Weight loss surgery is designed to help fuel your weight loss journey. The surgery is only part of the process, and it’s how you attack the first few months after your surgery that will really dictate your overall success. With that in mind, we wanted to take a closer look at the first three months after your gastric sleeve weight loss procedure so you know exactly what you’re getting into and how to maximize your weight loss.
The First Few Days After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery is a procedure that works by removing roughly 75 percent of your stomach cavity. Without this extra space, you feel fuller sooner and for an extended duration after eating, which can help limit caloric intake and spur weight loss. However, lifestyle modifications and adjustments after surgery are a must in order to ensure your goals stay on track. Here’s a look at how you can do that in the first few days after gastric sleeve surgery.
You’ll likely be asked to stay overnight at the surgery center for anywhere from 1-4 days based on whether or not you underwent open or laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery. Once you’ve shown that you are physically capable and show no signs of complications or infection, you’ll be discharged home and begin a recovery regimen on your own. Two of the biggest aspects of recovery during the first week are pain control and activity. Stick to your pain control plan prescribed by your doctor and be consistent about any medications you’re taking. If pain develops or worsens, contact your surgical care team.
As for activity, while it may be a little uncomfortable, activity can actually help to spur recovery. Light activity like walking and stretching can help to improve blood flow, reduce clot risk and enhance healing at the surgical site. Strive for 30-45 minutes of light activity each day to help improve healing and reduce potential post-op complications.
First Month After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
After the first few days, you’ll transition to a care plan that ensures your first month gets off to a great start. This will include:
- Caring for your incision site – The majority of post-op infections after weight loss surgery occur 2-3 weeks after the operation, so it’s imperative that you clean your incision site properly. Report any signs of an infection to your specialist.
- Dietary Changes – The first three months are when the most weight loss tends to occur, with the average patient losing over 40 pounds during this period. That doesn’t happen by accident. You need to be smart and conscious about your food intake to ensure you’re making healthy choices.
- Exercise – Dietary changes are only part of the equation. For best results, regular exercise is a must. Start developing good habits during the first month that will stick.
1 – 3 Months And Beyond
Once you’ve made it through the first month of your recovery, it’s imperative to drive home those results for the next two months and beyond. As we mentioned above, the first three months is the period where most individuals see the biggest weight loss, so don’t take this time for granted.
During this period, diet and exercise will be the two biggest driving forces behind your weight loss. Even though you’ll be eating less because of the stomach reduction, it’s imperative that you’re consuming healthy calories. Your body still needs its daily amount of vitamins and nutrients, and if you’re making unhealthy choices, your calorie count will rise and your nutrient intake will fall. It’s fine to reward yourself once in a while, but don’t make a habit of choosing unhealthy options just because you’re eating less than you were before.
As you get further away from your surgery date, you’ll be able to take on more physical activity, so consider upping your exercise regimen from walking to something more labor intensive. This will only help to burn more calories and expedite your weight loss progress. Some people back off when they notice improvements, while others double down on exercise. Make it a point to exercise at least four times a week during the first three months of your recovery from gastric sleeve surgery and don’t slow down just because you see some progress. It will only get harder to lose weight after the first three months, so take advantage of this time.
For more information about the gastric sleeve procedure or cultivating a weight loss plan of your own, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and the team at the Bhatti Weight Loss today.