Sometimes weight loss eludes you constantly. No matter how much you try, the pounds just refuse to melt away. Exercise and dietary changes definitely help, but don’t affect the obese and severely obese. Despite their best efforts, they find it difficult to shed the stubborn pounds. But there is an option for them, which can prove to be a permanent weight loss tool; called the bariatric surgery sleeve.
It is an excellent permanent procedure with very less chances of complication. What is a bariatric sleeve though? It’s basically a surgery to help with weight loss. The surgeon removes a large part of your stomach. The new sized down stomach limits the amount of food you eat, by making you feel quite full, even after eating small quantities of food.
Why People Opt for A Bariatric Surgery Sleeve
Severe obesity is one of the toughest stages of obesity. The feeling of being trapped in a vicious cycle of weight gain and some more weight gain is very pertinent. You might have tried numerous diets – but no matter what, the weight gain does not stall, it just continues to increase.
Research and science have substantiated that individuals who are affected by severe obesity are somewhat resistant to maintaining weight loss attained by usual therapies, such as consuming fewer calories, following an exercise regime and so on.
Bariatric surgery however, is considered an effective treatment to combat severe obesity and maintain your weight in the long term.
How Does Bariatric Surgery Work?
Bariatric surgery, further classified into the gastric sleeve, sleeve gastric bypass and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, works by transforming the structure of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach and digestive system.
It also causes different physiological changes in your body that completely transform your energy balance and the way fat is metabolized.
Whichever bariatric surgery procedure your surgeon deems fit for you, it is very important to remember that it’s only a weight loss tool. It is only a significant part of your weight loss journey; not the complete weight loss journey.
Weight loss success also depends on how you balance and maintain the other important factors, namely nutrition, exercise, behavior conditioning, and so on.
When you change your gastrointestinal anatomy, there are certain bariatric procedures which affect the proliferation of intestinal hormones. It works in such a way that it is able to reduce the hunger and appetite, and increase the feeling of satiety.
Finally, you will then be able to reduce your appetite and also curb your constant hunger pangs. There is a glaring difference between the hormonal changes brought about by surgery, to those brought by weight loss.
Interestingly, these surgically-induced changes in hormones are opposite to those produced by dietary weight loss. Here’s a lowdown of the differences in hormonal changes between surgery and dietary weight loss.
Bariatric Surgery and its Impact on Hormones
The hormonal changes following bariatric surgery improve weight loss by maintaining or enhancing energy expenditure (calories burned). In fact, in some surgeries, the energy expenditure is increased in comparison to the changes in body size. Thus, surgical weight loss has a higher chance of lasting than dietary weight loss, as an appropriate energy balance is created.
Dieting and Hormonal Changes
In weight loss brought out by dietary means, energy disbursement is reduced to levels lower than could be otherwise predicted by weight loss and changes in body composition. This unbalanced environment in energy can lead straight to weight regain.
Substantial weight loss also has a greater impact on your body to help remove the factors that lead to the deformities in fat metabolism. Once you have lost a significant amount of weight, you will be more enthused in pursuing more number of physical activities.
People who drop the pounds embrace a healthier lifestyle and resort to exercises like walking, swimming, biking and other physical activities.
Also, once you achieve a trimmer frame, your body composition changes and your body’s ability to burn fat is further enhanced. You embrace a much more positive attitude and your stress levels dramatically decrease too.
Major weight reduction like bariatric surgery is also instrumental in reducing hormones such as insulin, which controls sugar levels; and cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, which controls or influences several other factors that result in fat storage. You need to be physically active in order to be able to control obesity.
Bariatric surgery drastically reduces mortality rate. The exceptionally high reduction in mortality rate with bariatric surgery is due to the fact that it keeps away diseases that have a direct link with obesity.
Bariatric surgeries also significantly control your fluctuating blood sugar levels, and in some cases, also help you get off the medication.
In the past, diabetes was regarded as a disease that can be only be controlled, but not cured. Doctors advised patients to reduce their weight if they happened to be overweight or obese; they were also given medication to be used for an entire lifetime.
These treatments can definitely control type 2 diabetes, but cannot cure or cause a remission of the disease. Bariatric surgery however, can put diabetes into remission, but only in a few patients, of course! This is also possible only with support from diet and exercise.
What can you expect before the Bariatric Surgery?
Gastric bypass and other types of weight-loss surgery are performed in the hospital. Like any other major operation, general anesthesia is required for this weight-loss surgery. This means that you will be made unconscious during the procedure.
The nitty-gritty of your surgery depends on your specific situation, the type of weight-loss surgery you are required to undergo, and the doctor’s or hospital’s advice. A few weight-loss surgeries are usually done with the traditional method, that is large, or open, incisions in your abdomen.
But today, most types of bariatric surgery are generally performed by the laparoscopic method. A laparoscope is a small, tubular instrument which has a camera attached to it. The laparoscope is thrust inside the body through small incisions in the abdomen.
The tiny camera right on the tip of the laparoscope gives the surgeon leeway to see and operate inside your abdomen. All this, without having to make the traditional large incisions.
Laparoscopic surgery is the kind of surgery you can recover faster from, compared to the traditional methods of surgery, but it’s not for everyone.
The surgery usually takes several hours. After the surgery, you are taken to a recovery room, where the medical staff monitors you to find out whether you have any complications. Your stay at the hospital may last from three to five days.
What to Expect after the Bariatric Surgery?
After the weight-loss surgery, you are generally not allowed to eat for one to two days, so that your stomach and the digestive system get ample time to heal.
Then, you’ll be asked to follow a specific diet for about 12 weeks. The diet starts with liquids only, then gradually moves on to soft foods, and eases into regular foods.
You may still have certain limits or restrictions on how much and what you can consume, as far as food and drink are concerned.
You’ll also have to have to undergo frequent medical checkups to maintain and monitor your health in the first several months following the weight-loss surgery. You may need to undergo laboratory testing, blood work, and various tests.
You may also experience and endure various changes as your body tries to get used to the drastic weight loss in the first three to six months after the gastric bypass surgery, which includes:
- Body aches
- Feeling abysmally tired, quite like the flu
- Feeling cold
- Dry and parched skin
- Hair loss and thinning
- Mood fluctuations
Specific Diet to Follow after the Bariatric Surgery
You know that your diet should largely consist of liquids immediately after the operation, but what exactly should you include in your diet, as you progress to semi-solid and then to solid foods?
Always stick to the diet your surgeon has instructed. You will have to consume soft pureed foods for at least two to four weeks.
This diet includes foods that have the consistency of a smooth paste or a thick liquid. There should not be any solid pieces of food in the mixture.
The first week after surgery or the Stage 1
Consume clear liquids only. These may include:
- Sugar-free Popsicles
- Decaf Tea
Week 2: Stage 2
A complete liquid diet which includes protein shakes.
Week 3: Stage 3
You are allowed to consume-soft-pureed foods, which include,
- Cottage Cheese
- Scrambled Eggs
Week 4: Stage 4
- Mashed or soft foods
- Boiled chicken
- Mashed potatoes
Week 5 and beyond – Stage 5
- Gradual Introduction of real foods.
- Consume limited portions.
- Chew mindfully and eat slowly.
- Eat about 3 small meals a day.
If you feel hungry, you can eat a small, healthy and a nutrient dense food as a snack. Consume your protein but don’t forget to have vegetables and fruit.
A Few Tips to follow
Here is what you should do if you feel uncomfortable after a heavy meal,
- Try to drink water an hour before your meal and an hour after you finish your meal. This allows your body enough time to digest the food and also make room for fluids and vice versa. You must ensure that you don’t eat and drink one at the same time.
- Take care not to drink carbonated beverages. The carbonation process can put unmitigated stress on your stomach.
- Snack smart, and remember, your in between meal snacks should be nutrient dense and small.
- Plan your meals well in advance. Try and focus on small portions of nutritious foods. Nutrient dense foods keep you satiated for longer and give you the nourishment your body requires.
You also need to remember that if you overeat once, you haven’t ruined your newly sized-down stomach. It’s just that you need to get back on track as soon as you possibly can.
Remember that you need to stay hydrated. Your body will have to sustain itself from a lot of fluids, and get nutrients which it will no longer be getting from regular solid foods.
If you’re diabetic, do ensure that you check your sugar levels regularly. Your diabetic medications will be reduced when you are discharged.
Your Activity Levels Right after the Operation
It is at this point, that you will probably start to feel extremely tired. Your diet is reduced and your body is not used to functioning on the drastically reduced number of calories. Also, since your body has been put through a lot because of the surgery, its energy is channelized to recover from the surgery.
Your doctor’s instructions will be to take ample amount of rest. Some doctors will insist you walk a few times a day, around the house. Keep your activity restricted as you won’t have the energy to do much more.
Climbing stairs is allowed, but take slow and small steps. Don’t carry anything heavy up or down the stairs with you.
Skip driving for a few days, as it is not permitted while taking pain medication. You can lift, but only something which you can do comfortably with one hand.
The Physical and Mental Transformations
You will undergo a massive transformation and it won’t be easy to accept the sudden transformation. No matter how much you condition your mind that you are up for it, you may not be able to handle the changes.
Right after the surgery, you will start to lose weight very quickly. The massive weight loss leads to fluctuations in hormone production. The changing levels of estrogen and testosterone result in sudden mood swings. That’s when the support of your family and friends can help you tide over such situations.
But the bright spot is that these things gradually pass. So, if you are angry and upset, make sure you do not take solace in food. Also, even if you have had a bad day, do not let gluttony become a vicious cycle. It gradually steers towards a stretched stomach and weight gain.
In addition to weight loss and type 2diabetes, gastric bypass surgery may also improve on other health conditions like,
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Severe sleep apnea
The type of weight-loss surgery which suits you largely depends on your specific health condition. Your surgeon will take all factors into account, which include your body mass index, your health conditions if you have undergone any previous surgery, your eating habits and also the risks linked to each procedure.
Even if you undergo gastric sleeve surgery, there is no running away from exercise and diet. The surgery is not a quick fix and you need to embrace a complete lifestyle change to reap its benefits.