Gastric bypass surgery, along with other forms of weight loss surgery (WSL), can be a life saving option for the morbidly obese, but it does have its drawbacks. Teens and adults alike risk losing bone mass and getting severe vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, to name just a few potentially harmful side effects.
To the yo-yo dieter, the decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery might seem like that “golden ticket” she’s been searching for all her life, but the post-op reality is often far from the Cinderella-like fantasy she’s been indulging in.
Here are 10 mistakes often made by gastric bypass patients which you should know about before electing for bariatric surgery:
Mistake #1: Not taking your vitamins!
Gastric bypass patients are given a medication to inhibit the production of stomach acids which are essential for digesting vitamins such as vitamin B12. Often in the case that a doctor releases his weight loss surgery patient with the ill advise to take a daily chewable multivitamin, such as the type given to children. The reality is, if you decide to go under the knife for weight loss surgery, expect to make a lifelong commitment to taking a heap of WLS-approved chewable vitamins every day in order to prevent vitamin deficiency, anemia, neurological damage and, in extreme cases, death.
Mistake #2: Thinking your struggles with food are over!
Nothing could be further from the truth; the body may have gotten slimmer, but your brain still longs for the good old days of binge eating. Behavior modification and counseling is crucial for successful weight loss, whether you’ve lost the weight naturally or on the surgeon’s table.
Mistake #3: Thinking you will be slim and trim!
Weight loss surgery patients do lose an immense amount of weight, as promised, but don’t expect to look like Pamela Anderson anytime soon; the reality is, many gastric bypass patients don’t reach their intended goal, nor do they necessarily keep all of the weight off. And remember, all that excess skin doesn’t just shrink back into your body; weight loss surgery patients often resort to plastic surgery, either for cosmetic or health reasons, to have a tummy tuck, arm skin flaps (batwings) removed or facial skin tightened.
Mistake #4: Eating unhealthy foods
Just because you can no longer fit a triple-decker cheeseburger and fries into your now petite stomach doesn’t mean you should try. Weight loss surgery patients are often faced with the difficult challenge of choosing food wisely at parties, evenings out and other situations where the sky is the limit.
Mistake #5: Not staying hydrated!
Bariatric surgery patients run a serious risk of dehydration if they don’t drink 8 servings of water per day. Additionally, water is crucial for avoiding kidney stones or gall stones, an excruciatingly painful and common side effect of many weight loss surgeries.
Mistake #6: Snacking!
Gastric bypass surgery is effective because it prevents you from fitting a large amount of food in you tummy at one time; resist the impulse to consume small mini-snacks throughout the day, lest you find yourself back in your pre-surgery body.
Mistake #7: Not exercising!
Alas, it amounts to this: aerobic exercise and weight training are that unavoidable truth lurking behind every weight loss goal, and bariatric surgery patients are not exempt. Physical exercise increases muscle, improves circulation, burns calories, provides energy and fights depression.
Even small amounts of refined sugars and flours can put on the pounds. Avoid white rice, starchy bread rolls and sticky sweets in favor of brown rice or barley, whole-grain breads or crackers and fresh fruits of the season.
Mistake #9: Drinking carbonated beverages!
Weight loss surgery patients are advised to avoid diet sodas and other bubbly drinks; many believe that they can inflate stomach pouch, reversing the effects of the surgery.
Mistake #10: Drinking alcoholic beverages!
Recent reports suggest that post-surgery, many gastric bypass patients develop a sensitivity to alcohol. Doctors recommend holding off on alcohol for at least one year after having any type of weight loss surgery.