The fear of gaining weight back after gastric bypass surgery is real for many bariatric patients. Often, these patients have seen their weight yo-yo up and down over the years, and regaining weight after weight loss surgery can be discouraging and even devastating.
It’s important for anyone considering bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass to understand that some weight regain in the years after surgery is normal. In fact, some researchers estimate that as many as half of all gastric bypass patients experience some weight gain within two years after surgery. That said, most patients are able to keep off at least 60 percent of their excess weight after five years.
Weight loss surgery is not a “cure” for obesity. It is a tool that, when paired with healthy lifestyle modifications, can help patients lose weight and keep it off. Weight regain can occur for a number of reasons. In most cases, if the cause of weight regain after gastric bypass surgery is identified and addressed, the patient will be able to resume and maintain weight loss. Here are some of the reasons patients may regain weight after gastric bypass surgery:
- Eating too much or too frequently.
- Prescription medications.
- Increased stress.
- Reduced physical activity.
- Thyroid and/or adrenal issues.
- Other health complications.
- Dilation or stretching of the pouch.
- Return to old, unhealthy habits.
While medical or anatomical problems may arise, causing the patient to regain weight, in most cases of weight regain after gastric bypass surgery, the patient has allowed old habits to slip back into his or her lifestyle. Education, early intervention and long-term support services after weight loss surgery are key in preventing weight regain and addressing it when it does occur.
Patients who receive nutritional counseling, fitness training and psychological support to address the behaviors that may have contributed to the obesity are better prepared to maintain healthy lifestyle changes in the years following bariatric surgery.
If you have regained some weight after gastric bypass surgery, here are some tips to help you get back on track:
Keep your post-op appointments. These appointments are essential to helping you stay on track and evaluating your health to ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients you need after surgery.
Take advantage of post-op support. Surgical support services, including nutritional counseling, psychological support and fitness training, exist to help you reach and maintain your weight loss goals. Surround yourself with a positive support system to help you get back on track.
Do a reset diet. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about a reset diet to help shrink your stomach pouch to once again restrict the amount of food you are able to consume. A reset diet, such as this 10-day pouch reset, may be just what you need.
Talk to your doctor about bariatric revision. If your weight regain is due to a treatable medical condition, bariatric revision surgery, such as bypass-to-sleeve revision, may be an option for you.
If you have regained some weight after bariatric surgery, don’t be discouraged. Keep in mind that weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. While you may be frustrated, stick to the diet plan, increase your physical activity and work with your bariatric surgeon to get back on track and lose that weight for good.
Most importantly, don’t wait to reach out for help. Whether you’ve regained five pounds or 50, your weight loss surgeon is ready and available to help you find your stride and start losing weight again.