For years before your operation you have fought your excess weight despite every effort. The reason for this is that significant excess weight is a disease. A chronic disease which cannot be cured by diet and exercise.
Your operation has now given you the ability to control your weight in a way you never could before. However, your operation is just the beginning of the journey of long-term success in controlling your weight.
Follow-up is essential to achieving the weight loss you want and maintaining that weight loss in the long-term.
In the first year after operation we have a specific program in which you will be seen by your surgeon, nurse and dietitian for multiple appointments. We will be supervising your weight loss and issuing guidance and help during this time. It is vital that you attend all your appointments, particularly your dietitian appointments.
At 12 months (6 months for bypass patients) from your surgery you will see one of our physicians, with results of your blood tests, who will advise you on any medical problems or vitamin deficiencies and arrange to treat these if necessary. Thereafter we will call for you every year and offer blood tests and an appointment with one of our physicians to check your overall health and well-being.
In general, we will not see you regularly after the first year unless there are problems.
It is important to remember that we have not cured the disease which, in most people, is at least partly genetic. Your operation doesn’t change your genes. Understanding that you have a chronic disease is vital to your long-term success.
It goes without saying that the guidelines we give you for your long-term diet need to be followed. Excess carbohydrates are one of the commonest causes of weight regain where this does occur.
It is important for your long term health to continue recommended supplements indefinitely. Significant problems can occur without supplements including bone weakening and serious depletion of vitamins and iron. You should attend as advised for blood tests and review either by a LapSurgery physician or your regular General Practitioner.
Physical activity is also vital to long-term success. Studies have shown that overall physical activity correlates very well with long-term success. You may choose to perform regular workouts in the gym, but the studies show good correlation with general physical activity as measured by a step count. Unless you have significant physical problems, you should be aiming for around 10,000 steps on four or five days of the week. If you have a sedentary job it means that you need to get out and do a reasonable brisk walk, especially on weekends.
If you have high blood pressure you need to check your blood pressure regularly. It is the same with your weight. You should be weighing yourself at least once every two weeks. If you put on a kilogram or two you need to work at it straight away. It’s always reasonably easy to drop one or two kilograms but if you start gaining weight, and put off treating it, you may gain more than four or five kilograms which becomes more and more difficult to manage. So, weigh yourself regularly and act quickly if there is any weight regain.
It is essential that you find a regular General Practitioner and visit them at least three times a year. When you visit your General Practitioner, you should ask to be weighed and discuss the ongoing management of your weight. Your General Practitioner should be your partner in achieving your long-term goals.
Your weight problem is a chronic disease and sometimes, despite your very best efforts, the weight starts going up. The key to stopping this from getting out of hand is to get back to us by making an appointment to see your surgeon as soon as you feel your weight is out of control.
We can help. The cause of weight regain is rarely due to a single factor. The reasons are nearly always complex and can be related to all sorts of issues which may be; psychological, related to food cravings, excess alcohol consumption and in rare instances there may be something wrong with your operation. We have a formal weight regain clinic where we fully assess all factors related to the weight regain and help you to overcome these. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of altering the diet, at other times problems such as food cravings or excess alcohol consumption may need the help of our psychologist.
We now have a new generation of drugs which have come out in the last few years which can be extremely effective in getting your weight back under control.