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Bariatric Focus: Success Tips for the First Year

The first year is a year of challenges and new beginnings. What does it take to be successful? Here are a few quick tips. See how you are doing!

Find a routine that works for you. Every patient needs a plan and a routine. Find times to take your vitamins, eat your meals , and drink your fluids. Many patients write a schedule or use alarms to remind them. After a while, it will become a habit.

Protein First.. Always remember that your new stomach is significantly smaller than it used to be. The majority of what you eat needs to be protein. Chicken, turkey, fish, yogurt and cottage cheese are all great sources of protein. And don’t forget your protein drink as a meal substitute when you are short on time!

Fit Fitness in: One of the biggest predictors of weight loss success is exercise! Find something you love to do and start moving. Small amounts of activity is a great way to start.  Remember that Virginia Hospital Center offers a number of “Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle” exercise classes you can take advantage of.

Expect challenges and find a solution. You will experience challenges through-out your process.. A pitch in, a non-supportive co-worker, or a cold day which makes exercise a struggle. Take each one as a learning ex-perience and move on. If you’re not perfect, no big deal. You’ll know how to solve it the next time.

Get the Support you need: Find friends, family members or co-workers who can support you on your journey. Don’t forget about bariatric support groups offered at Virginia Hospital Center.

Don’t forget to follow-up:  You should see the surgeon and the dietitian every 3 months the first year after your surgery. Even if you are feeling great, you may have some issues or may be developing some deficiencies that you are not aware of. Follow-up is critical to a smooth first year after surgery.


Expect changes in appetite, taste of food after weight loss surgery

Changes in appetite, taste and smell are par for the course for people who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery during which one’s stomach is made smaller and small intestines shortened.

These sensory changes are not all negative, and could lead to more weight loss among patients. Their findings, published in Springer’s journal Obesity Surgery showed that after gastric bypass surgery, patients frequently report sensory changes.

Questionnaires were sent out to patients who had undergone the procedure at the University Hospitals of Leicester between 2000 and 2011. In total, 103 patients answered the 33 questions about appetite, taste and smell set to them. Of the respondents, almost all (97 percent) reported changes to their appetite after having the surgery.

Their experiences varied, with subjects reporting that their sense of smell and taste were either unchanged, heightened or reduced.

Forty-two percent of respondents said their sense of smell changed. Seventy-three percent of patients noted change in the way food tasted, and especially in their sweet and sour palate. Respondents especially noted a change in the taste of chicken, beef, pork, roast meat, lamb or sausages, while fish, fast foods, chocolate, greasy foods, pasta and rice were also high on the list.

Three out of every four (73 percent) patients noted that they had developed an aversion to specific foods after the surgery. Meat products topped the list, with one in every three patients steering away from chicken, minced beef, beef steak, sausages, lamb, ham or bacon.

Starches such as pasta, rice, bread and pastry and dairy products such as cream, ice cream, cheese and eggs were a no-no for almost 12 percent of respondents. Only 4 percent of respondents reported having an aversion for vegetables, 3 percent for fruit, and 1 percent for tinned fish.

Interestingly, patients who experienced food aversions enjoyed significantly more postoperative weight loss and reduction in their body mass index (BMI) compared to their counterparts without such dislikes. They typically experienced weight loss of around 8 kilograms and a loss of BMI of 3 kg/m2 greater than their counterparts.

It is still unclear what the role is that perceptual changes in the taste and smell of food play to influence calorie intake, meal composition and subsequent weight loss following bariatric surgery. The authors believes the sensory changes are due to a combination of gut hormone and central nervous system effects.

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