Bariatric surgery can lead to 60-80% of excess weight loss in the first 18 months following surgery.
But not all weight is the same. In this article we’ll discuss the importance of muscle mass. And share 3 tips to preserve more muscles once you had surgery.
Why muscle mass matters after bariatric surgery
Here are the facts. Bariatric surgery puts you at a higher risk of losing muscle mass than losing weight without having surgery. The most important reason is the daily challenge to eat enough protein. When your stomach is reduced and your hunger hormones plummet, it becomes a strenuous task to get enough nutrients in.
Muscle mass is a great indicator of overall health. When your muscles deteriorate, your immune system weakens. You lose your strength and it’s more likely that your hair and nails suffer too (this all is related to protein intake too).
Your muscle mass is partly responsible for the rate of your metabolism. We call this the basal metabolic rate: the minimum energy required to perform basic functions in your body to stay alive. Think of things like your heart beating and breathing.
If you lose muscles, your metabolic rate slows down. And a slower BMR is associated with poorer weight loss outcomes.
You need that muscle mass to lose weight the healthy way.
Let’s have a look at 3 things you can focus on, on your bariatric journey to make sure that you keep that muscle loss in check.
#1. Protein is your No. 1 macro-friend
Fun fact: your body doesn’t have the ability to store protein. This means you need a daily influx of protein to maintain your muscles (remember: protein is the building block of your muscles, right?).
But it’s not protein on its own that help you retain your muscular tissue. Studies suggest that adding a small amount of (complex) carbs to your protein-packed meal, helps to build more muscles quicker. And this is how that works:
When eating carbohydrates, your body breaks this down into glucose. Glucose is your energy source for your cells. When glucose hits the blood stream, insulin production is activated so that glucose can be transported to your cells for energy.
Insulin is an anabolic hormone. In other words: it builds. And what it also does, it aids muscle repair and muscle maintenance too.
There are different ways to determine how much protein you personally need. The general guidelines state that protein intake should be around 60-80 grams every day. However, if you have a more active lifestyle this goal may be more than that.
#2. Lift those weights and stay active
There’s two ways to fuel your muscle mass. One is through nutrition, and the second way is through exercise. Light resistance training can already be helpful to keep muscle loss to a minimum.
Make sure to follow your surgeon’s guidelines when it comes down to incorporating exercise to your lifestyle (again).
#3. Avoid skipping meals after Bariatric Surgery
When you skip your meals, you skip the chance to get your protein in. After bariatric surgery, it’s can be challenging to hit your protein goals. If you reduce the number of meals you’re having in a day, you’re missing out on key moment to get your protein in.
With the help of protein shakes or supplements, it may be easier to reach your protein goals. Working with a dietitian can give you more insight in how to use nutrition to stay committed to your guidelines.
About Your Onederland
We’re so glad you made it to the end of this post!
If you’re looking for reliable bariatric resources and want your questions about your journey answered – then you’ve found the right place.
Your Onederland is your go-to resource for all things bariatric surgery.
And the best part?
We give you a free platform where connections are made, every single day!
On top of that, you’ll find TONS of tips, tricks and reliable resources for your bariatric journey here too.
You see, our ultimate goal is to help you find, and most of all keep, your focus while you’re navigating your post-op life.
Bariatric surgery isn’t the easy way out. And creating new habits doesn’t happen overnight.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated!
You got this!
- Chaston TB, et al. Changes in fat-free mass during significant weight loss: a systematic review. Int J Obes, 2007; 31(5): 743-750.
- Mechanik J.I., Youdim, A. Jones, D.B., et al. Clinical practice guidelines for the perioperative nutritional, metabolic, and nonsurgical support of the bariatric patient: Cosponsored by American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, The Obesity Society, and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013;21Suppl 1:S1-27.
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