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Why do patients gain weight again after bariatric surgery? Will this happen to me? When should I contact my health care team if I start to gain weight after surgery?

Weight regain can happen to anyone. Eating is often based on emotions or situations, and if either promote poor eating/drinking habits, you can regain weight.

Think about the effects of surgery like new car smell. It’s strongest when the surgery is new, and it’s likely to wane over time. Surgery is just a tool. Tools are only as effective as you allow them to be. On average, you will see the greatest effects within the first 18 months after surgery. After that, the ability to maintain weight loss will depend on long-term lifestyle changes (sleep, physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health).

Most common patterns with weight regain are seen when patients are:

  • Drinking calories (including alcohol)
  • Grazing between meals on “slider foods” (simple starches made with sugar, flour, or both, like pretzels, crackers, popcorn, chips, cookies, cakes, and candy)
  • Eating after feeling full
  • Drinking within 30 minutes of eating
  • Lack of physical activity

If you start to experience weight regain, get in touch with your health care team early. Many patients wait too long because they are worried their health care team will be upset. We only want to help, so get in touch sooner rather than later.

Learn more about average weight regain.

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