You will normally go home after six days. By then you will be eating small amounts of semi-solid foods, showering yourself and attending to your own personal needs. You will require some help with normal domestic activities for at least one or two weeks, particularly if you have a young family.
As with any major operation, there will be a period of four to six weeks during which you will need more rest than usual and during which you will slowly increase your level of activity.
By four to six weeks after the operation you can expect to be back to performing everyday activities and can return to work. Your eating pattern will steadily improve over the first few weeks as the internal swelling related to your surgery subsides. You will be able to eat more normal foods but will require only a small amount before you are satisfied.
You will arrive at your final eating pattern by trial and error. During this learning phase you should expect to have occasional episodes of regurgitation if you eat the wrong type of food, or eat too much too quickly. You will certainly learn to identify those foods which cause difficulty but it is always worth trying to come back to them a few months later.
Your eating pattern will improve steadily over the first few months. A year after surgery most people will be eating a wide range of foods though still in relatively small amounts. Because your intake of food will be severely restricted by your operation, you will be need to take multivitamins for the rest of your life.
Most people will lose some hair during their rapid weight reduction but this will stop when the rate of weight loss slows some six months after your operation. The hair that is lost usually breaks off, rather than coming out by the roots. It will usually grow back.
Some people may be left with loose skin but regular exercise may help to prevent this. Cosmetic surgery may be a solution if the problem is not acceptable.
The changes you need to make
Your dramatic weight loss after gastric bypass surgery will bring with it many rewards but youll need to make some changes to ensure it is as successful as possible.
- Establish good eating habits with three regular meals a day and preferably no snacks in between.
- Chew food well and eat at a leisurely pace.
- Eat good foods. You are only able to eat small amounts because of the operation so you must ensure that what you eat is nutritionally best for you.
- Take regular exercise. Establish a pattern of spending some time each day on a form of mild exercise.
As weight loss occurs most people find tremendous benefits follow in their personal lives as a result of the boost to their self-confidence and the altered attitude of others towards them. Some people find that when they lose weight after gastric bypass their spouse/partner behaves unexpectedly towards them. This is usually a reaction to their own growing self-confidence and may be rooted in insecurity. If this occurs it may be wise to seek professional counselling to assist through this time.
Those who have relied on eating to help them cope with tension, irritability or depression may find this a particular problem and will have to learn new coping methods. Where massive obesity has for years been the main or exclusive focus of dissatisfaction in a person's life, other problems may be neglected and allowed to pile up. Sometimes weight loss exposes these other problems again it may be wise to seek professional help.
We are happy to talk to you about the range of counselling services you may want to consider.
Connecting with others
There are a number of on-line sites where you can connect to others who are contemplating, or have had weight loss surgery, such as the New Zealand Bariatric Surgery Support Group (Facebook) and the Weight Loss Surgery NZ Trust.