Can you regain weight after weight loss surgery?
It is common to observe that within the years of weight loss surgery, patients regain weight, but they can still keep off over80 % of their excess weight after 5 years. Statistics of Average Weight Regain After weight loss surgery are as follows:-
- 50% of patients regain some weight after 2 years
- After reaching their lowest weight, the weight regain could be in the range of 8-10%
- In ten years post-surgery, the excess weight loss is still over 50%
- After Laparoscopic surgery, patients lose between 65-80% of their weight anyway.
- The good news is that 80% of morbidly obese and 65% of super obese keep at least 50% of their excess weight off after 10 years.
Why does weight regain happen after Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Several factors cause weight loss or weight gain following gastric bypass surgery. Addressing and preparing these concerns before the surgery makes all the difference. Let’s look at some of them in detail:-
- Addiction to alcohol and drugs.
- Not following dietary restrictions.
- Lack of medical and emotional support system
- Lack of self-disciple and skipping workouts.
- Alcohol or drug abuse – Some patients are under the impression that since they had the surgery, they can safely return to their previous addictions, which only worsens. After the surgery, alcohol consumption is not recommended since it is very quickly absorbed into the system, and the sedative effect lasts longer. Additional complications also arise due to which they may not achieve the goals of the surgery and may need revision surgeries.
- Not following dietary restriction – Anyone who undergoes bariatric surgery should remember that it is just one point in their journey towards ideal weight. Hence, they should follow the diet plan as suggested by the doctor. If they had eating disorders before the surgery, then most likely they will go back to them.
- Lack of a medical and emotional support system- Weight loss journey spans over the years, and the patient might reach a tipping point where they lose motivation. In cases of morbid obesity weight loss happens over some time which might cause anxiety and worry which in turn causes weight gain.
- Skipping workouts – Initially, the patients exercise regularly, but as soon as they start observing weight loss, they might lose motivation and slowly start cutting down the exercise routine, which is counterproductive for weight loss. Exercising after the surgery positively impacts weight loss and also enhances mood. Rather than doing alone, it would be good to join a gym or hire a professional trainer if you can afford it.
How to Avoid or Reverse Weight Regain After Gastric Bypass Surgery
While a little weight gain is likely to occur after hitting the lowest weight, one can do the following to keep the weight regain to a minimum:-
- Find a support system – Talking to your doctor and sharing your feelings with someone on the same path greatly helps to stay motivated. Some clinics offer continuous weight loss programs. It would be good for the patient to enrol in them. One can also find support from family and friends or join a reliable online community. It has been found that active patients within support groups have a 10% lower weight than those who do not.
- Controlling if eating disorders- Binge-eating, eating more than necessary, eating at untimely hours can lead to weight gain. Hence, one must take the necessary steps to combat such disorders. Counselling, self-restraint and goal setting can certainly help an individual to stay on track with their diet.
- Lose as much weight as possible before surgery – Although the patient has been advised to undergo bariatric surgery, that should not stop them from losing as much weight as possible before the surgery. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits should be practised before the surgery to be easily continued afterwards.
- Address alcohol and drug abuse problems before undergoing surgery itself – Be honest with your doctor in the pre-surgery evaluation to guide you properly in overcoming alcohol consumption.
- Follow your bariatric doctors religiously – Experienced doctors like Dr V. Pareek are with you throughout your weight loss journey and not just at the time of the surgery. Usually, patients are regular with their appointments during the first year. Afterwards, they wander away. Regular consultation helps the patient address concerns that might arise after the first year. Even if you are having trouble keeping up with the diet, exercise and reduction of alcohol, your doctor will be able to guide you appropriately.
- Continue to get nutritional counselling –Dr V.Pareek has an excellent team of surgeons and nutritionists. It is equally important to stay in touch with your nutritionist. Bariatric surgery alters and modifies the food intake, which means the nutrition levels in the body also change significantly. Your nutritionist will help you to balance your diet in such a way that you will get sufficient nutrition without gaining weight.
Bariatric surgery is life-saving for many who are suffering from life-threatening conditions due to obesity. The success of the surgery largely lies in the care that the patient takes after the surgery, but remember, you are not alone in this journey. Dr V.Pareek and his excellent team will guide you throughout the process, providing you not only medical support but also counselling from time to time.
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