Post-Bariatric Surgery: Top Tips for Making Weight Loss Last


Bariatric surgery can help achieve amazing results when it comes to losing weight, but for those results to last, you have to make permanent healthy changes to your lifestyle. The staff at the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Program identified the following habits as the most important to adopt for your weight loss to last:

  • Eat breakfast. Studies show that regular breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer, possibly because they are jumpstarting their metabolisms (the calorie-burning furnace that shuts down when you fast overnight while sleeping) early in the day. Eating a balanced breakfast also helps prevent overeating at subsequent meals. Breakfasts that contain some kind of protein—eggs, yogurt, low-fat milk, or nut butters—tend to satisfy hunger for longer periods, so try to work some into your morning meal.
  • Fix your drinking problem. You might be surprised by how many calories you’re drinking in a day—calories that often come from sugar, without any nutritional value. Swap soda, sugary lattes, and sweetened juices for water, unsweetened iced tea, or Crystal Light. You can even flavor your own water with fresh fruits. “People can drop several pounds simply from cutting out soda,” says Emily Newell RD, LDN, CNSC, a staff dietician for the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Program at Pennsylvania Hospital. People often confuse hunger and thirst, drinking plenty of water can help you avoid mindless eating as well as prevent cravings.
  • Eat less, but more often.  When you’ve had bariatric surgery, your stomach can’t hold as much at one time so you’ll feel full faster. Eating smaller meals or snacks more frequently throughout the day keeps your metabolism revved and prevents you from getting so famished you overeat. It is very important to focus on foods that deliver nutrients such as protein, fiber, and vitamins. Prior to surgery, a staff dietitian will help patients set up a meal routine that can help make the post-op transition easier.
  • Cook more. Sure, it’s tempting to order off a menu, but most food prepared outside the home is loaded with fat and calories, and served in out-of-control portions. Cooking allows you to control how much you eat and limit the fat, sugar and salt content in meals. When you do go out to eat, use smart strategies such as asking for half your entrée to be wrapped before it’s even served, or ordering smaller portions from the appetizer or children’s menu.
  • Follow up. Some bariatric patients may re-gain weight or not lost as much as they could because they don’t follow through with the healthy habits they’ve been taught. Staying in touch with the professionals at the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Program will help keep you accountable and studies show it increases your odds of success. “They will see drastic weight loss if they are willing to work for it,” says Newell. “And we are always available by phone or email.”

Fore more information about the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program sign up for a free weight-loss surgery information session today.