Maintaining Weight Loss after Bariatric Surgery

How long does it actually take to start losing weight after weight loss surgery? That is one of the top questions that people have when meeting with their bariatric surgeon. This makes sense! For the most part, people who are looking into getting weight-loss surgery have struggled with excess weight for most of their lives, and they’ve tried just about every diet under the sun without success. So, it makes sense that when you are facing a bariatric surgery procedure you would have anticipation and excitement about seeing results–and you would want to know how quickly you are likely to get to your weight loss goal.

 However, the answer to this question is going to vary for just about every person. Some things that are pretty consistent following weight loss surgery. For example, most people will start to lose weight rapidly following the bariatric procedure. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to lose upwards of 30 pounds within the first few weeks after their weight loss operation.

 Weight loss will continue at a somewhat rapid pace for about 6 months following the weight loss surgery, and then after 6 to 8, for most people, the fast pace of weight loss is likely to slow down. That is nothing to be discouraged about!

Eight to ten months after weight loss surgery it is likely that you will have experienced a great deal of weight loss, and it is in the best interest of your body and your health for the weight loss process to begin tapering off so that you can start reaching a healthy weight and start working on maintaining a healthy weight.

 A year after weight loss surgery many people will be closing in on their weight loss goal, and that is so exciting! Think of how many years you have spent trying different diet plans and exploring different exercise routines. Weight loss surgery can make it possible so that in just one year you are incredibly close to–if not already at–your healthy weight loss goal.

Factors that Impact Expected Weight Loss after Bariatric Surgery

Since weight loss typically happens much quicker early on, it is no surprise that studies confirm that the amount of weight loss experienced early at one month and three months is highly predictive of your overall weight loss. There are some factors that are going to influence how successful you will be with your weight loss operation. These factors include:

  • How comprehensive your preoperative education is
  • How well you incorporate your preoperative education into a habitual behavioral change before surgery—breaking old damaging habits and incorporating new healthy ones
  • Transparently identifying and resolving emotional, substance, or psychiatric disorders that can damage weight loss
  • How quickly you begin working out once you are cleared for physical activity following your bariatric operation
  • How well you follow your post-bariatric surgery dietary guidelines
  • How able you are to avoid snacking or grazing between meals
  • How well you were able to stick to non-caloric beverages like water rather than drinking sugary drinks like juices and sodas

In addition, people who follow up consistently at preplanned appointments with their weight loss doctor, and who take advantage of support groups, are more likely to more successfully reach their ultimate weight loss goal in the shortest period of time.

Surrounding yourself with support, enhancing your motivation, carefully committing to a program, and really making a point to prioritize your health following your bariatric procedure can make all the difference when it comes to how much weight you’ll use and how fast you’ll be able to reach your weight loss goal. If you don’t feel like you are losing weight at the right speed, it is important to contact your weight loss surgeon right away. How fast and effectively you lose weight after weight loss surgery depends on making a consistent commitment to a comprehensive bariatric program. Ultimately, the goal with weight loss surgery isn’t to get you to your weight loss goal FAST. It is to get you to your weight loss goal in a healthy and sustainable way that will help you to feel like the best version of yourself. Losing weight is just one part of the equation! Maintaining weight loss for life after bariatric surgery is the main goal. For more information about how weight loss surgery may be able to help you reach your weight loss goal contact our office.

Dr. Joshua Long headshot

This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS. Dr. Long is a double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and bariatric medical director for Parker Adventist Hospital.
Full Bio: Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Page Updated: January 4th, 2023

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