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Life after surgery

Following weight-loss surgery, it is important to remember that recovery takes time and patience.


Following gastric banding, a stepwise advancement of diet is required. The goal is to advance to a "normal" diet by the fourth week after surgery. Patients start with a liquid diet and slowly advance to soft foods and then regular foods over many weeks. Foods are gradually returned to the diet using surgeon-recommended guidelines. Over time, patients learn how quickly to drink, how much to chew and what items are not well tolerated. No two patients tolerate every food item the same way. Be aware that:

  • The capacity of the food you can eat has changed.
  • You may experience discomfort and pain as your body heals.
  • Length of time to return to normal activities can vary from patient to patient.
  • Your healthcare team will advise you when to return to work and resume prior activities.

Tips for healthy living

  • Take it slow. Don't gulp, guzzle or rush through a meal.
  • Chew well (15 times per bite). Every bite of solid food needs to be chewed thoroughly.
  • Space your bites. Literally put your fork or spoon down in between every bite. Do not pick up your utensil for 45 seconds.
  • Wait to drink. Do not have a beverage at least 20 minutes before any scheduled meal, and wait at least 20 to 30 minutes after you finish eating.
  • Eat your protein first. The most important constituent of food for overall health is protein.
  • Avoid liquid calories. Beverages that are high is sugar (apple juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice) will quickly pass through your band with little to no sense or restriction.
  • Have three meals per day. Plan each day to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you must, pack your meals. Do not substitute meals with frequent snacks.
  • Avoid snacking between meals. The need to snack comes from failing to eat at scheduled and balanced meals. Instead of eating, drink plenty of water or other noncalorie beverages in between meals.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes three times each week. The importance of exercise cannot be overstated. Aside from the impact on weight loss, exercise will promote better food choices, improve confidence and help reduce cravings.
  • Listen to your pouch. When you are full, stop eating. When you begin to feel full, stop eating.


This special bariatric exercise program is designed for:

  • Patients planning to undergo bariatric weight-loss surgery.
  • Patients that have already had bariatric weight-loss surgery.

By participating in an exercise program prior to bariatric surgery, participants can establish a cardiovascular routine and begin strengthening muscles. By participating in an exercise program after surgery (after medical clearance), participants can enhance their weight loss safely while maintaining and increasing their muscle mass.

Program features

  • Personalized exercise program designed just for you and your health.
  • Individualized exercise programs including cardiovascular, strengthening, flexibility and balance components.
  • Emphasis on low- and nonimpact exercises to decrease joint stress.
  • Education on exercise progression to foster independence.

The program typically lasts six to eight weeks, with exercise sessions three times a week (as appropriate for each person). Your health insurance may pay for this service with a physician referral. This may be arranged through the Surgical Weight Loss Center.

When you are ready for discharge from the exercise program, you will be given several options for continued exercise. You will be guided in making a decision on where and how you would like to continue your exercise program.

This program is a vital part of the Surgical Weight Loss Center and will assist you in taking your first steps to a new, active lifestyle.

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