The Role of Nutrition and Exercise in Bariatric Surgery
The Role of Nutrition and Exercise in Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure that helps people with severe obesity lose weight and improve their health. It involves making changes to the stomach and intestines to reduce the amount of food intake and nutrient absorption. However, bariatric surgery by itself does not guarantee permanent weight loss. It requires a commitment to follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen to achieve and maintain the best results.

Nutrition is a key factor in the success of bariatric surgery. Before the surgery, patients need to follow a low-calorie diet to prepare their bodies and reduce the risk of complications. After the surgery, patients need to follow a specific diet plan that gradually progresses from liquids to purees to solids over several weeks. The diet plan aims to provide adequate nutrition while avoiding overeating, dumping syndrome, dehydration, and malnutrition.

The diet plan may vary depending on the type of surgery and the individual needs of the patient, but some general guidelines are:

  • Eat small, frequent meals and chew well.
  • Drink fluids between meals, not with meals.
  • Avoid carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages.
  • Choose lean protein sources and limit fat and sugar intake.
  • Consume enough fibre and fluids to prevent constipation.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements as prescribed by the doctor.

Exercise is another important factor in the success of bariatric surgery. Exercise helps to burn calories, preserve muscle mass, improve cardiovascular health, enhance mood, and prevent weight regain. Patients should start exercising as soon as possible after the surgery, with the guidance of their doctor. The exercise program should be tailored to the patient's fitness level, goals, and preferences, and should include aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises.

Some examples of exercises that are suitable for bariatric surgery patients are:

  • Walking, cycling, swimming, or other low-impact activities
  • Resistance training with bands, weights, or bodyweight
  • Stretching, yoga, or pilates
  • Functional exercises that mimic daily activities

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing decision that can help people with severe obesity achieve a healthier and happier life. However, it is not a quick fix that can be done without any effort. It requires a lifelong dedication to follow a nutritious diet and an active lifestyle to optimise the outcomes and prevent complications. With the support of the multidisciplinary team at Asian Bariatrics including a dietitian and a physiotherapist, bariatric surgery patients can make the most of their weight loss journey and enjoy the benefits of their new life.