Dr. Jose Luna and Nutritional Counseling after Bariatric Surgery

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Nutritionist Dr. Jose Luna

The Tijuana Bariatric Center is proud Dr. Jose Luna is providing nutritional counseling to bariatric surgery patients who have received treatment in Tijuana, Mexico. Adjusting to the bodily changes of a bariatric procedure is difficult enough, but patients oftentimes struggle to maintain their weight even long after surgery.

Dr. Luna, bariatric nutritionist, can advise patients to help ensure that each individual has a safe recovery and enjoys long-term weight loss. Contact the practice today for more information on the role your nutritionist can play in your treatment.

The Importance of Good Nutrition

Diet is a major component of success for bariatric surgery. Keeping to your food regimen in the months and years after your procedure is key for two reasons: recovery and maintaining weight loss.

Bariatric surgery dramatically affects the size, shape, and layout of your digestive tract. Consequently, it can take some time to recover from the effects. Patients are not able to eat the same types of foods as before. In the first few weeks, you are typically limited to liquids and pureed foods, slowly reintroducing soft and solid foods over time. Even as you recover, your body can no longer absorb food in the same quantities. Pushing it can lead to severe discomfort and potential medical complications.

After recuperation, diet remains key in reaching and maintaining your weight goals. Overeating can stretch out a shrunken stomach and increase the calories you absorb. As a result, some patients do not reach their weigh loss goals within a year, as is normally expected. Or, if you do reach these goals, motivation can falter and the weight can return.

With the help of an experienced nutritionist, you can prevent such problems by learning good habits early on.  She can advise you on what foods your body can handle and when to begin introducing other foods, as well as long-term weight maintenance.

Dietary Plan: A Timeline

You will meet with your nutritionist in the first few days after your surgery, while you recover at the hospital. During this brief introductory meeting, she will educate you on some basic guidelines for diet and nutrition. Once you are back at the hotel, she will meet with you again to more thoroughly discuss what foods are safe and healthy during your individual recovery, what types of nutritional supplements may be necessary, and recommendations about how to shift toward a heartier, weight-loss oriented diet after you have healed.

After you return home, it is highly recommended that you follow up with your nutritionist during and after your recovery, either through email, phone, or Facebook. Based on how your body is responding to the recommended diet and how you feel overall in the following months, she can advise adjustments to your nutritional plan, as needed. In this way, patients can establish healthy eating habits as the foundations for long-term success.

Staying in contact with your nutritionist can have emotional benefits, as well. Life after bariatric surgery can be frustrating, confusing, and more than little overwhelming.

You need to entirely change how you eat, incorporate new exercises into your daily routine, and battle the emotional ups-and-downs of weight loss. Having access to support can help ground patients and ensure that their goals stay on track. Over time, some patients find that further nutritional counseling in the form of therapy or group meetings can have a similarly positive effect.

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Monitoring and Preventing Nutritional Deficiencies after Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgeries can serve many purposes, including improving overall patient health by treating morbid obesity and improving appearance and self-esteem. TBC is committed to helping patients achieve their weight loss and health goals, while also ensuring that nutritional deficiencies following bariatric surgery do not occur.

Because weight loss surgery alters the body’s natural ability to use nutrients through either restrictive or malabsorptive means, nutritional deficiencies can easily occur in the weeks and months following the procedure. Certain types of patients, such as those planning to become pregnant in the future, will need to take special precautions. With proper care and guidance from our team, you can safely achieve your goals.

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How to Avoid Complications

Although modern bariatric surgery is quite safe, postoperative complications can occur. As a result of alterations to the gastrointestinal tract, particularly in procedures like roux-en-y gastric bypass that alter the small intestine, your body may not properly absorb the nutrients it needs to continue to function and perform properly may not absorb properly.

You may suffer complications as a result of low absorption of vitamin B12, folate, zinc, iron, calcium, copper, and vitamin D. To help avoid complications, the staff at Tijuana Bariatric Center will recommend long-term nutritional supplements. Dietary supplementation may begin shortly after the completion of the surgery, and the staff will monitor recovery and provide additional recommendations as needed.

Why Exercise is Important

For many patients, exercise is the easiest part of your post-bariatric lifestyle to let slide. Unlike your diet, there are no immediate repercussions, such as intestinal discomfort or nausea, if you decide to cheat for a day. However, many studies have shown that bariatric patients who exercise regularly lose more weight. In the first year after surgery, the average patient loses about 61 percent of their original weight. Among patients who exercise routinely, this number increases to 67 percent. In fact, regular exercise is often a more accurate indicator of long-term success than any other factor.

It is important to understand that the physical effort of exercise alone is not enough to burn off fat. While a patient can burn 200 calories in an hour of exercise, they can consume up to 1,000 calories by the end of the day. If losing weight were simply about shaving off calories, exercise would be a fairly minor tool.

Instead, regular exercise boosts your metabolism. The more often you burn calories at a higher rate, the more likely your body will increase its metabolism to keep up. Patients who exercise regularly begin to burn calories faster and consequently, lose more weight. This helps to combat the body’s natural tendency to slow metabolism in the wake of massive weight loss. The human body is designed to hoard fatty tissue as a source of energy in case of starvation. But this useful survival tool can undermine weight loss.

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Tips for Improved Fitness

It can be daunting to commit to regular exercise, especially if you are used to a sedentary life style. The doctors and nutritionist working alongside the Tijuana Bariatric Center can advise you on how to transition from gentle exercises to more intense routines as you recover from surgery. The most important component of exercise is consistently: patients should aim to workout for at least 30 minutes a day, three to five days a week.

What kind of exercise you do does not matter - just the routine. Patients should take their time finding the workout that works best for their particular lifestyle.

In many cases, regular exercise can involve overcoming mental obstacles as well as physical hindrances. Patients should keep two pointers in mind.

Regularity is More Important than Type of Exercise

There are many articles and studies that attempt to pinpoint the best type of exercise to encourage weight loss. But the reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people run, while others prefer to rock climb or dance. Many post-bariatric patients prefer long walks. Although your workouts should include elements of endurance, flexibility, and strength, what kind of exercise you do does not matter - just the routine. Patients should take their time finding the exercise routine that works best for them. After all, it is your time and you should spend it doing something you enjoy.

Fit Looks Different for Everyone

Thin does not equal fit. Thin does not even always mean healthy. Olympic athletes are among the most physically fit individuals in the world and their body types range from skinny to large and muscular. For the average bariatric patient who is looking to improve their health rather than reach peak physical condition, a thin-first mindset can be damaging. By setting a more realistic goal of “being healthy” rather than "being thin," exercise can take on a more holistic role, which in turn, leads to a healthier mindset and improved results.

Safety Considerations

Exercise can be more harmful than helpful if it is performed incorrectly. Regardless of your routine, be sure to wear good shoes or other supportive equipment, warm up before and cool down afterward, and drink lots of water. As you lose more weight, you may need to wear more supportive clothing and apply gels to reduce friction and prevent skin problems. Additionally, patients should also try to avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, for sore muscles since these medications can have negative effects on the altered digestive system.

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A Trusted Team of Professionals

The network of doctors and medical professionals working with Tijuana Bariatric Center has been highly trained to prepare patients for all aspects of bariatric procedures. We make your health and safety our first priority and have a bariatric nutritionist on staff to help you avoid nutrient deficiencies, deal with food intolerance and other complications of bariatric surgery.

If you would like to schedule a virtual consultation at Tijuana Bariatrics Center, please send a message, or call (800) 970-0577. A healthy new lifestyle is within your reach, at a much more affordable price than what you would expect to pay in the United States.

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