Frequently asked questions


Exercise is the key to maintaining all of the hard-earned weightloss that you achieve. Start regular exercise or join a gym after your operation so that you can maximise the successful outcome from your surgery.

You can start light exercise eg walking after one week.

You should wait for 3 weeks before you get back to strenuous exercise eg gym work, swimming, cycling, jogging.

The bottom line is - you cannot do any damage to the operation with exercise. It will energise you and help you become the healthier person that you are wanting to be!

Make sure you increase your fluid intake during exercise – this is very important!

Eating after Bariatric Surgery

The main thing to remember is that you have a new stomach. Your stomach will take time to get used to dealing with food, fluid and gas, so take it slowly and expect things to feel different. Ultimately, when everything has settled, you should be able to eat a regular, balanced diet but this will take time. Be patient and enjoy the new control that you have over your eating!

Do’s and Don’ts

*Never eat beyond fullness.  You need to be aware of what your new full feeling is like and stop eating as soon as you experience it.

*Always take teaspoon-sized mouthfuls

*Chew your mouthfuls thoroughly

*Try to eat in a relaxed environment – ie sitting at the table.  This allows you to concentrate on eating rather than other things.  Distractions, such as eating on the run or in front of the television allow you to fall back into old unhealthy eating habits without you even realising it!

Healthy food choices are the key to sustained and permanent weight loss

*Allow yourself treats occasionally – being able to maintain a balanced diet long term is only going to be possible if you are not relying on self discipline too much.  Don’t deprive yourself of things you really like because you will end up wanting them even more.  Rather have them as your occasional treat – and enjoy it!

*Avoid constipation. - you are more prone to it following your operation.  If you do not have a bowel motion for 2 consecutive days, get some laxatives eg Lactulose/Mucilax/Kiwi Crush from your Supermarket or Chemist.  Consider taking them regularly.

Maintain an adequate intake of water.  One to 1½ litres of water per day is essential.  This allows you to be adequately rehydrated, especially as your usual source of liquid has been dramatically reduced ie food.  It allows your kidneys to remain healthy and also prevents constipation.

*Eat enough protein in your diet.  Protein in your diet makes up the building blocks of protein in your body (ie muscle, hair and nails) and maintaining adequate levels in your diet is essential to maintain your general health and fitness.  Your Nutritionist will help you with specific types and amounts of protein to integrate into your everyday intake. 

Will I need to take Multi-vitamins?

Taking a multivitamin in the usual doses is recommended.  Whilst there is no alteration in your ability to absorb the food you eat following your weight loss surgery, you will be eating a lot less volume of food.  Getting the exact quantities of the vitamins and minerals that you require is not as easy and a daily multivitamin takes the stress out of worrying about it.

Return to Work

It is very difficult to predict how long you will need off work following Bariatric Surgery. It depends on you and the nature of your work.

The usual advice is to take a minimum of 1 weeks leave, knowing there is a chance that you may need to take longer. At the other extreme, it would be very unlikely to need more than 3 weeks off following an uncomplicated operation. The final decision is yours.

Travelling following surgery

This is also up to the individual. Some things to consider… you have had a General Anaesthetic and most people will feel more tired than usual for a week or two following.

Travelling is tiring and puts you out of your usual environment. You will be adapting to a lot of new things following your surgery including how to eat and drink. Your diet will also be very modified to start off with. This will not be easy to comply with if you are eating on the run or in unpredictable places.

You are at slightly increased risk of blood clots for a couple of weeks following surgery, especially if you are undertaking long distance travel.

You have increased fluid requirements and MUST keep drinking 1-1.5L/day. This requirement will be increased if you are travelling in a very hot environment.

What happens if something goes wrong?

Please contact Stephanie if you have any worries – big or small - in the post-operative period. She can be contacted either by phone or email. Remember – if she is on leave/holiday, she may be uncontactable by phone. You can check by calling BetterLife Surgery 0800 966 367 during daytime hours.

What about taking my usual medication?

Your medication requirements will change as you lose weight – especially if you are being treated for Hypertension, Diabetes, Hypercholesterolemia etc. Please keep in close contact with your GP for monitoring and modifying your medication requirements as your weight loss continues. Plan to see your GP within the first month after surgery and then 3 monthly after that, or at your GPs advice. Remember, if your Family doctor has any questions, they can call me directly.

Can I Drink Alcohol?

Alcohol, generally speaking, has a high number of calories, so keep your intake to a minimum most of the time.

What about eating out?

Restaurants do not cater for people who have had Bariatric Surgery - it would probably put them out of business! Eating off the entrée list or sharing a main course with someone who knows your situation may be the best way to go. Or, if you order a main dish, ask your waiter to serve you half of the meal and pack the rest to take home for another day. It certainly makes eating out easier on the wallet as well!

For the ladies… What about Pregnancy following Surgery?

Evidence around pregnancy following Weight Loss Surgery is scanty. What we do know… Women of childbearing age who have irregular periods or no periods prior to Bariatric Surgery are likely to start regular menstruation as you lose weight. As a result of this, your fertility will also be increased. In a perfectly planned world, it would be ideal to have a healthy, balanced, stable diet before becoming pregnant. If you intend to become pregnant then starting a prenatal vitamin should be considered (including 400micrograms folate/day) around the time of your operation. If you don’t intend to become pregnant, then you need to have a contraceptive plan which can be instituted after your surgery.

As to the risks to the baby following bariatric surgery – there is no evidence to say that babies are at increased risk, however, more careful dietary planning and monitoring of essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy is advised. The method of childbirth that you choose is also not affected by your previous surgery.


Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch.

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