Life After Weight Loss Surgery

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Winning the weightloss war is a battle that lasts long after surgery for bariatric patients. Diet, exercise, and support are integral in a person's success.

Just weeks after having LAP-BAND surgery, Connie Griffith is already seeing results.

"Fourteen pounds in 14 days," Griffith said.

"Most people are doing great at two weeks and that is what we expect," Surgeon Dr. Bryan Parrent said. "Most people have lost 10 to 15 pounds in two weeks just because of the essentially liquid diet they have been on."

At Griffith's first post surgery check-up, her doctor looks at her incision wounds, and checks up on her eating habits.

"We're making sure they are keeping liquids down, making sure they are taking a daily vitamin, we're following their medications and seeing what they are on," Parrent said. "Sometimes diabetes medicines, and blood pressure medicines can be altered a bit."

For Griffith, many of those medications are well on their way to being eliminated.

"I went to my regular doctor and he started reading off my stats and they were lower than they have ever been in my life," Griffith said. "I finally laughed and said are you sure you didn't get my report mixed up and he said no this is you."

But with the highs, patients can can also go through many lows during the process.

"Initially after the surgery sometimes there are levels of frustration that they'll experience with certain foods they can't eat, or certain feelings they have," Surgeon Dr. Michael Steines said.

In Griffith's case, it was the recovery time after her surgery.

"Right after I was more sore than I thought I was going to be," Griffith said. "I really wasn't expecting it to be quite that much because I have had my gallbladder out and kind of bounced back from that a little quicker."

That's where support groups come in, by connecting patients with others who have been through the same thing.

"What they realize from talking to people who have had the surgery, two and three years ago is that in time those feelings go away and the good changes associated with the surgery replace any of the initial side effects--leading to the healthy lifestyle they are able to maintain," Steines said.

The support groups also stress the importance of diet and exercise as patients battle to beat the bulge once and for all.

"There have been several studies that have shown patients who participate in exercise programs and support groups are much more likely to have better long term success than those who don't," Steines said.

"I think support groups help you," Griffith said. "I really do I think you need all the help you can get and support, and buddy system. "I am real happy with the results, I can already tell a real change in my energy."