Creating Healthy Habits After Bariatric Surgery

An African American man does physical exercise with a woman in the park

Bariatric surgery can be a life-changing procedure. However, the surgery is just the first step in a long journey towards a healthier lifestyle. To maintain weight loss and improve overall health and well-being, it is important to learn how to create healthy habits after bariatric surgery.

Manatee Weight Loss Center is here to share our advice on developing and enacting healthy habits for long-term physical and mental well-being. This includes steps such as enacting dietary changes, implementing regular exercise into your routine and more.

What Is Bariatric Surgery?

Before diving into the importance of healthy habits after bariatric surgery, let’s first understand what bariatric surgery is.

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, is a surgical procedure designed to help people struggling with obesity lose weight by altering the digestive system. Although there are different types of weight loss procedures, surgery typically involves reducing the size of the stomach, limiting the amount of food that can be consumed, and in some cases, altering the digestive process.

Bariatric surgery is not a good option for everyone. Common criteria to be a candidate for weight-loss surgery include:

  • Having a body mass index (BMI) or 40 or higher
  • Having a body mass index of 35 or higher accompanied by obesity-related health conditions (such as diabetes, respiratory problems or cardiovascular issues)

Why Healthy Habits Matter

While bariatric surgery has the potential to provide significant weight loss and improve overall health, it is not a quick fix solution to one’s health problems. To maintain the weight loss derived from bariatric surgery and improve overall well-being, one must be committed to enact long-term changes. Common changes after weight-loss surgery may include:

Smaller food portions

Bariatric surgery typically alters the size of the stomach, which becomes significantly smaller. This means that after weight-loss surgery, the stomach can only hold a limited amount of food. If one overeats, the stomach could stretch, leading to new weight gain.

As a result, patients will need to learn how to eat smaller portions that still help them feel full. This may include controlling portion sizes or eating smaller meals on a more frequent basis to feel full. Overall, one should eat slowly and listen to their body’s signals of fullness.

Commitment to lifestyle changes

A healthy lifestyle requires a lifelong commitment. This is especially true after weight-loss surgery, when the body has undergone significant physical changes.

This commitment to lifestyle changes may include preparing healthier foods, implementing regular exercise in one’s life and learning how to manage stress and difficult emotions in an effective way.

Work closely with your healthcare provider, nutritionist or therapist to develop a plan for long-term success. They can help you set realistic goals, track progress and make adjustments to your plan as needed.

Bariatric surgery and mental health

Bariatric surgery can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health. While the surgery can improve self-esteem and confidence, it can also bring up feelings of anxiety, depression and body image issues.

Creating healthy habits after bariatric surgery also means addressing mental health and seeking support when needed. Joining bariatric surgery support groups, talking to a therapist, and practicing self-care can all help individuals navigate the emotional challenges that may arise after surgery.

Tips for Creating Healthy Habits After Bariatric Surgery

Now that we understand the importance of healthy habits after bariatric surgery, let’s explore some tips for making long-term changes for a healthier life.

Start slowly

After bariatric surgery, the body needs time to heal and adjust to the changes. It is essential to start slowly and gradually increase physical activity and food intake. This will help prevent complications and ensure long-term success.

Focus on protein and nutrient-dense foods

Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and promoting weight loss after bariatric surgery. It is also important to focus on nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals. This may include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

It’s also important to know what types of foods to stay away from. These typically include high-calorie, high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is crucial for overall health, but it is especially important after bariatric surgery. The smaller stomach size means that individuals may not be able to drink as much water as before, so it is essential to sip water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Meal planning and preparation

Meal planning and preparation can help individuals stick to healthy eating habits after bariatric surgery. This may include planning meals and snacks for the week, prepping ingredients in advance, and having healthy options readily available.

Regular exercise

Incorporating regular exercise into daily routines is crucial for maintaining weight loss and improving overall health after bariatric surgery.

Implementing exercise can be difficult at first, given the body’s potential limitations. However, your healthcare provider will be able to recommend safe and effective exercise plans designed to help those going through their weight loss journey.

Eligible for weight-loss surgery?

To lose weight at Manatee Weight Loss Center, fill out a patient interest form or call 941-254-4957.


Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.

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