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Have a conversation about gastric bypass surgery with just about anyone and you will hear, “Yeah, I know someone who had that done and within a year they stretched out their stomach and regained all that weight – plus some.”
Unfortunately it is true that some weight loss surgery (WLS) patients do regain their weight after losing it. What isn’t true is that they stretch their stomachs back to pre-surgical size. At best, a post gastric bypass stomach will expand from a capacity of 2 tablespoons to one-cup capacity. This is expected and part of the reason gastric bypass is successful. In the phase of rapid weight loss the patient cannot eat more than once ounce of food at a time. As the stomach heals and the weight loss stabilizes the stomach can eventually hold up to a cup of food at a time.
The reason that some patients regain their weight after surgery is they return to snacking which is contradictory to the directions given by their bariatric center. Snacking is forbidden by most centers. Eating little quantities of the wrong foods throughout the day causes WLS patients to stop losing weight, or worse, this behavior results in weight gain. Snacking is one of the behaviors that caused morbid obesity in the first place.
Snacking is the downfall of the WLS patient who regains weight, not stretching the stomach. For example, at five years out of surgery, I can eat one piece of pizza at dinner. If I eat a second piece at dinner I WILL get sick. Guaranteed. However, If I nibble on the leftovers an hour later, I can add another piece, and an hour later, another piece, and so-on. See the pattern? Snacking is the problem, not stretching the stomach.
The fact is, patients who live by the four rules do not regain their weight. The four rules for long-term success after gastric bypass surgery are: Eat protein first; No snacking, Drink lots of water and Exercise daily. The four rules are in place to ensure successful weight loss and long-term weight maintenance.
Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of http://www.LivingAfterWLS.com and http://www.livingafterwls.blogspot.com - Fresh & insightful content is added daily, check in often.
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