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I Just Had Bariatric Surgery. Now What?

I Just Had Bariatric Surgery. Now What?

Jan 4, 2022

All the time, energy, and dedication you put into deciding to have bariatric surgery has led up to this: your post-bariatric surgery life. Your bariatric surgery education courses and counseling have given you all the tools and resources available up until this pivotal moment. Here’s what to prioritize in the days and weeks following surgery: recovery, exercise, and nutrition.

Understanding Your R&R: Recovering at the Hospital and Resting at Home

Recovering from bariatric surgery varies depending on which surgery you had. Typically, immediate post-operative recovery looks like a night or two in the hospital where you will be closely monitored by your health care team. 

“It will take time for your body to adjust to your new digestive system process.  While you’re recovering in the hospital, we will start you on a liquid diet, you will then build your diet to thicker liquids and softer solids,” said Bradee Rojas, M.S., R.D., C.D.C.E.S., Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program coordinator at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill. “Within 4-6 weeks after surgery you will be back to eating solid foods, as tolerated”. 

After you are discharged, you will have some new responsibilities while your body recoups, such as keeping the surgical area clean, bathing carefully and managing your pain medication. 

Reach out to your doctor immediately if you experience: 

  • Nausea, vomiting and inability to drink fluids
  • Fever
  • Redness, irritation, or bleeding from the surgical area
  • Chest Pain or increased abdominal pain  
  • Leg pain or swelling

Expediting Recovery through Exercise

It’s no secret that exercise helps promote weight loss; however, there is a unique benefit to exercising after bariatric surgery: maintaining your musculoskeletal health.

After your bariatric surgery, three main exercise areas to focus on are:

  • Cardiovascular health to maintain consistent energy 
  • Strength training to preserve and enhance muscle mass
  • Flexibility training to prevent future injuries

Redefining Your Relationship with Food

And finally, we’ve reached the epicenter of our bariatric surgery journey: learning new, sustainable diet changes. Depending on your surgery, perhaps your stomach is smaller, or maybe part of it was removed. Regardless, it is critical to stick to a diet plan and ensure you are getting the nutrients you need. 

If you need to incorporate more protein into your diet immediately after surgery, try including:

  • Protein supplements or shakes
  • Nonfat milk or soy milk and Greek yogurt
  • Pureed or soft beans

While your journey to a healthier lifestyle has not been an easy one, remember to celebrate every big success and every small victory. Mostly, remember to celebrate your body, regardless of where you are in your journey. 

To speak with a Bariatric specialist or to request an appointment, visit or call 1-800-INSPIRA

Topics: Bariatric Surgery, Nutrition, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation