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10 Most Common WLS Mistakes Patients Make

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Check out this support WLS site: http://www.nawls.com/public/333.cfm

The 10 Most Common Mistakes Weight Loss Surgery Patients Make

National Association for Weight Loss Surgery

While weight loss surgery (WLS) is considered the most successful treatment for morbid obesity, it is just the first step toward a fresh start. Weight regain is a common phenomenon, as is illness when weight loss surgery patients do not follow recommended guidelines.

Breaking old patterns, establishing an effective post-WLS lifestyle, and addressing the emotional issues that often complicate obesity takes more than commitment; it takes support, information, and resources.

The National Association for Weight Loss Surgery (NAWLS) helps WLS patients shape new lives. We teach people what they need to know and help them makes the changes they need to make to achieve long-term WLS success -- physically, mentally, and spiritually.

In a November 2005 poll conducted by NAWLS, the following were identified as the top 10 mistakes WLS patients make:

1st Mistake: Not Taking Vitamins, Supplements, or Minerals

Every WLS patient has specific nutritional needs depending on the type of surgery you have had. Not only is it a good idea to ask your surgeon for guidelines, but also consult with an experienced WLS nutritionist. Understand there is not a standard practice that all surgeons and nutritionists follow in guiding WLS patients. So, it is important to do your own research, get your lab tests done regularly, and learn how to read the results.

Some conditions and symptoms that can occur when you are deficient in vitamins, supplements, or minerals include:

Osteoporosis; pernicious anemia; muscle spasms; high blood pressure; burning tongue; fatigue; loss of appetite; weakness; constipation and diarrhea; numbness and tingling in the hands and feet; being tired, lethargic, or dizzy; forgetfulness, and lowered immune functioning.

Keep in mind, too, that some conditions caused by not taking your vitamins, supplements, or minerals are irreversible.

2nd Mistake: Assuming You Have Been Cured of Your Obesity

A "pink cloud" or honeymoon experience is common following WLS. When you are feeling better than you have in years, and the weight is coming off easily, it's hard to imagine you will ever struggle again. But unfortunately, it is very common for WLS patients to not lose to their goal weight or to regain some of their weight back.

A small weight regain may be normal, but huge gains usually can be avoided with support, education, effort, and careful attention to living a healthy WLS lifestyle. For most WLSers, if you don't change what you've always done, you're going to keep getting what you've always gotten -- even after weight loss surgery.

3rd Mistake: Drinking with Meals

Yes, it's hard for some people to avoid drinking with meals, but the tool of not drinking with meals is a critical key to long-term success. If you drink while you eat, your food washes out of your stomach much more quickly, you can eat more, you get hungry sooner, and you are at more risk for snacking. Being too hungry is much more likely to lead to poor food choices and/or overeating.

4th Mistake: Not Eating Right

Of course everyone should eat right, but in this society eating right is a challenge. You have to make it as easy on yourself as possible. Eat all your meals--don't skip. Don't keep unhealthy food in sight where it will call to you all the time. Try to feed yourself at regular intervals so that you aren't as tempted to make a poor choice.

And consider having a couple of absolutes: for example, avoid fried foods completely, avoid sugary foods, always use low-fat options, or only eat in a restaurant once a week. Choose your "absolutes" based on your trigger foods and your self knowledge about what foods and/or situations are problematic for you.

5th Mistake: Not Drinking Enough Water

Most WLS patients are at risk for dehydration. Drinking a minimum of 64 oz. of water per day will help you avoid this risk. Adequate water intake will also help you flush out your system as you lose weight and avoid kidney stones. Drinking enough water helps with your weight loss, too.

6th Mistake: Grazing

Many people who have had WLS regret that they ever started grazing, which is nibbling small amounts here and there over the course of the day. It's one thing to eat the three to five small meals you and your doctor agree you need. It's something else altogether when you start to graze, eating any number of unplanned snacks. Grazing can easily make your weight creep up. Eating enough at meal time, and eating planned snacks when necessary, will help you resist grazing.

Make a plan for what you will do when you crave food, but are not truly hungry. For example, take up a hobby to keep your hands busy or call on someone in your support group for encouragement.

7th Mistake: Not Exercising Regularly

Exercise is one of the best weapons a WLS patient has to fight weight regain. Not only does exercise boost your spirits, it is a great way to keep your metabolism running strong. When you exercise, you build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn, even at rest!

8th Mistake: Eating the Wrong Carbs (or Eating Too Much)

Let's face it, refined carbohydrates are addictive. If you eat refined carbohydrates they will make you crave more refined carbohydrates. There are plenty of complex carbohydrates to choose from, which have beneficial vitamins. For example, if you can handle pastas, try whole grain Kamut pasta--in moderation, of course. (Kamut pasta doesn't have the flavor some people find unpleasant in the whole wheat pastas.) Try using your complex carbohydrates as "condiments," rather than as the center point of your meal. Try sprinkling a tablespoon of brown rice on your stir-fried meat and veggies.

9th Mistake: Going Back to Drinking Soda

Drinking soda is controversial in WLS circles. Some people claim soda stretches your stomach or pouch. What we know it does is keep you from getting the hydration your body requires after WLS--because when you're drinking soda, you're not drinking water! In addition, diet soda has been connected to weight gain in the general population. The best thing you can do is find other, healthier drinks to fall in love with. They are out there.

10th Mistake: Drinking Alcohol

If you drank alcohol before surgery, you are likely to want to resume drinking alcohol following surgery. Most surgeons recommend waiting one year after surgery. And it is in your best interest to understand the consequences of drinking alcohol before you do it.

Alcohol is connected with weight regain, because alcohol has 7 calories per gram, while protein and vegetables have 4 calories per gram. Also, some people develop an addiction to alcohol after WLS, so be very cautious. Depending on your type of WLS, you may get drunker, quicker after surgery, which can cause health problems and put you in dangerous situations.

If you think you have a drinking problem, get help right away. Putting off stopping drinking doesn't make it any easier, and could make you a lot sicker.

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Thanks for this post! I've seen all these, but it's good to have them all in one place. :D

Now, I'm still pre-op, but can totally relate to this statement: In addition, diet soda has been connected to weight gain in the general population.

I honestly believe that my rapid weight gain had a lot to do with drinking diet soda. I only started drinking DC (diet Coke) a few years ago. I barely used to even drink regular soda. Water was my thing, but I kept tasting DC and started to like it. My cousin and mom are literally addicted to it. I read in a magazine that with diet soda you get the sweet craving more after drinking it b/c the soda doesn't quench the craving. Then you wind up drinking DC and eating donuts, cake, etc. My cousin eats sweets after EVERY meal! :eek: He got me into a very bad habit. Now, I don't eat sweets after every meal like he does, but I do usually at night. I used to laugh when people ordered a Big Mac, fries, and a DC. Now I do it! :rolleyes:

I will make sure that I go back to my "old ways" and stop drinking soda. I still LOVE water, which is good. That will be my drink...along with protein drinks.

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Oh, one more thing...this is regarding alcohol. My friend had open RNY some years back. She was 280 when she started. When I saw her a few months ago she was 310. She told me she was an alcoholic. :(

Then I saw her a few days ago. She had lost some weight. She was back down to 280 and said she got back from rehab in May. Good for her, right!? Well, she said that she started drinking a "little." :( Oh no.

Edited by BabyNicole

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Thank you Suzanne for the much needed reminder. It is so easy to fall prey to our prior demons when things appear to be going so well. I am going to print that list out and hang in my office. Thanks again.

djsfw57 likes this

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great post and read

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Definitely something I needed to read as I am doing 6 out of the 10 things which is why I have not lost any weight in over a year (no surprise there). I am printing it out and will carry it with me.

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I missed this post, but wanted to bump it up. There's some great info in that list!

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Oh thank you for posting! That list was so beneficial and informative!

I havent had my surgery yet but I always wondered why you couldnt eat and drink at the same time (which is something I tend to do all the time, so im going to have to change that) and that article answers all my questions.

And that pasta that was referred is an excellent solution as well. Most of everyone I know who have had gastric bypass surgery, say that its impossible for them to digest pasta anymore.

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I love this and thought it deserved a bumpty bump

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I love this and thought it deserved a bumpty bump

Thanks for bumping this. It's really good info. I'm gonna print it out and have a copy at the house and office.

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I am 14 months post op and one thing I decided before surgery was .. carbonated drinks were a thing of the past. I can see where I need to make some corrections on a few other things though. Thanks for the help

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Thanks for the great info :)

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I know this is an older post, but with all of us newbies I thought it deserved to get bumped up. Hope you don't mind....,

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I don't mind -- in fact, I appreciate it. Somehow this one escaped my attention before. It is very sage advice.

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This is great info thank you very much.

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I missed this post also.

I think I am going to print this out and keep a copy at my desk as well as at home. ;)

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Wonderful advice. I need to print this out also so that I can have it as a constant reminder. I am a big on drinking with meals, need to find a way to control that.

Thanks!:D

Bombshelle likes this

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very helpful info, thanks!!! :D

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I really like this post...reminds me what I need to do and why..thanks:)

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I just printed out some copies of it.. I will be takeing them with me to my class tomorrow..

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Absolutely excellent post! Thank you so much for sharing the link and thanks to everyone for bumping the message.

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Thank you so much. I am four months post op and i am struggling due to complications but your blog has really inspired me about what and how to eat. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

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Thanks for the great info. Probably things we all know but need to have reinforced on a frequent basis.

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Thanks for this excellent reminder. I need a few nudges back in the right direction.

However, I would like to nitpick with one thing...the idea that somehow drinking soda leads to dehydration because soda is not water. Soda is almost entirely water, and the water in soda is just as good at replenishing the water your body needs as any other water is.

Please, note: I'm NOT endorsing drinking soda. There are a variety of reasons why this is not a good idea, and why people who have had WLS should avoid drinking carbonated drinks. Among them:

* There is caffeine in many sodas. This can make a small, but real, contribution to dehydration.

* Non-diet sodas are a source of highly concentrated calories in liquid form. It's an express train to weight gain!

* Studies repeatedly show that drinking diet soda does NOT lead to weight loss, and in fact that it often correlates with weight gain. Correlation is not the same as causation, but there's some connection, although we're not entirely sure what it is.

* Many sodas are acidic, which can lead to complications like ulcers for those who are post-WLS.

* Although there's some controversy over it, carbonation may lead to a stretching of the pouch. I wouldn't want to risk it.

So, there's lots of solid reasons to avoid soda, but it's just not scientifically accurate to say the water in soda is any less beneficial for hydration than plain water.

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I'm in need of a lot of improvement in my intake but one good suggestion I heard about fluids was to not drink one hour before and two hours after your meals. It helps slow down the food in your system for absorbtion and stops the flushing effect of the fluids on the food. I had surgery in 2002 with little follow-up from my doctor's office except yearly visits so this site is a big help. I have low iron which I discovered last year when a fellow LT WLS friend of mine clued me in to the Ferratin level test. Mine was 4. I get IV treatments went to 84 before my back surgery and was 15 in June. Should get another IV in October. B12 is good but just found out about Thiamine deficiency which explains some of my symptoms. I am curious if others are experiencing back problems and degenerative disks. I had a disk completely disappear resulting in back fusion surgery and now one in my neck is going. I'm not alone so wondered who else has had their disks change since surgery. I love the 5-day test and the 10 tips. Thanks.

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