Published on October 21, 2019

Keeping Weight Loss on Track After Bariatric Surgery

When you’ve tried—and failed—to lose weight for years through diet and exercise alone, bariatric (weight-loss) surgery may seem like the fast track to success. Over time, most people do lose large amounts of weight after such surgery.

Yet healthy lifestyle changes remain important, too. In fact, they can boost your long-term results. The tips below can help you stay on track.

Don’t slack off on healthy eating. Following bariatric surgery, your appetite may be reduced and easier to satisfy. But you still need to make smart choices about what you eat and drink. Getting plenty of protein is particularly important. It not only helps stave off hunger, but also helps keep your muscles strong during rapid weight loss. Good sources of protein include lean meats, eggs, dairy products, tofu, and beans.

Have a plan for managing stress. Any big life change, even a positive one, can be stressful—and losing a lot of weight certainly falls into that category. In addition, you still have to deal with the ordinary ups and downs of daily life. Stress that isn’t managed well can lead to poor eating choices. So, have some stress-relief strategies ready, such as practicing yoga, going for walks, and spending time with supportive friends.

Find pleasant ways to stay physically active. Regular physical activity is helpful for maintaining long-term weight loss as well as managing stress. But if it feels like an ordeal, you’re less likely to do it. Look for activities you enjoy (or at least don’t mind doing). That includes both formal exercise, such as taking a fitness class, and informal ways to move more, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Up to half of people who lose weight following bariatric surgery regain a small amount after two years or more. But regaining large amounts of weight isn’t typical. If you notice the number on your scale creeping up again, the steps above may help you get back on track. For further suggestions, talk with your bariatric care team.