Weight loss surgery is a complex decision that involves deliberation between you, your family, friends and surgeon. Medical advice is instrumental in deciding if it is right for you, and if so, which option is best.
All patients need to keep in mind, however, that weight loss surgery is not a sprint; rather, it is much like a marathon. Surgery is not the ultimate solution for your weight and health related problems or a short term fix. It is simply one element in solving obesity-related health issues.
Dr. Arthur Kim, Bariatric Surgery, Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge, and the comprehensive team of weight loss experts, offers education on the top five tips for weight loss surgery success:
Dietary Management - Healthy eating is a crucial part of your weight loss journey and planning is one of the keys to success. Before you go to the grocery, make a list of a few breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas that you can rotate throughout the week. The key is variety in moderation so it is not too overwhelming. After you go grocery shopping, portion out produce and nuts, and batch cook staple foods like an egg and veggie casserole, grilled chicken and roasted vegetables. Planning ahead will make healthy eating during the week less stressful and will set you up for success.
Exercise - Physical activity is important not only for weight and heart health, but it also improves our mood and outlook on life. If you cannot exercise for long periods of time, it is just as beneficial to do 10-15 minutes of activity 2-3 times per day. Start by walking and taking the stairs and, as you get stronger, incorporate more moderate physical activities that you enjoy such as biking, weight lifting and yoga. If you are having a hard time fitting exercise into your day, block out time for it on your calendar and treat it like any other appointment. Your health should be one of your top priorities.
Family Support - Family support plays a major role in your weight loss journey and it is important for family members to understand the lifestyle changes that you will be encountering before and after surgery. You should discuss with your family the type of surgery you are having so they know what to expect after surgery. It is key for them to understand your reasons and motivation behind having the surgery. They need to be supportive of your weight loss goals and your new lifestyle. Some things to discuss with them are meal planning, exercising and their willingness to change their lifestyle as well. It is also helpful to find someone who has had the surgery and listen to their experiences. You have the power to not only reach your weight loss goals, but also to help improve the health of your family.
Understanding the Journey - Understanding the surgery is imperative to your success. You need to have a basic understanding about the surgery, including its indication, technical aspects, possible complications and effects. If you know the details of the surgery, your outcome should be significantly improved and you should cope better during the recovery phase. You are now an active participant in your own post-operative care and are also helping your surgeon to better care for you. So if you don't understand the details of the weight loss surgery, simply ask your surgeon.
Support from your Medical Team - Undergoing the weight loss surgery does not guarantee a successful outcome, but the surgery does play a very important role in helping you lose the excess weight that you want to shed. Weight loss does not happen in a few weeks; it takes several months to happen. It will not be easy and that is why your medical team here to help you. Have you seen people running in a marathon? They appear to run alone to the finish line, but actually each marathoner is running with other marathoners (other patients with weight loss goals) and also coached by trainers (your medical team members.) The medical care team essentially runs the weight loss marathon with you.