Some people seem to think of bariatric surgery as a shortcut to weight loss. As an experienced bariatric surgeon and weight loss doctor in Maryland, I can tell you that for surgery to be successful, it’s no easy journey for patients. A healthy outcome is highly dependent on a patient’s willingness to exercise both before and after surgery and make other lifestyle changes. Here’s why:
- Exercise maintains lean muscle mass. Rapid weight loss results in fat reduction, but it may also affect healthy muscle mass. Muscle controls our metabolism, and if you don’t exercise, your muscles deteriorate and your metabolism slows. Exercising before and after surgery helps maintain muscle mass and keeps your metabolism working efficiently.
- Exercise boosts your energy and mood. Beginning an exercise routine is difficult, especially if regular activity has never been part of your lifestyle. Luckily, exercise releases endorphins that elevate your mood — giving you an instant emotional lift. Exercise also gives you more energy so that you feel better throughout the day. The improvement in energy and mood is payoff enough for many patients to keep exercising, regardless of the added benefit of weight control.
- Exercise burns excess calories. Although weight loss surgery can make it more difficult to take in too many calories, it is not impossible to get more than your fair share. Many liquids, such as alcohol, are high in calories and can contribute to weight regain. Exercise helps reduce your overall caloric intake and keeps the scale from creeping up.