steps to give yourself the best chance at successful weight loss and avoid regaining weight.

Follow Instructions From Your Bariatric Surgeon

Losing as much weight as possible prior to your procedure will increase your chances of maintaining your weight ten years after surgery. Starting the process of losing weight and learning how to eat correctly before surgery sets the stage, especially for morbidly obese patients with a BMI over 40. Surgical intervention is only a tool, not a quick fix. You need to do the work. Continue to follow your doctor's advice for the rest of your life.

Address Binge Eating Disorders and Alcohol and Drug Problems

Before surgery, you'll undergo a psychological evaluation so your doctor can approve the procedure. Addressing these problems is essential as addictions can complicate recovery, while an unaddressed binge eating disorder can significantly affect how much weight you lose. Be honest with your doctors and work with them to get these problems under control.

Make Physical Activity a Priority

Start increasing your physical activity once your bariatric surgeon clears you. The more you move, the more calories you will burn. Try to be physically active most days of the week by incorporating cardiovascular and resistance exercises to build muscle mass, an essential component of a healthy metabolism. Start slowly by walking and increase the time and intensity as you become more physically fit. Make your goals attainable. When you hit a weight plateau, add another component to your workout regimen to help move the scale downward.

Get Nutritional Counseling

Slip-ups are inevitable, but working with a bariatric dietician can help remind you of your diet guidelines and help put you back on track to good eating habits and the road to long-term success. Follow up with your dietician periodically, especially if you start to regain weight. Your dietician, along with your doctor, can help you address increased food urges or your mental health if you begin to experience negative feelings. A patient who doesn't address these issues will tend to put on pounds.

Try a Pouch Reset

Experts are divided on whether you can stretch your stomach pouch after gastric bypass surgery. Your smaller stomach will continue to expand and contract like before surgery. Many people think their pouch size has increased when, in truth, they have fallen back to consuming more food than necessary. A pouch reset mimics the original bariatric surgery diet that you followed in the weeks immediately following your procedure but at an accelerated pace. It starts with consuming clear liquids and progresses through all food stages. The pouch reset gives you a chance to recommit to portion control and the lifestyle modification needed to keep off pounds successfully.

Participate in a Good Bariatric Support Group

Those who actively participate in weight loss surgery support groups have a body mass index (BMI) about 10% lower than those who do not. Regularly talking with others who have undergone bariatric surgery will help you address emotional eating issues and the support you need to get through setbacks.

Most patients can prevent weight gain after gastric bypass surgery or another procedure. Good weight maintenance is possible. You just have to remember to work at it daily for the rest of your life.