In order to set a healthy goal weight after weight loss surgery, there are a few things you MUST consider. The amount of pounds you lose is primarily dependent on the type of surgery, followed by all the essential post-op requirements needed to succeed in the long term.
The average expected weight loss ranges from 50% to 85% of the pre-surgery excess weight. The bariatric nutrition specialist can give you better guidance on your weight setpoint. Here, we cover tips on how to reach optimal weight after a bariatric operation.
Weight Loss Goals
It’s up to you to set and fulfill your goal weight1. To reach this end weight, patients must follow (to the best of their ability) the
Ideally, your nutritionist or dietitian will set your target weight if your surgeon/doctor does not2. With proper planning, weight loss objectives can be extremely beneficial in reaching your goal weight after weight loss surgery.
It’s impossible to guarantee how much weight loss to expect after bariatric surgery because everyone is different. With that being said, there is nothing wrong with setting goals and staying motivated to reach a specific weight.
Your Goal Weight Based on Body Mass Index (BMI)
There are two ways to set a goal weight after weight loss surgery. Either set a long-term goal weight or a short-term goal weight.
Long-Term Goal Weight: A long-term goal weight refers to an ideal final weight you will get down to after weight loss surgery. Our rule of thumb for a healthy goal weight is to input your height on a BMI chart and aim for the highest weight in the “normal weight range.”
Once you reach that goal, you can re-evaluate and decide if you’d like to set an additional small goal if you want to get a bit lower in weight.
Short-Term Goal Weight: If you want to set short-term goals to motivate you more, we have the solution for you. First, set your goal weight at the highest point of the next “weight class”.
For example, if you start in the morbidly obese category, you can aim your goal weight in the obese range. Once you hit that point, you can work towards the overweight range, which finally leads you to the top of the normal range.
Other Ways to Set Your Goal Weight
1. Your Goal Weight Based on Body Fat Composition3
This is the most accurate way to choose a healthy weight because it is specific to your body type. As you lose weight, you want to lose predominantly fat while preserving as much muscle as possible.
One person who weighs 150 pounds could be considered overweight in a BMI chart, yet this person could be a bodybuilder with 6% body fat. The only problem is that it takes a special instrument to measure.
You can purchase home scales that predict body fat percentage, although your most accurate readings will come from a high-quality scale typically found in a doctor’s office. A “healthy” body fat composition is generally between 18-24% for males and 25-31% for females.
2. Your Goal Weight Based on Expected Excess Weight Loss
Your expected weight loss (%EWL) is mainly depending on the type of bariatric procedure you receive,
- Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Patients may expect an average of 65-70% excess weight loss in 1 year.*
- Gastric Bypass Surgery: Patients may expect an average of 70-72% excess weight loss in 1 year.*
- Mini Gastric Bypass Surgery: Patients may expect an average of 70-73% excess weight loss in 1 year.*
- Duodenal Switch Surgery: Patients may expect an average of 72-75% excess weight loss in 1 year.*
- Gastric Balloon: Patients may expect an average of 10-30% excess weight loss total.*
If You Are Losing Too Much Weight…
It is rare to lose too much weight with any procedure, but it has a higher probability with malabsorptive procedures like gastric bypass or duodenal switch surgery. These are better for “higher-BMI” patients because it is possible to lose too much weight.
With gastric sleeve surgery, patients rarely lose too much weight and generally feel physically and mentally great. If you want to stop losing weight, speaking to a dietitian is important to help you learn the safest way to do it. A nutritionist can help you choose nutrient-dense foods to incorporate into your diet in order to add calories with less volume of food.
Finding out your “ideal” weight is a loaded question. Perfect body weight is largely influenced by perceived visual appeal. Everyone can expect different weight loss based on genetics, environment, structure, age, physical activity, eating habits, starting weight, plus hundreds of other factors.
You do not need to starve yourself to reach your ideal body weight, as your body needs food to function. Actually, eating too little can work the opposite as your metabolism goes down and your body stores fat.
Eating more food in larger quantities can be risky because it can restart bad habits, and weight gain is almost unavoidable. Overeating or binge eating is one of the most prevalent causes of obesity, so it is usually never recommended to increase food intake significantly. Overeating after weight loss surgery can also lead to stretching your pouch.
* Individual results may vary. Results may not be typical. Everyone’s success is different and maybe more or less than average.