Obesity surgery can change your life. In fact, that’s one of the main purposes of bariatric surgery — to give patients renewed energy, vigor and opportunity. But all of these things take an investment from the patient, as well. Once patients are given a fresh start with obesity surgery, they must make sure to take care of themselves in order to maintain it.
“Weight loss surgery is not just about losing weight,” Dr. Dirk says. “It is about engaging in the life changes needed to become a healthy person.”
So if you’re considering kick-starting your health with weight loss surgery, what do you need to do to ensure success? First and foremost, the patient must eat healthfully and exercise, Dr. Dirk says.
Dr. Dirk makes it easy to eat healthily. He provides a nutrition plan for all his patients to guide them after they leave the operating room. Patients eat five to eight small meals daily — mainly proteins and other nutrient-dense foods.
Because of the way obesity surgery works, patients’ bodies tell them when enough is enough, so small meals make the perfect portions. Patients enjoy eating all types of meat and healthy foods, and are even able to eat dessert — their body stops them once they have enjoyed all they need. Patients can even drink alcohol, although most report they become “cheap dates” when their tolerance goes down with their weight.
As for exercise, Dr. Dirk recommends an hour of aerobic exercise every day. When he follows up with patients after surgery, those who exercise are the first to see their medical conditions, like diabetes or blood pressure, improve.
The exercise program may seem daunting at first, but one of the great parts about obesity surgery is the renewed energy. It will help make the workouts easier and be a great reward for keeping up with your health post-surgery.
“My patients tell me that their fatigue disappears and that they look forward to getting out of bed in the morning,” Dr. Dirk says. “They say they can play with their children, go on walks, walk on the beach and in the park.”
The rewards far outweigh the work, but remember, there is work involved. Obesity surgery is not a cure-all, but it is a great way to reset your body and your life to make way for a better tomorrow.
“This surgery is about you, your health and your life,” Dr. Dirk says. “Once this surgery takes place, you are in charge of your future. Make it a great one!”