Practical Gastric Sleeve Recovery Tips
Passing the gastric sleeve recovery period is not a piece of cake, but it can become more convenient if you think about everything beforehand and prepare yourself. You should take care of your mental health by visiting a psychiatrist and having your own support group. Before the surgery date, you should prepare yourself for the upcoming changes. Also, you must follow your diet and exercise plan. One of the ways to do this is to make changes in your home and grocery list. Read more about these points and other gastric sleeve recovery tips in this article. Good luck! 🙂
1- How to Handle the Mental Side-Effects
I’ve talked thoroughly about both the positive and negative psychological effects of weight loss surgery before. Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the invasive weight loss procedures which makes fundamental changes in your stomach and digestive system.
After surgery, even you can’t eat as you did before. If you haven’t prepared yourself for these changes, you won’t be able to adapt yourself to your new body, and guess what, there’s no way of going back.
The first thing you must do is to prepare yourself before the surgery. Think about every little detail you can’t have or do in your post-op life. Are you ready for that? Do you think your health is worth giving up on them? If you’re not mentally ready, either try to prepare yourself by doing more research about the effects of obesity or just don’t go for the surgery.
What you should do after the surgery is to remind yourself what you did it. Your mental health is more important than anything else now. Having regular sessions with a psychiatrist is strongly recommended.
You also need your support circle. What’s that? A group of your family members, friends, and others who have undergone sleeve gastrectomy whom you can depend on in difficult times.
The major point you should always remind yourself of is: why you did it in the first place?
After some time, when you’ll get used to your new life and do all the things you couldn’t do before, color will be back in your life 🙂
2- Prepare Yourself for Lifelong Regular Exercise
Believe it or not, exercise must be an inseparable part of your life after gastric sleeve. But don’t think you have to lift heavy lifts or run an hour a day right after surgery. You might not do any heavy exercise weeks after surgery. But you shouldn’t stay inactive at all.
Plan short, simple activities and gradually increase both the time and difficulty. Rome wasn’t built in a day. What matters the most is your persistence in staying active, not how much weight you can lift.
3- Stick to Your Post-op Diet
The post-gastric sleeve diet can be divided into 4 phases. Patients are usually recommended to follow some guidelines at least one or two weeks before surgery (read what happens if you cheat on your pre-op diet).
The length of each phase depends on the type of surgery. For instance, Gastric sleeve patients can have liquid foods for a shorter period than gastric bypass patients.
Because you’re not allowed to have many of the recipes you had before, you might end up eating the same simple recipes every day, which is a major reason for patients getting sick of your diet and finally giving up on it.
Variety is the spice of life. Plan your post-op life before your surgery date. Find various recipes. Put time into preparing them. Motivate yourself with a new recipe every week.
When eating out with your friends, look for meals with high protein and low calories. Here’s a source for how to manage eating out habits after sleeve gastrectomy surgery.
4- Be Easy on Yourself Before Getting Back to Normal Life
After simpler bariatric procedures, such as gastric balloon and gastric banding, patients can get back to their normal lives within a few hours or days. But gastric sleeve surgery recovery time is longer.
Hospital recovery takes a maximum of two days. You might feel pain a few hours after surgery when you’ll be given painkillers. Try not to do any heavy moves, but it’s better to walk slowly.
Some bariatric surgery patients push themselves to get back to their normal lives. Please don’t do that. Listen to your body. Restart everything gradually. If you feel like going back to your workplace, that’s OK, but you can start in a hybrid situation, if possible.
Keep walking the day after surgery, but if your body is exhausted, stop and redo it in intervals.
Here’s a guide on what happens to you in the short-term recovery and how to pass this time comfortably.
5- Regular Follow-ups
I’m sure it’s not the first time you’re told about the importance of post-op follow-up sessions. Still, some patients, especially after passing the difficult post-op, forget their follow-ups.
Even if you don’t visit your bariatric doctor regularly, it is vital to take check-up tests twice a year. Also, meeting a dietitian and psychiatrist to check your mental and physical status is significant. Even if you don’t want to do this every month, go for it at least every three or 6 months.
6- Update Your Grocery List
If you don’t want to eat unhealthy food, the first step is NOT to buy them. If you haven’t been used to buying healthy grocery items, all you need to do is to find new, healthy items to fill your fridge with. This is your ultimate guide:
– High protein
– High vitamins
– Low carbohydrate
– Low fat
Let’s see some examples:
7- Set Your Home for a Convenient Recovery
When you come home after the surgery day, you’re not in the mood for making any changes. So, you need to think about everything beforehand.
Where are you going to rest? In your bedroom? Is it close enough to the bathroom? What about the kitchen?
Can you put a mini-fridge or a place to keep your food in your bedroom? If you want to take a walk during the day, can you do it at home? Is there any park or easily accessible waking space close to your house?
Is it better to stay at your place or rest in the house of a friend or a close family member?
Double-check your grocery list. Is your fridge stocked with healthy food? Is anyone going to stay with you, at least for a few days?
Do you have the tools for a convenient recovery? Medical pillows or an extendable shower?
This is not just about a few weeks after surgery. Redecorate yourself for a healthy lifestyle. Let yourself and others know someone who cares about their body and mind lives here. Look at some more tips for the long-term recovery period which might last for a couple of years.
8- Be Alert to Complication Symptoms
Pain, especially right after the surgery, is mostly inevitable. Still, you should always be alert if you’re experiencing complications too often. What are these alerting signs?
– Nausea and vomiting
– Prolonged chest pain
– Severe abdominal pain
– Discolored drainage
– Lack of urination
– Constant fever
If you experience these signs continuously, contact your doctor immediately. There’s a chance you’re having internal infections and if not taken care of, this could happen to something more serious.
9- Dumping Syndrome
If you don’t know what dumping syndrome is and how you can prevent it, it’s better to read our article about the symptoms, diet, and treatment. But in a nutshell, it is a side-effect of weight loss surgery which happens because of the rapid passage of the consumed food into the small intestine.
We’ve devoted a separate part to dumping syndrome because even though it is very common, most patients can avoid it without visiting a doctor.
If you want to know more about weight-loss surgery, the types and procedures, post-and pre-op diets, risks, and costs, look at our 7-chapter guide on bariatric surgery.