Weight Regain From Medications or Surgical ProceduresApril 25, 2022
Weight Regain From Medications or Surgical Procedures: One of the biggest fears of people who are considering or who have had weight loss surgery is the potential to regain their weight in the years following surgery. Many people who turn to weight loss surgery have spent much of their lives in a yo-yo pattern of losing and regaining weight, so this is a real and valid concern.
Weight Regain From Surgical Procedures
Studies show that as many as 50 percent of bariatric patients experience at least some weight regain within 24 months of surgery. The big question is, why?
For people who are significantly overweight or obese, weight loss surgery is a great option to help them shed significant weight, but it isn’t a quick fix. It takes a commitment to a lifestyle change, and people who lose weight need effective strategies in place to avoid a weight rebound in the future.
While surgical failure is possible, and there are other medical reasons for weight regain, the primary reason many patients start putting on the pounds is related to diet and their relationship with food.
Bariatric surgery is not a weight loss plan that allows you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Rather, it is a tool that enables your diet to be more effective, and patients must do their part to maintain weight loss for the long term.
Whether you have had bariatric surgery, or are considering surgery, here are five practical tips to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Five Practical Tips to Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Surround yourself with support for long-term success
Setting up a support network is absolutely essential to your success. Carefully consider your closest relationships. Do your family and friends encourage you and hold you accountable, or do they enable you to continue in your negative health patterns?
Whether you find support in these close relationships or not, locate a dedicated, post-surgical support group in your area. Nicholson Clinic patients have access to weight loss support groups for life, but there are also support groups available at hospitals and through other resources. A weight loss surgery support group can help answer your questions and guide you along your journey, and there’s no better support than that coming from others who are walking the same road and can truly relate to your experience.
Don’t neglect your post-op care
Sadly, we see many patients who achieve their weight loss goals and once they do, they never return for a follow-up visit. These visits are key to not only keeping you accountable but more importantly, tracking your success and keeping an eye out for any medical concerns that may lead to post-surgical weight regain.
When you are researching bariatric surgeons, ask about their philosophy of post-surgical care, and find a weight loss clinic that offers follow-up visits for as long as you need them after surgery (or, like Nicholson Clinic, for life!)
Other experts on your medical team who will be valuable to your success include a psychologist who specializes in emotional eating and behavior modification, a fitness expert, and a dietitian.
Reevaluate your relationship with food
You didn’t gain weight by having a healthy relationship with food. In our culture, we eat for celebrations. We eat for comfort. We eat for entertainment. This relationship with food is often complicated. If food dependency, emotional eating, or food abuse is the root cause of obesity, getting help to address the root problem is a must.
Once you are able to establish the why behind your relationship with food, you can begin to learn healthier eating habits, which can prove as difficult to break as bad ones and can help prevent weight regain.
Develop new habits
Rapid weight loss immediately following weight loss surgery is not uncommon. With time, however, weight loss will begin to slow and it can become easy to return to your old habits.
Early in your journey, it is important to establish new eating habits, including focusing on nutrient-dense food and lean protein. Eating low-calorie, filling foods like vegetables can also help you avoid weight gain while keeping you feeling satisfied. This is where a dietitian comes in. Schedule time to meet with a dietitian who can make individualized dietary recommendations based on your needs and help you create new, healthy habits.
When you begin to lose weight, you’re going to start feeling good again! take advantage of your new physique and your higher energy levels and establish consistent exercise habits. Most adults should be physically active at least five days a week. The American Heart Association recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise weekly. Regular exercise can make a big difference in preventing weight gain after bariatric surgery.
Remember, weight loss is a journey, and it doesn’t end with surgery. Avoiding weight regain in the future requires a shift in mindset and a desire to stick with your post-surgical plan.
We all experience setbacks from time to time. Don’t allow one slip to throw you completely off course. One poor food choice doesn’t have to determine your future, so don’t allow it to snowball into weight regain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Nick Nicholson is one of the nation’s leading bariatric surgeons. He’s been performing weight loss surgery since 2001 and has helped patients from ALL 50 states and 11 countries. He leads a team of top surgeons, specializing in Sleeve Gastrectomy, Gastric Bypass, LAP-BAND, Revisions, Gastric Balloon, and abdominal cosmetic surgery after weight loss. He practices out of the Nicholson Clinic for Weight Loss Surgery. Read more articles by Dr. Nick Nicholson!