Gastric sleeve is an incredibly important tool in achieving real, lasting weight loss, but the work patients put into the process is what ultimately determines their results. In my (extensive!) experience, the most successful patients are those who create a few powerful new habits.
Habit #1: Make protein your BFF.
Right after surgery, you’ll be on a liquids-only diet and then gradually move to solid foods around week five. And when that glorious day arrives, protein will become your best friend in your weight loss journey. It should be your primary source of nutrition—around 70 percent of all calories you consume—because it helps prevent muscle loss, malnutrition, and hair loss as you shed pounds. So if you’re eating 600 to 800 calories a day, for example, you’ll need 60 to 70 grams of protein. Focus on lean proteins like fish, skinless/boneless poultry, eggs, and tofu, all of which have low carbohydrate and fat content. Eating quality protein at the beginning of any meal means you’ll have little room left in your smaller stomach for simple sugars that work against your weight loss.
Habit #2: Find exercise that you love.
There’s just no getting around the fact that exercise is key for gastric sleeve patients. Your best bet is to make it a habit right away; within the first four weeks of surgery, you should begin a regimen that you can stick with for the long haul. Start slowly, of course, with about ten minutes on the treadmill a week after surgery. Work your way up to walking around the neighborhood for 30 to 60 minutes, five days a week. Wait three to four months after surgery too add more intense moves like weight lifting. Keep in mind that finding an activity you enjoy is a huge factor in sticking to an exercise program. Many of our patients love swimming, so if you don’t know where to start, get your bathing suit on and hit the pool!
Habit #3: Lay off the wine.
Technically, you can drink alcohol after your gastric sleeve. But when making the decision to imbibe or not, know that wine, beer, and liquors have a ton of calories—none of which do your body any good. Also, you’ll feel the effects of alcohol much faster after your sleeve surgery than you did before. Just a little bit can lead to intoxication (and awful hangover consequences), but it can also hinder your ability to make good decisions about your food intake.
Habit #4: Water, water everywhere.
If you’re looking for something to sip on, make it water. Your goal will be two quarts of liquid a day—between meals only, though, to avoid a heavy sensation in your chest that comes from eating and drinking at the same time. Sip frequently, rather than trying to drink a bunch at once, since your stomach won’t accommodate large amounts of anything. And invest in sports bottles for your liquid intake so you don’t swallow air. Not a fan of plain water? Switch things up with drinks like sugar-free Tang, Crystal Light, and Diet Snapple—all popular with our patients and fine to drink after surgery. Note: steer clear of carbonated beverages, which can expand your stomach and cause pain.
Habit #5: Ban the scale.
Scales probably haven’t been your friend for a while now. But after gastric sleeve, many patients are tempted to reignite their relationship with the scale to watch the pounds drop off. Please don’t. If you must weigh yourself, do it just once a week to avoid driving yourself crazy and potentially sabotaging your efforts. The way your clothes fit (or not, as you shrink) is the best guide. Monthly photos are also a fabulous way to keep track of your progress, giving you visual proof of your healthy transformation.
These are some of the many habits you can do to make your weight loss easier and more successful, if you have an idea or want to try something, don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll give you a go ahead or I’ll give you some recommendations to improve your idea, remember that a change requires perseverance and above all be very patient, so do not despair! The change will come sooner or later, the only thing I ask from you is to not to give up and continue with your exercise routines and a balanced diet, remember your sleeve is a tool, you must learn to use it.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.