Life After Bariatric Surgery: Diet and Exercise

Posted On May 09, 2023

5 Min Read

Dr. Siddhartha Bhattacharya

Consultant - Laparoscopic Surgery

Manipal Hospital - Salt Lake

Life After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is being performed among patients who are suffering from severe obesity. Obesity is the condition in which excess body fat gets accumulated, causing major risks to health and life expectancy. It is caused by excess dietary calories when combined with a lack of physical activity (exercises) and genetic susceptibility.

Obesity entirely depends upon the individual’s body mass index (BMI), which represents increased body weight associated with excess fatty levels in the body. Hence, BMI is calculated by dividing the individual's weight in kilogrammes by their height in square metres. The following table represents the BMI level in accordance with their category of weight status.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Weight status (category)

Less than 18.5



Normal (healthy weight)




Moderately obese


Severely obese

40 and above

Very severely obese


Obesity has been known to be one of the leading preventable causes of death, affecting almost 1 billion people across the globe. It increases the risk of other comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus (type 2), high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels among individuals. Hence, it is important to consider the appropriate treatment plan for the treatment and prevention of obesity.

Visit a top weight Loss hospital in Kolkata if you require bariatric surgery. 

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is most often known as weight loss surgery, which involves surgical changes to the stomach or digestive system. These changes limit the amount of food intake by the individual along with the nutrients being absorbed, resulting in effective weight loss. Hence, bariatric surgery helps reset the body by regulating body weight. It leads to hormonal changes within the body, which eventually help in decreasing the appetite and increasing the feeling of fullness, metabolism, and a healthier food preference.

Individuals belonging to the age group of 18 to 65 years can undergo bariatric surgery. This surgery can be performed under special conditions among the adolescents and elderly population. Before the surgery, patients are provided with, a liquid diet for 1-2 weeks under the dietician’s guidance, following a diet chart. This 1-2 weeks’ diet before surgery helps in weight loss after surgery and will reduce the size of the liver among patients.  Bariatric surgery is a safe procedure with complication rates lower than 1 in 1000. Hence, there is very less chance of having any side effects.

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Several patients are struggling a lot with their weight management and related health conditions. Undergoing bariatric surgery has helped the majority of people achieve weight loss and improve the quality of life of those who have been suffering from obesity-related health conditions. It has been effective in improving physical functioning, appearance, and social opportunities.

Post-Surgery Diet

Bariatric surgery results in changes to the anatomy and function of the stomach. Hence, changes in dietary habits are considered important for ensuring appropriate weight loss without causing any malnutrition in the patient. 

The health centres that perform bariatric surgery provide the patients with a dietary protocol which needs to be followed. Below are some dietary guidelines that are recommended by healthcare providers after undergoing bariatric surgery:

  • The patients are provided with a clear liquid diet immediately after the surgery. They are initially given liquids for several weeks, and later a transition from liquids to a soft and then solid diet is recommended.

  • The post-surgery requires the intake of 70 grammes of protein every day for proper organ functioning.

  • Small portions of meals with at least 5-6 balanced and structured meals along with some healthy snacks are recommended.

  • It is recommended to chew the food slowly and completely avoid sweetened food items.

  • The patients are recommended not to drink and eat at the same time. Liquid intake is restricted within 30 minutes of eating solids.

  • Also, intake of carbonated beverages and caffeinated drinks is discouraged, as the phosphoric acid and caffeine present in the liquids increase the chances of developing an ulcer.

  • Patients are recommended to follow a low-fat, moderate-carbohydrate, and high-protein diet.

  • The daily calorie intake should not exceed 1000 calories.

Following is the list of nutrients that should be included in a diet after bariatric surgery:

  • Fluids

The patient is advised to drink more water and low-calorie fluids between meals to avoid dehydration. Each small should include an intake of at least 1 cup of liquid 6–8 times a day, which brings the total intake to 2 litres of liquid every day.

  • Protein Intake

Patients are recommended food items that are rich in protein, such as eggs, meats, fish, seafood, tuna, poultry, soy milk, tofu, cottage cheese, yoghurt, and other milk products, for protecting the muscle tissues. Hence, 65–75 g of protein intake is recommended every day after the surgery.

  • Supplements

The nutrient deficiency after the surgery can be prevented by the intake of supplements that include multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D, B12, and other related supplements. These supplements are given in powdered form or broken into small pieces for easy absorption within the new anatomy.

Exercises to be Done After the Surgery

After undergoing bariatric surgeries, patients are recommended for lifestyle modification that mainly involves being committed to a nutritious diet and exercise programme. Exercise, on the other hand, has various benefits for an individual’s health after the surgery.

Some common exercises recommended to patients after bariatric surgery include:

  • Walking

The patient can start this exercise by initially walking for 10 minutes and later exceeding 30 minutes.

  • Swimming

This exercise is recommended a few weeks after the surgery, as water exercises will not result in any injury.

  • Sitting Exercises

Low-impact sitting exercises such as arm rotations, leg shifts, and shoulder rolls are recommended after a few weeks of surgery.

  • Cycling

This exercise should be done after 1-2 months of the surgery as it will require more strength and endurance, which may cause injury.

  • Pilates

This exercise will be effective in toning the muscles and providing strength to the body after the surgery.

Consult a top bariatric surgeon in Kolkata if you require surgery to achieve weight loss. 

Life After Bariatric Surgery - Manipal Hospitals