Obesity has been one of the major health issues in the United States for a very long time. For the past two decades, the number of obese and overweight people has been growing fast in more than 30 states of America. Beyond the statistics is a more pressing problem: the health problems that come with obesity. Sleep apnea, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and hypertension are just some of these health conditions that are often associated with excess weight. How does one lose weight aside from diet, exercise, and medication? Gastric bypass surgery is a well-know solution for overweight people who need to shed at least 100 lbs. However, surgery alone is not enough to maintain an ideal weight. It must be accompanied by post-surgery lifestyle changes that involve diet, exercise, and mental and emotional adjustments. The Right Diet after Weight Loss Surgery The most important thing that a patient should watch out after the surgery is his diet. The surgery involves changing the structure of the stomach and small intestines. The reduced stomach volume following the surgery limits that amount of food that the stomach can hold, which is roughly about 1 ounce. Thus, the patient must be careful with the kind and amount of food he eats. The patient needs to eat small meals at regular intervals everyday. Weeks after the surgery, the patient is required to eat pureed or soft foods for better digestion and to avoid complications such as nausea and vomiting. Examples of foods that can be eaten after surgery are pureed fruits, pureed vegetables, soups, oatmeal, and steamed desserts. Formal Exercise Program A day following the surgery, the patient can do some light walking—but not regular exercises yet. Two to three weeks are needed for rest and healing, and a formal exercise program can start as soon as the patient has fully recovered. Usually, weight loss surgery patients can start low-impact aerobic workouts four to six weeks following the surgery. The recommended exercises for those who have undergone weight loss surgery include yoga, Pilates, water aerobics, resistance band exercises, speed walking, and light jogging. Psychotherapy While it seems that weight loss surgery involves only the physiological aspect of the patient, the mental and emotional aspects must not be overlooked. Most surgeons recommend psychotherapy that people who are considering weight loss surgery. Psychotherapy prepares a person’s mind and emotions before the surgery so that he could cope easily with the bodily and lifestyle changes after the procedure. Failure to undergo psychotherapy prior to the surgery may lead to post-procedure problems such as eating disorders, constant food cravings, and emotional troubles. Stress Management To many people, eating is a great stress reliever. The diet limitations after surgery can be very stressful for many patients. What’s the best way to beat stress after surgery? Not food, not drugs, and not treatments. Simple changes in lifestyle can turn stressful days into comfortable and worry-free ones. Stress management techniques for people who have gone through weight loss surgery include deep breathing and relaxation techniques, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, and meditation. Trying a new hobby and joining support groups in one’s community are also good ways to manage stress after weight loss surgery. Gastric bypass surgery is the best remedy for obesity when diet, exercise, and medications fail. But even the most successful procedures won’t lead to weight loss without the right lifestyle changes. To help achieve a healthy lifestyle and effective weight loss, one must seek professional help from health care professionals, dieticians, and psychotherapists.
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