One of the questions sleeve gastrectomy patients ask on a regular basis is, “Will my stomach stretch after surgery?”
Will your stomach stretch over time? It’s entirely natural, healthy and essential for your lifelong success. The key is being mindful of the volume of food you ingest and choosing nutrient dense proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Healthy stretching of your stomach postoperatively is necessary to get enough nutrients to stay healthy. However, it can become a problem if patients are mindless in their eating behaviors or engage in emotional or binge eating, causing unnecessary stomach stretching, which could lead to weight regain.
We encourage patients to think through their past actions and choices that lead them to become obese in the first place. Whether lifestyle choices, dietary choices, emotional eating, pharmacology, or other unhealthy behaviors were at play.
Weight Regain after Gastric Sleeve
Although difficult, patients can regain weight after sleeve surgery for a variety of reasons. A larger stomach, will not necessarily cause weight regain. Weight gain can be a multifactorial problem; The key is to remember that gastric sleeve surgery is a tool to support healthy behavior change.
Causes of Weight Regain After Gastric Sleeve:
- Binge/emotional eating
- Lack of control of impulse eating
- Inactivity or Immobility
- Overconsumption of sugary or alcoholic beverages (we don’t endorse the consumption of alcohol)
- Hormones in Meat
- Lack of sleep
- Pregnancy or Menopause
- Imbalanced meal planning
Weight regain will be hampered by any of the leading causes. It’s important to be cognizant of any barriers that may be contributed to being obese in the first place.
Thus, if you’re re-gaining weight postoperatively, it’s important to revisit and assess what choices lead you to the current state you are in now.
How to Keep Weight Off After Sleeve Surgery
Because your stomach will stretch after surgery, it’s important to adopt healthy lifestyle choices. If patients go back to their same eating and lifestyle choices they had preoperatively, they will inevitably gain weight at the same rate they had before. Lifestyle changes and eating nutrient-rich foods will help to produce substantial weight loss and keep the weight off. Remember, the gastric sleeve was performed in your stomach, not in your head.
Ways to minimize unhealthy re-gain after surgery:
- Balanced meal planning with lean proteins, healthy fats, and non-processed carbohydrates
- Portion control: do not overeat
- Training your taste buds to like non-sweet beverages like water, herbal teas, and True Lemon products
- The practice of Mindful Eating
- Do not drink with your meals; it pushes food through your pouch faster causing you to be hungry faster
- Stress management tools like meditation, yoga, exercise, and mindful walking
- Treat yourself with no- food items
Exercise, yoga, mindfulness and meditation are highly recommended to ease stress and help emotional eating.
Exercising to Stave Off Weight
Patients will need to keep moving to maintain weight loss; this is especially important as they get further from their surgery date. Patients focusing on intensity and not the duration of physical activity will have the most success postoperatively. Those who engage in exercise will also experience a multitude of additional benefits.
- Weight Lifting
- Speed Walking
These exercises are not for all patients – please consult with your physicians. If you drink high-calorie sodas and fruit juices, you may not lose weight. This is the same as consuming alcohol.
FOR SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME AND PREVENTION OF STOMACH STRETCHING AFTER GASTRIC SLEEVE SURGERY
- Take small bites
- Eat slowly, pause between bites and chew your food to enjoy the taste.
- Be cognizant of your body’s response to being satisfied.
- Use a smaller plate as smaller plates holds less food.
- Avoid overeating
- Portion Control
- Do not drink when you eat. Stop all liquids thirty minutes before and thirty minutes after. This will allow fluids to not to take up space for nutrient dense foods or push the food through faster.
- Stop mindless snacking; the only snack when you are physically hungry and chose whole food options like nuts, avocado, boiled eggs, vegetables and fruits
- Use healthy recipes that are suitable for people who have gone through sleeve surgery.
- Remember progress, not perfection; stay focused on your “why.”
- Create a healthy routine
- Get involved in our support group – Mexico Bariatric Center via FB.
- Get help if need by our Registered Dietitian and Health Coach.
Are You Ready to Make the Life Long Commitment?
Although weight loss surgery is one of the most successful tools for long-term weight loss, it is important to understand surgery is NOT a weight loss guarantee. People go into weight loss surgery thinking they have instant success, this for many is not the case. There is a set of bariatric guidelines that are essential for long-term success. For long-term weight loss success, this decision is much more than just deciding to have bariatric surgery. You need to prepare and realize that changes will need to be made in many areas of your life like work, family, and your social life. Remember this is a lifestyle commitment which means you are committing to changing a variety of aspects in your current life.
Weight loss surgery is a very powerful tool to ASSIST you in long term weight loss. Before you take the step to have bariatric surgery be sure to think about all the reasons you want to have surgery and is it worth the effort, it will take on your part, to make the lifestyle changes that are essential for long-term success.
Guide to Gastric Sleeve Surgery: