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Bariatric Surgery

Lifestyle Changes

What lifestyle changes will I have to make?

Obesity is a disease that needs to be managed by a long-term plan. After surgery it’s important to have a healthy lifestyle that includes:

  • healthy eating habits
  • taking vitamin and mineral supplements
  • making time for physical activity each day
  • keeping track of your goals in a journal
  • keeping track of your weight
  • managing your stress
  • getting enough sleep
  • getting support from your community, a support group, or friends and family
  • having follow-up with your healthcare team​

Will my eating habits need to change after surgery?

Bariatric surgery changes the size of your stomach and how it works. After bariatric surgery, you will have to make many changes to what you eat and how you eat including:

  • choosing small portions of food
  • eating slowly and chewing your food well
  • taking vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life

You will also need to avoid:

  • drinking and eating at the same time
  • drinks with bubbles (carbonated drinks)
  • foods and drinks higher in sugar
  • foods that are hard to chew, such as sticky, gummy, stringy, or tough foods
  • alcohol (right after surgery and in some cases long-term, depending on your health)

Talk to a dietitian to help you make healthy lifestyle changes.

What can I do to improve my weight and health right now?

There are many lifestyle habits that can help manage your weight and health.

Ask yourself if you’re ready to make changes

  • Think about what healthy habits work well for you.
  • Think about what has kept you from reaching your goals. Is there not enough time? Your mood? Not enough energy or sleep?
  • Ask yourself: Am I ready to make a change now?

Build healthy habits

Find ways to cope with stress and to ​reward yourself that don’t involve food. You may find it helps to go for a walk, spend time with a friend, read a book, or take time for hobbies you enjoy.

If you smoke, talk to your health care provider about ways to help you quit. You can’t have bariatric surgery if you smoke.​

Keep a journal

People who use a journal to track their progress are more likely to make changes that last a long time. In your journal, you can track:

  • what and how much you eat and drink
  • your physical activity
  • your mood or thoughts
  • how many hours of sleep you had
  • your weight (once a week, for example)

Be active every day

Make a plan to be active every day. If you aren’t active now, start doing a physical activity 10 minutes at a time. You can use a pedometer to measure how many steps you take each day. Record your number of steps in your journal.

Eat healthy

Eating fewer calories can help you manage your weight. Tips to help you eat fewer calories include:

  • Read food labels so you know how many calories are in your food and drinks
  • Choose smaller portions and use a smaller plate
  • Limit higher-fat foods and added fats
  • Limit sweets and extra foods such as candy, desserts, and snack foods like chips
  • Choose water and low fat milk most often. Cut back on drinks with added sugar and fat
  • Choose a healthy snack if you have a long wait between meals

To help you feel full with smaller portions:

  • Choose foods with protein at meals and snacks
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit at each meal
  • Choose foods with fibre like whole grains, vegetables and fruit​

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