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weight control after surgery

lynettellynette Posts: 217
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Was wondering what everyone experienced in reguards to weight flux after lumbar fusion...weight loss..weight gain or did you stay stable. I see alot of people don't have much appetite.Thanks Lynette


  • Hi Lynette-after my first fusion I lost 40 lbs-but I had a terrible recovery--this time I have gained 2 lbs!I'm not even drinking beer yet!I don't have much appetite,its true---and I don't eat junk during normal times---except Mexican food,which we Texans consider one of the major food groups.I have been eating more winter-type cassaroles,which my husband has been making.I am usually a fruit,cheese,crackers,chicken,type of eater.I would say with the relative inactivity after surgery,it would be very important not to include much"comfort"food!Chocolate,ice cream,etc.
  • Again, a question with myriad answers!! I might have lost a couple pounds after my fusion, but I regained it all and then some...like about 15 pounds when I started in with the Medrol packs and steroid injections, nerve blocks, etc. to try to figure out why I had so much nerve pain.

    It really just all depends on whether the meds cause you to lose your appetite...or if you're put on Lyrica or neurontin, if it makes your appetite go crazy and you gain 20 pounds in a month before you realize what is going on...and what is causing it!!

    If you are hungry, if you eat sensibly, you'll be fine. I gained weight because I gave into my cravings for sweets. Whenever I didn't feel like leaving the house, which was frequently, I would bake something. Then, of course, I had to eat it since there was no one else around who would!!

    There's nothing magical about this...except not knowing how you'll react to the medications and anesthesia. You will not be able to burn off many calories while in early recovery. So you have to watch how much you put in your mouth!!

    If you're put on Lyrica or Neurontin (gabapentin), know ahead of time that they cause weight gain in many people -- or should I say, they cause an increase in appetite. You will not magically gain weight by taking one of them unless you are eating more than you're able to burn off. Just keep this in mind.

    If your concern is losing too much weight, I can't help you with that one!!

  • Thats what I think. I gained about 20 lbs in 4 months on neurontin before surgery. Now I am weaning off of it and I am losing. My appetite after surgery was so-so. I still don't get that hungry but I am doing alot of sweets and junk-food.

    I was lucky in a way because my husband went upstate on day 4 of my recovery so I didn't have to cook or order take out for him. I'm fine with a sandwich or pizze. It was better for me to be with just the kids because they don't care if the house is a mess but my husband does. Too bad he can't clean anything by himself!!

    I would suggest having healthy small serving items. Like yogurt or fruit and cheese. Slim Fast before they recalled it was good too because it's packed with vitamins and is high fiber. Walmart has their brand which is pretty good too.
  • There is nothing magic about the weight gain or loss. Typically drastic losses are like tex mentions. Having a bad recovery. Most typical is weight gain from eating too much of the wrong food and doing no exercise.

    The comfort foods and such will get you every time. Watch your consumption of dairy products, especially cheese. Besides it binds you too and with meds that is not good at all. Back of the fried stuff, etc... A basic nutrition handbook is all you need. Try eating more fruit and vegetables and less of the other stuff.

    Basic exercise tends to consist of mainly walking. If you can walk for 10 minutes or more then you burn some calories. It's also the staple exercise for lumbar surgery folks.

    The pills, like Lyrica, are horrible for weight gain. I'm a small frame and usually burned off most of what I ate. I took Lyrica for a few months before surgery to stave off the pain. I gained almost 30 pounds, of fat!!! Needless to say in all the places you expect it to happen on a guy. Now I have to get rid of that and it will be slow going.

    Please ignore tex on the chocolate remark. That's just blasphemy!!! She'll burn for that one... ;-)

  • for probably the first 3-5 weeks after surgery. At first I could attribute it to the meds...or lack there of as I began weaning myself off all meds as soon as I got home from the hospital. After that it was mostly emotional stress and such. But I forced myself to at least have 2-3 protein shakes a day, plus some fruit and whatever other good things I could force down because I knew my body needed the protein and other vitamins and nutrients to heal.

    I'm now about 4 months post-op and have lost a total of 28 lbs. I lost the first 20 within the first 2 1/2 mo., and then after that the weight loss slowed. I'm still doing the protein shake thing 1-2 times a day, and am also walking, hiking, and/or going to the gym fairly regularly.

    I gained a good 30 lbs during my year and a half of meds, inactivity, etc. So I have a little more to go before I "break even", but hopefully if I can continue to eat well and get more and more active I will lose the remainder of that weight and then some!
  • for all your input. I am not on any meds for nerve pain presently so I hope that means I won't need any post op. I have been lucky enough that the disc backed off the nerve in november so I have only been taking about 4-5 advil a day to keep things at bay. I will have to stop the advil shortly cuz my surgery is in 1 month. I tried going without for 3 days and last night I had to give in and took 3 advil. I guess I will have to take my vicodin if needed the last couple weeks before surgery. I put on 8 lbs since july with my reherniation and didn't know if I should concentrate on losing it now or not. I know when I carry just a heavy bag of grocceries it's amazing how I feel it in my spine so the more off my spine the better! lynette
  • eeeeeek!o.k. I retract the chocolate statement--eat chocolate!---there is chocolate flavored yogurt-but that yogurt will get you too!----angelfood cake is supposed to have no fat,and little calories--
  • If i am totally honest - I have gained weight since my Micro-D (27/01/2010) and this is down only to me being soooo Bored at home!
    After surgery, I didn't eat much, but it was when I got home.
    I am so frustrated and bored that all I do is eat or smoke! I can't drive or walk far and all the visitors have now dried up!

    Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear!
  • I did not eat much the first couple of weeks, also did not weigh, did not care. mostly slept and took meds. since then I have gained about 25 lbs, but I am having a very slow and difficult recovery, my 1st surgery was over 5 months ago now. Not being able to walk much or any exercise makes it difficult, my appetite waxes and wanes, cooking is difficult so we do a lot of quickie foods, usually not the most healthy. I try to provide a salad with each dinner. late night cravings are the worst for me, when I cant sleep and just "want a little snack". I am on gabapentin so that is probably not helping.
    Good luck to you. Keep us posted.
    God bless and keep you,
  • I didn't have a fusion but I have gained since my microdiscectomy and headed in for a revision on Monday. I did well at holding steady for 3 months. But winter, pain, and stress, and holidays had me put on 5 lbs.

    But I stopped walking as much the last 2 months too. I'm starting to cook healthier and can't wait to start walking again. I am carrying it around my middle so I'm able to hide it but my goal is to get rid of it.
  • I found that by using some common sense in regards to what foods, portion size, number of meals, comfort foods and activity goes a long way towards maintaining a healthy weight. All of this before, during and after surgery regardless of what medications are being taken. I have to find a balance that works for me in regards to where I'm at during that time and for the type of surgery and as to what type of activity I can and cannot do. Preparation for and recovery from surgery, both require responsible action on my part. The surgeon does his part and I have to do mine. Included in that, is making certain I do what is necessary to heal and weight gain or loss is a very significant part of that. So I take diet (food type, portion and processing) and activity level very seriously.

    Basically I have to take each part of my recovery, as seriously as the next.

  • texascowgirl said:
    eeeeeek!o.k. I retract the chocolate statement--eat chocolate!---there is chocolate flavored yogurt-but that yogurt will get you too!----angelfood cake is supposed to have no fat,and little calories--
    Tex you're right. I just hate giving up chocolate. I never cared for it much before but now dark chocolate I like too much!! I did find some non-dairy chocolate milk that is called Almond Breeze. It tastes really good. I also found some ice cream called SO Delicious. Soy-based all natural non-dairy. Also tastes really good. I drew the line at Tofu though, ughhh.... Oh and we like Mexican too and will still eat that once every week or two.

    I'm eating organic fruit and veggies now. Rather boring. But it works. Whole grains and fruit for breakfast. Salad with olive oil and vinegar for lunch. Then supper we eat reasonably healthy. Cut way down on the meats (red and white) and dairy. I'm not going Vegan or anything but I'm getting rid of a lot of very bad stuff. I drink more pure fruit/veggie and water. Cutting down on coffee and soda. That part is really painful. I love me some coffee!!!

    That and walking 2-3mi/day and now doing real PT. This will help a lot. I took initial measurements and weight but I know where I need to get rid of fat.
  • 2 weeks post-op, and I am down about 15 pounds. No secret, just no appetite. A lot of oatmeal, protien shakes, and chicken & rice.
  • Tramadol totally dulls my appetite so I lose weight on it! Immediately after surgery I stayed put/lost a couple of pounds for about the first three months (including christmas!). Now that I am starting to get fed up I have been eating more rubbish and have had some wine (not lots!) and so seem to be creeping back up. It is the down in the dumps that has got me!
  • Hi Nel! I hear you on the 'down in the dumps' Lately, it seems like this all is becoming a bit much to bear. Winter is getting on my nerves. So is staying home all day-every day. Someone said all they do is eat and smoke..well I don't smoke, so it's eating a lot for me. Then I feel worse 'cause I've gained weight. Today, it was talking to the insurance people on the phone and this last week, divorce got mentioned for the first time in my house. I must say, I'm ready for springtime.
  • Aaron-hang in there-this weather has all of us just about to go over the edge-I hope things get better at your house-pm if you want to talk-Jeannie
  • it sounds like it's a crap shoot with the weight. It certainly not high on my priority but was just wondering. Surgery one month from today!! Lynette
  • I lost 21 lbs over the first 7 weeks after my fusion due to zero appetite and nausea from all the meds. For the last few weeks my appetite has been better, however, I did start Lyrica 3 weeks ago, and have gained 2 lbs...not sure if it just eating in general, or something the Lyrica is causing. The Lyrica is helping with the burning pain, so I have to continue taking it...I just can't take the intense pain anymore...so I will sacrifice a few lbs for pain relief. The last few weeks I have weighed every day, so I eat more or less depending on what the scale says.

  • Lynette - I don't think it has to be bad. Like I said I was doing fine until I went back to work and got fed up! If you aren't a comfort eater you will be ok. TBH I have only changed my weight by about 3 pounds so I don't think that is too bad - a litre of water weighs 2 pounds so.... ;)
  • I am usually not a comfort eater but last time after my micro I had alot of well wishers with lots of comfort food! Lynette
  • If you go into it with the attitude that you won't gain weight then I think you will be fine. Honest - Don't worry! Just keep a check on it and adjust your diet as needs be.
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