Bariatric Surgery-Aftercare

Four Reasons Not to Blow Off Bariatric Surgery Aftercare

August 31, 2022

Over the last ten years, I have learned much about obesity, motivation, complacency, and self-love. On March 21, 2012, I had Bariatric Surgery, RNY, and my life changed forever. The biggest lesson has been, “You don’t know what you don’t know!” At the age of fifty-four, I accepted the fact that I needed help essentially with food nutrition, lifestyle, and exercise. My goal was and is to be in control of the disease that has been affecting me mentally and physically all my life. However, I cannot do this alone; my focus has been on a new me, and checks and balances have come from my bariatric surgery aftercare. 

The day of surgery is ground zero, day one of a new life. I have relied on my Bariatric Surgery Aftercare, support groups, and the bariatric community to educate me, keep me on track, and help when I feel overwhelmed. My life has changed in so many ways, with over one hundred and fifty fewer pounds no longer weighing me down. Bariatric Surgery was an investment of self for me. As my new life took off, my health became my top priority.  


Bloodwork- my report card

My bloodwork results are essential for my short and long-term success, my report card for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and an update on current lifestyle changes. In addition, if I am experiencing nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or not sleeping, the labs may signal the reason. 


Complacency is the thief of reality

When the honeymoon period ended, weight loss tapered, my confidence was soaring, and I felt like I had conquered the disease that held me hostage. Finally, my body was celebrating better health; no C-Pap machine, new clothes, and my jewelry was finally comfortable to wear again.   However, as soon as my focus changed for any reason, reality reminded me that I am responsible for what I put in my mouth, focus, concentration, and commitment to stay on point. Weight loss surgery is a tool that must be fine-tuned and works when I work it. 


Exercise – Over time, exercise routines can become stagnant

Changing to a different routine and time durations was suggested to me, and I found this advice to be essential to staying committed to physical self-care. Trying something new, like a spinning class, I found to be exhilarating at a new lower weight and gave me a “can do” attitude toward cycling. Training for a 5K, Sprint Triathlon, and water sports helped reshape my body and boost my mental self-care. Bariatric Aftercare helped me understand my body and incorporate the correct amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, which is essential for my stamina, and suggestions on changing my routines.


Mental health

I have found healthy food choices can be challenging when life happens, and food prep, exercise, and emotions can become overwhelming. Getting back on track to talk through a new situation, overcome grief, or even discuss positive self-talk has helped me regain control.  

Over the last ten years, my bariatric surgery aftercare has been my lifeline to continued confidence, stability, and success.   

Cathy Arsenault serves as the Bariatric Patient and Family Adviser on the UNC REX

bariatric surgery aftercare
Cathy Arsenault


Cathy Arsenault is dedicated to Bariatrics and Patient Experience. She serves as the Bariatric Patient and Family Adviser on the UNC REX Patient and Family Advisory Council and co-chair, sits on the Bariatric Surgical Service Line and Peer Rounds on Pre-Op and Post Op Bariatric patients daily.