From reducing health risks and reversing some of the effects of diabetes to being able to be more active and involved with your daily life, there are many positive benefits associated with weight loss surgery. One of the unpleasant results, however, is loose or excess skin. Human skin is like a rubber balloon in that once it’s stretched it will lose some of its elasticity when it’s no longer fully stretched. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with loose skin after weight loss surgery.
Potential Problems with Excess Skin
Potential issues with extra skin following weight loss surgery can be more than cosmetic in nature. Loose skin sometimes rubs against other folds of skin, resulting in rashes, chafing, and other types of skin irritation. This problem can be serious if the top layer of skin (epidermis) breaks open. Areas often affected include skin under the stomach, in the groin area, on various parts of thighs, and under arms. In warmer months, skin irritations may become more common and painful due to moisture accumulation from sweat.
Avoiding/Minimizing Excess Skin Issues without Surgery
Making an effort to enjoy a balanced diet that includes healthy sources of protein can help build and maintain lean muscle, which may reduce the extent of skin sagging following surgery. Exercises that contribute to muscle building may also be helpful since a lack of muscle mass under the skin’s surface can make sagging more noticeable. Loose skin may be further minimized by:
Eating foods with skin healthy A, C, E, K, and B vitamins
Drinking plenty of water to help retain skin elasticity
Massaging or stimulating your skin with a soft bristle brush to help increase circulation within skin tissues, which may stimulate elastin and collagen production
Cosmetic (Surgical) Skin Removal
If your post-surgery weight loss is 100 to 150 pounds or more, you may not see positive results with non-surgical attempts to minimize or live with the problem. Cosmetic surgery to remove excess or sagging skin will leave scars, although places were incisions were made can usually be concealed in your skin’s natural creases. Some patients opt to have a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) if excess skin is primarily relegated to the stomach and abdominal area.
Everybody who successfully sheds pounds following surgery will have a different experience with excess skin. It’s entirely possible to have minimal sagging in places where it’s not all that noticeable or problematic. For other patients, loose skin can be a distraction, or it may be responsible for skin irritations and other issues. Generally, it’s recommended that you wait until your post-surgery weight loss levels off before deciding how you want to deal with loose skin.
Diet fads come and go by the dozen each year. However, the Paleolithic (or Paleo) diet has remained popular with weight loss and fitness enthusiasts.
What is the Paleolithic Diet?
The Paleolithic diet, also known as the Paleo diet, is a diet that mimics the dietary habits of the early cavemen. In short, the foods that people on this diet consume are the same or similar to those that the cavemen used to eat.
In essence, anything that a caveman could hunt or gather is okay to eat on the Paleo diet. Some of the most common foods that Paleo dieters will eat on any given day include:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
The Paleo diet does not allow for processed food like canned pasta, frozen pizza, or even cold salads like chicken or tuna salad.
Fans of the Paleo diet report being able to improve their diets and lose weight more effectively than withholding calories and fat from their daily intake. Many Paleo dieters combine this regimen with daily exercise, however.
The Benefits of the Paleolithic Diet
Dietary experts agree that the Paleo diet does have some benefits that could make it useful to people who want to lose weight and improve their eating habits. Some of the more noteworthy advantages of the Paleo diet include:
Eating foods that lack additives, preservatives, or artificial ingredients
Consuming foods like seeds and leafy greens that have anti-inflammatory qualities
Eating a diet that is high in protein and iron
Feeling fuller sooner and eating smaller portions
Dietary insiders also observe that people on this diet lose weight because of their limited food choices.
Who Can Use the Paleo Diet to Lose Weight?
Like most diets, the Paleo diet is reserved for people who are healthy enough to tolerate its stringent dietary requirements. Your dietician or doctor may permit you to use the Paleo diet if you are not pregnant or nursing. You also may be given the all-clear if you have good kidney health and do not suffer from a health condition like high cholesterol that could be aggravated by eating high amounts of red meat.
Although the Paleo diet limits your food choices but also helps you avoid eating processed foods that could lead to weight gain.
Approximately one-third of American adults are considered obese. While bariatric surgery can be a lifeline for individuals who have been unable to lose their excess weight through conservative means, it is not appropriate for all patients. Since gastric sleeve and other bariatric surgeries involve significant and typically permanent changes to the digestive system, bariatric surgeons use the concept of medical necessity to determine if an individual is a suitable candidate for the procedure.
When Is Bariatric Surgery Medically Necessary?
Because weight loss surgery is not intended to be an initial treatment for obesity, most surgeons and insurance companies follow the guidelines set forth by the National Institutes of Health in determining if gastric sleeve or other bariatric surgery is medically necessary. Bariatric surgery may be an option for individuals who:
have a body mass index of at least 35 along with an obesity-related health condition, such as heart disease, sleep apnea, or diabetes.
Teenage patients who have gone through puberty and reached adult height may meet medical necessity guidelines if they meet the following criteria:
a body mass index of at least 35 along with a serious obesity-related health condition, such as diabetes, or
a body mass index of at least 40 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or another less severe obesity-related health problem.
In addition to the medical necessity requirement, patients normally have to show that they have made a serious attempt to lose the weight through non-surgical means, such as a medically supervised diet. The American Heart Association recommends that patients participate in a supervised weight loss program for at least 6 months before considering bariatric surgery.
Making the Commitment
Patients undergoing bariatric surgery should think of the process as a marathon rather than a sprint. Patients must understand that their eating and physical activity patterns will change following the surgery. To ensure the best possible results and prevent complications, patients must follow specific diet and exercise guidelines for the rest of their lives and follow-up with their doctor on a regular basis.
The payoff, however, is significant. By working toward and maintaining a healthy weight, patients have the potential to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer. Patients considering bariatric surgery should consult with a bariatric surgeon to ensure that they understand and meet all of the requirements for medical necessity.
For many people, the holiday season signals a time of year to feast and indulge in culinary favorites. It is during this season that some people gain the most weight because of their overindulgence in cookies, cheeses, candies, and other savory treats. As a gastric sleeve patient, you can avoid weight gain and sabotaging your own recovery by keeping these holiday eating and exercise tips in mind.
Follow Your Post-Operative Dietary Guidelines
Your doctor may have given you clear directions for how you should be eating not only during the holiday season but throughout the rest of the year. Your diet may ideally consist of lean proteins, low-fat dairy, soft fruits and vegetables, and other foods that are easy on your digestive system and can be accommodated easily by your stomach’s reduced size. You should continue on this dietary regimen despite other treats being available to you. You can still enjoy a cup of low-fat eggnog, a few slices of soft cheese spread on crackers, or slices of oranges and apples, however, all of which are commonly served during the holiday season.
You can enjoy your favorite holiday treats by substituting ingredients that are high in fat and sugar. For example, instead of using Vitamin D milk or cream, you may substitute either with almond milk. Likewise, instead of using carb-laden bleached white flour, you could try rolled oats or almond meal as a base for cookies, cakes, and other temptations. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice pose no risk to your diet and can be used for gastric sleeve-friendly recipes for gingerbread and pumpkin pie.
Remember to Exercise
The holiday season is a busy time of visiting family and shopping for gifts. However, you should still abide by the prescribed exercise regimen given to you before you left the hospital after your surgery. Some of the simpler ways to get some exercise this season and burn off those holiday calories include:
Joining a gym
Using stairs instead of escalators
Walking your dog several times a day
Parking farther away and walking to store entrances
These simple measures let you burn off calories from pie, cake, cookies, and candies and help maintain the weight loss results you are going for as you recover from your gastric sleeve surgery.
Paying attention to diet isn’t something you should only be concerned about after gastric sleeve surgery. You’ll be encouraged to set and achieve certain nutrition goals prior to undergoing this procedure as well. Typically, patients are asked to lose about 10 percent of their excess weight body weight in advance of surgery of this nature, focusing more on nutrition can help with this goal. It also helps to have better eating habits established prior to surgery to make it easier to stick to your post-surgery diet recommendations after you transition off of liquids and soft foods.
Reducing Calorie Intake
Calorie intake before gastric sleeve surgery should be reduced to about 1200 calories per day for women and about 1500 calories per day for men, but this can vary based on what your doctor recommends. This is similar to the calorie intake you’ll want to adhere to after your surgery. A few weeks prior to your operation, daily calories should be reduced to around 800. When you get to the final two weeks, a recommended meal plan is often two protein shakes a day and a full meal of about 350 calories.
Getting More Protein
Your diet prior to sleeve surgery should include more protein and fewer carbohydrates. The general recommendation is to consume about 70 to 120 grams of protein per day. Doing so will make you feel fuller and help you to lose weight pre-surgery. Protein also prepares your tissues in your stomach and abdominal muscles for the healing process. Protein isolate are sometimes recommended to help with the absorption of protein. This mixture can be blended with skim milk or water for a healthier option. If you are lactose intolerant, opt for soy milk instead. Protein can come from a variety of healthy sources, including:
Lean beef and pork and skinless chicken/turkey
Fish and shellfish
Beans and lentils
Low-fat and non-fat dairy products
Consuming More Fruits and Veggies
Prior to your surgery, get into the habit of eating more fruits and vegetables. Not only will this get you used to the type of foods you’ll want to include in your diet post-op, but it will also give you a reliable source of important nutrients. Green, leafy vegetables have the highest concentration of nutrients, which will be something your body will need after your surgery. With fruits, those that are bright-colored tend to be more nutritious. A good rule of thumb is to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies.
Making an effort to set nutrition goals before your sleeve surgery achieves two main goals. First, if you lose some of your excess weight prior to the procedure, potential risks associated with this type of surgery will be reduced, especially those associated with your liver. Second, you will get a head start on adopting the type of healthy eating habits you’ll need to stick with post-surgery if you want to see positive and lasting results with sleeve surgery.
Weight-loss surgery is a tool. What helps your weight loss to continue is centered around what you eat and the amount of exercise you do afterward. You will be sore and need to recover for a few weeks. Once the doctor gives the green light, it is time to start working out.
Remember, the weight wasn’t put on overnight, so it is not going to magically drop off either. The best advice to anyone for postoperative exercise is to start slow. The amazing part about sleeve surgery is that a person will lose weight much faster than with diet and exercise alone, but patients must build their way up to a full workout routine. You certainly don’t want to tear or damage something internal that is still healing.
Pushing Yourself to Reach Your Goals
To many, the concept of physical fitness is a big turn-off. However, to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it must become your new way of life. Working out helps you to build muscle tone, speeds up the metabolism and improves your blood sugar and circulation levels.
Small Steps to Success
One of the easiest ways to workout is by walking. Right after surgery, the medical team will get you up and walking about. It will not only reduce your chances of a blood clot, but it will also speed up your recovery process. You may start out with a slow-paced walk, but with some effort, soon you will be speed walking and pumping your arms. If you can only do short laps around the house at first, it still counts. Make the distance you walk a little bit longer each day. Soon, you will be getting 10,000 steps or more in. Wear a fitness device that tracks your steps to monitor your progress.
To Thine Own Self Be True
As the weight begins to fall off, you will be enamored by your ability to move more. After you have mastered walking, keep it up, but add other types of exercise to your routine. For instance, if your knees hurt, then you should try a recumbent bike. Swimming is a great exercise because it moves nearly every muscle in the body. If your body aches from the weight, doing aerobics or even walking in water can relieve the pain during exercise. Do you like sports? Basketball, badminton, or even bowling are great options to get the heart pumping.
It really doesn’t matter what you do, the key is that you do something. Most of all, make sure you enjoy your exercise routine. If you don’t like your workout or get any benefits from it, then you probably won’t stick with it. According to the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, you should be exercising at least 150 minutes a week.
Immediately after bariatric surgery, your weight will begin to reduce. Even the most obvious activities like buying clothes may be challenging, especially to people who have struggled to lose weight for long. Therefore, it is important to come up with an appropriate strategy for carrying out the shopping.
The following tips may help make every wardrobe dollar count.
1. Evaluate Your Closet
Most people have multiple-sized clothes tucked away in their closets and drawers. If you are one of these people, you will require organizing your clothes. Because you get progressively smaller, it is important to cluster clothes of similar size and after that arrange them from the smallest to the biggest. This way, you will have something to wear as you gradually lose weight.
2. Make Minimum Purchases
It is exciting to see the results of the hard work; therefore, it may be tempting to buy in bulk when you begin losing weight. No matter how long it has been since you enjoyed shopping for clothes, you should resist the urge to fill your closet with new clothes. Buy enough clothes to keep you until the next time you change in size when you need to shop again.
3. Buy for Your Current Size
You require clothes that can be worn now. Even if you are sure of shedding more pounds, do not buy for the future. If you are between sizes, you can consider the smaller size provided you are comfortable putting on close-fitting clothes. Well-fitting clothes will always look good and make you feel confident when wearing them.
4. Consider Alterations
Find a reliable tailor to alter your clothing as you lose weight. These adjustments can save you from making frequent purchases, while at the same time giving you a perfect look. Fitting your clothes can be especially useful if you have tailored clothing including business suits and blazers.
5. Embrace Versatile Clothing
Is there someone who does not love a little stretch in their clothing? Most pants and jeans nowadays have a little spandex in their fabric. Settle on stretchy garments that fit even after you will have reduced a couple of sizes. For instance, leggings fit reasonably well for a range of weights.
6. Organize a Clothing Exchange
If you are a member of a support group for weight loss surgery, you may consider carrying out a clothing exchange. Other people in the group are unmistakably undergoing the same thing. Therefore, you could set up a place and time for the swap.
After sleeve gastrectomy, you can experience many positive changes in your life. Due to these adjustments, it might take some time to get used to the new physique and the emotions that come with it. Shopping for new clothes is a way of celebrating the success of the weight loss program. Reward your efforts by dressing as the confident person that you are.
Gastric sleeve (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) involves the removal of about 80 percent of the stomach and the creation of a smaller “sleeve” for the collection and processing of food. While VSG can be an effective surgery for patients who haven’t had success with other weight loss methods, the procedure isn’t an automatic “cure” for all weight-related issues. Read on to discover the truth behind some common myths associated with gastric sleeve surgery as you consider the procedure.
Myth: You Will Automatically Fill Full
Sleeve surgery does result in a smaller space for food. However, sleeve capacity will increase over time. Overdoing it with sliders, or foods that reduce in your stomach but don’t fill you up or provide much nutritional value (potato chips, popcorn), can also make you eat more than you should be consuming. So, you’ll need to stick with your dietary guidelines and acceptable portion sizes.
Myth: You Can Eat Whatever You Want and Not Gain Weight
Gastric sleeve surgery isn’t some kind of “eat what you want” ticket. The only exception is if you are loading up on healthy food options such as lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and green, leafy veggies. While you may be able to enjoy occasional pleasure foods like pizza, you’ll have to be mindful of your diet and avoid sugary snacks and other foods that tend to pack on the pounds.
Myth: You Can Drop Your Calorie Intake to Lose Even More Weight
The human body needs a certain amount of calories to function. If you go below your recommended daily calorie intake, you’re not likely to see increased weight loss, at least not in a way that’s healthy. It’s also not wise to starve yourself during the week so you can consume high-calorie food on weekends.
Myth: You Have to Exercise
You can still lose weight without regular exercise. Even so, adopting a daily fitness routine following your procedure can help you see better results with your weight loss. And you’ll also feel healthier because of things like improved circulation and the release of endorphins (“feel good” hormones).
Myth: You’ll Need Plastic Surgery
Some people lose a lot of weight without the need for plastic surgery afterwards. Whether or not you have excess skin that will require surgery will depend on several factors, such as age and where you carried your extra weight.
The majority of weight loss experienced with gastric sleeve surgery will occur within the first year after the procedure, although some patients are able to continue to lose excess weight beyond that point. Your experience will depend on several factors, including your commitment to making positive lifestyle adjustments. Having realistic expectations ahead of time can also increase your odds of seeing meaningful results with the procedure.
It’s no secret that diabetes often becomes a growing health concern when individuals are carrying excess weight. According to a Harvard study, people who are obese may be as much 60-times as likely to develop diabetes as those who are within normal weight ranges. While weight loss surgery isn’t meant to be a treatment for diabetes, one of the many advantages of losing significant weight is the improvement of conditions like diabetes. In fact, diabetic patients who have sleeve surgery (sleeve gastrectomy) have remission rates that can be as high as 60 percent.
Diabetes and Obesity
Approximately 90 percent of all instances of diabetes may be directly linked to obesity or excessive weight. The American Diabetes Association suggests that losing even 10-15 pounds may help reduce problematic symptoms of diabetes. Cutting back on calories and fat and getting more exercise can help achieve this goal. For diabetics who have consistently struggled with weight loss, however, it’s not always that easy to keep even smaller amounts of weight off long enough to enjoy potential health benefits.
How Sleeve Surgery Helps
Sleeve surgery could provide the added incentive to adopt a healthy lifestyle and minimize or eliminate diabetes symptoms. Weight loss procedures like sleeve gastrectomy may help ease or reverse diabetes symptoms in several ways. Adults with type 2 diabetes may have better blood sugar control as weight is lost in the months following sleeve surgery. A study on patients with diabetes who had the sleeve operation found that nearly 80 percent were able to reduce their dependence on diabetes medications. The procedure may also help prevent or reverse diabetes by:
Improving glucose metabolism
Changing the way “gut hormones” work in a way that may reduce diabetes risks
Reducing the absorption of sugars and fats that often lead to blood sugar spikes
Using Weight Loss as an Incentive to Adopt Healthy Behaviors
In a study involving diabetics who had weight loss surgery, those who had the sleeve procedure were 17 times more likely to experience a remission after the operation. Patients may further minimize their risk of having issues with diabetes because of the lifestyle changes that will be necessary to maintain weight loss results on a long-term basis, including:
Getting more daily exercise
Eating smaller portion sizes
Choosing foods with better nutritional value
Sleeve surgery involves the removal of a large portion of the stomach and the creation of a smaller reservoir for food. Prior to surgery, patients who are excessively overweight may be asked to make an attempt to lose some weight to make the operation safer. Efforts will still need to be made to manage diabetes after the surgery, including periodic testing of blood sugar levels, to determine if the condition has improved or gone into remission.
When considering gastric sleeve surgery, it is common to have questions. Gastric sleeve surgery, or a sleeve gastrectomy, is a popular surgical option for weight loss. It reduces the size of the stomach by approximately 80 percent to help patients lose weight, and it typically has less risk and less complications than gastric bypass surgery. Your surgeon will be able to elaborate more for your specific condition, but there are several issues that are frequently asked.
1. How do I know if gastric sleeve surgery is right for me?
People with a body mass index (or BMI) of greater than 40, or patients with a BMI greater than 35 with other medical conditions, can be good candidates for this procedure. Gastric sleeve surgery also tends to have less complications than gastric bypass surgery, and it does not use a foreign body placed in the abdominal cavity. Patients who have gastric sleeve surgery tend to have less vitamin and mineral deficiencies than those who get other bariatric surgeries.
2. Will I have to diet before the surgery?
Usually, this answer is yes. Your surgeon will place you on a special diet, which can help to reduce the size of the liver and abdomen. This helps to decrease your risk of complications during surgery and makes it safer. Sometimes insurance companies require three to six months of a physician-monitored diet program before they will approve the cost of gastric sleeve surgery. This is typically focused on food education and shows that you are willing to comply with a physician’s advice and can keep appointments.
3. Will my medications need to be changed after surgery?
Ideally, you will have to change dosages or maybe even eliminate medications after gastric sleeve surgery. The goal of bariatric surgery is to lose weight, and many medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure improve with dietary changes and weight loss. You may require lower doses of your prescription medications or you might even be able to stop some completely. Additionally, gastric sleeve surgery may reduce your body’s ability to absorb some nutrients, so you may need to start a multivitamin and certain supplements. Your healthcare provider should be able to give you further direction and advice on your body’s specific needs.
Gastric sleeve surgery can be a great solution for weight loss. It is common to have questions when considering any surgical option, and your doctor will be able to guide you in the best treatment options for you.
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