Life After Surgery


The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to your bariatric surgeon's recommended guidelines.

Food Choices

Understanding the impact of foods on your body is very important. Bariatric surgery provides an individual with a tool to assist with weight loss and to maintain the weight loss long term. Changing what foods are consumed and reducing the amount of food consumed are very important to the success after bariatric surgery. Long-term weight loss is possible as long as the individual learns to make lifestyle changes and learns to use their bariatric surgery as a tool.

Our program promotes a very low calorie diet. The consumption of protein, fruits, vegetables, and very low calorie beverages aids in healthy weight loss and long-term maintenance after bariatric surgery.  


You need to consume adequate lean protein every day. Protein is needed to promote healing after surgery and to prevent muscle loss during weight loss. Protein is a vital nutrient that is needed by all parts of your body. Every 1-oz serving contains about 7 grams of protein. Meat and meat substitutes vary in the amount of fat they contain, which influences the amount of calories each serving contains. We recommend lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, egg whites, and fish.  We do not recommend fatty proteins such as bacon, sausage (polish, bratwurst, kielbasa), breakfast sausage, luncheon meats, hot dog, cheese (American, cheddar, Colby, Monterey jack, Swiss), and peanut butter.  These all contain protein BUT are high in fat!


Vegetables contain important nutrients, such as carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and fiber. Each non-starchy vegetable serving contains 5 grams (g) carbohydrate, 2g protein, no fat, 1 to 4g fiber, and only 25 calories.  One serving equals 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables. Purchase fresh or frozen rather than canned vegetables. They have less salt.


Select whole fruit. It has more fiber and is more filling than fruit juice. Each serving of fruit contains 15 grams of carbohydrate, no protein or fat, and has about 75 calories.


Do not drink and eat at the same time. You are encouraged to drink right up to the point you put the first bite of food in your mouth but then you must stop drinking. Please wait one hour before you start to drink your fluids. Drinking and eating at the same time defeats the purpose of being able to eat a small amount of food to feel satisfied after surgery as the food will be flushed through the stomach instead of being delayed.  We recommend 64 ounces of very low calorie beverages per day. Fluids are very important to prevent dehydration. If your urine is dark or your mouth is dry, you are not drinking enough. Do not drink high calorie drinks such as milk shakes, soda, alcoholic beverages, and juices. Avoid carbonated beverages because they may stretch the stomach pouch and cause discomfort.   Reduce caffeine; caffeine is an appetite stimulant.

effects of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are easily converted to sugar in our bodies, which is then stored as fat. Eating a high carbohydrate diet is a common cause of weight gain. High carbohydrate foods increase blood sugar levels, which causes a rise in insulin levels, which, in turn, can lead to food cravings and increased physical hunger. Many carbohydrate-based foods are high in calories, sugar and fat and low in vitamins and minerals. These foods add “empty” calories to our diet. After surgery, eating a high carbohydrate diet can cause you to become full on carbohydrate foods, preventing you from being able to eat adequate amounts of protein.

going back to work

The LapBand, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Gastric Bypass are performed laparoscopicly. Healing time for laparoscopic surgery is much shorter than an open surgery. Recovery time is also shorter. Patients return to work on average 2 to 6 weeks after surgery; depending upon which surgery they have and the type of work. Keep in mind patients are not only walking the day of their surgery but are instructed to walk when they are at home to help the healing process and prevent complications.  

family planning & pregnancy

Fertility may be increased with weight loss. Women of childbearing age are strongly advised to use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 24 months after weight loss surgery. We strongly discourage women from purposefully attempting to become pregnant for the first two years after surgery since we want both you and the baby to be healthy and safe. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.  Once a stable weight is reached, many women go on to conceive and deliver healthy babies.

long-term follow-up

Follow-up care does not mean just the first year after bariatric surgery. Long-term follow-up care is vital. Follow-up allows for close monitoring and counseling of patients on their progress, giving them the best chance for long-term success. Weight loss surgery involves lifestyle changes that are not easy to make and even harder to maintain.

Complications can arise after the first year and require the special skills and knowledge of the bariatric surgeon and dedicated team of specialists. Nutritional and metabolic problems can be easily treated or avoided with long-term follow-up care. 

support groups

All of our patients are encouraged to attend support groups both preoperatively and postoperatively. Several support groups are held weekly at different scheduled times and locations. These meetings are confidential and led by a staff member. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, and learn how postoperative patients perceived the operative process and adjusted to behavioral changes (i.e., smaller portions, increased time chewing, avoiding fat, carbohydrates, and sugar). A support group provides you with a group of people that have gone through the same experience you are about to undergo. Similar experiences are shared and friendships may be formed.

Patients who attend support group meetings are more likely to have successful weight loss both initially and long-term. The biggest advantage of support group is in helping a patient realize they are not alone. A support group can also help a patient develop new skills to relate to food and social situations that involve food choices.

You may find that you go through different stages of change during the entire surgical weight loss process. You may fluctuate from denying that you needed surgery, to considering behavioral changes and preparing for change. Even at maintenance, you will continually meet new challenges. Other patients and staff can help motivate you as you proceed on your weight loss journey.