If you undergo weight loss surgery, you are normally allowed to leave hospital one to three days later, but each case depends on the individual.
Generally, you will be able to resume normal activities within four to six weeks after the operation, but your life after weight loss surgery will need to see a number of changes incorporated.
If you needed weight loss surgery, it is likely you had a history of poor lifestyle habits; eating unhealthy foods, overeating, not exercising etc. It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle after your surgery to avoid ending up in this situation again.
Diet after weight loss surgery
Your surgeon or doctor will provide you with a comprehensive diet plan you need to follow after surgery. While these are tailored to each individual and the surgery they underwent, they typically read like this:
For the first few days, you only consume water and fluids such as thin soup. Over the first four weeks, you consume runny foods such as yogurt. In weeks four to six, you incorporate soft foods such as mashed potato, before slowly easing back into a healthy, balanced diet.
You will also be told to avoid certain foods, such as white bread, which can block your stomach. Due to the nature of your diet, you may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements, and also take extra care chewing and swallowing food.
Exercising after weight loss surgery
Exercising regularly is just as important as a healthy diet for achieving weight loss. Your doctor or surgeon may give you an exercise plan, but essentially you just need to perform physical activities that increase your heart rate and leave you feeling out of breath.
Brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are all good activities, or even something as simple as gardening or housework could help.
The key with exercise is to find something you enjoy doing, because then you will want to do it all the time and find it much easier to lose weight, and maintain your weight loss in the long-term.
When should I seek medical help?
Contact your doctor or the non-emergency NHS help service (dial 111) if you experience any of the following symptoms in the days or weeks after your operation:
- Intense and constant stomach pain (especially if the pain is worsening)
- A fever above 100 degrees
- Black stools, with a tar-like consistency
- An infected wound
- An abnormally fast heartbeat
- Repeated vomiting
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
Visit your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms in the months after surgery:
- Stomach pain that comes and goes
- Feeling nauseous most of the time
- Occasional vomiting
- Diarrhoea that doesn’t go away
- Feeling faint, flushed or sweaty occasionally
- Coughing in the night
You will have to attend numerous follow-up appointments for the rest of your life after having weight loss surgery, which will check your health and provide advice and support, both physical and emotional.