You want to go out and explore the world, but when is travelling after gastric sleeve surgery okay? And what happens when you’re away? Should you worry about complications from the surgery, or what to eat? In this post, I want to set the record straight and help you travel after gastric sleeve surgery without any worries.
It takes the stomach 6-8 weeks to heal properly. Most surgeons will want you wait at least 6 weeks until you travel, especially on a long flight, just in case of any complications. Some surgeons may let you take short trips earlier than this, but it’s best to ask your own surgeon and follow their advice. When you are cleared to travel, try some of these practical tips to make the most of your trip.
Make special requests if you need to . Try to avoid really oily or sugary options as they often don’t sit well. Often, pre-ordering the fish or vegetarian option can work well. Worst comes to the worst, you can eat the cheese and crackers and supplement with a snack you’ve brought yourself (see below).
Just because you’re on holidays, doesn’t mean you can stop taking your daily supplements. Check the requirements for travel of each country you’re visiting, and if you need it, make sure you take a Doctor’s letter with your prescribed medications listed, including all of your daily supplements in case you are questioned.
Always have something you know you can eat in your bag with you. Try things like some fruit, dried fruit and nuts, a little protein bar or even an Optifast bar, so you have something with you if you get stuck and don’t feel like eating any of the available options.
Walking is one of the best ways to see a new place! The key is not to let your trip derail your current exercise routine, and to take it as the perfect opportunity to do more during the day than you would normally when you’re sitting at your desk at work. You’ll often stumble across some amazing places on foot that you’ll never find on a bus or in a car. If walking hurts your joints, why not try hiring a bike for the day? Or finding the local swimming pool and getting in for a dip.
Wherever you go, your water bottle should go too… When you go through customs, take an empty water bottle with you, then fill it up when you get through, so you have a big bottle of water to take with you on the plane. If you can’t, make sure you get up and get a glass of water at least every hour during a long flight to stay hydrated. The same principle applies when you arrive. When you’re walking around and especially if it’s hot, you need to be drinking consistently throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Carry a bottle with you and sip sip sip… Aim for 1.5-2L per day if you can.
If you want to try something new, do. Travel after gastric sleeve surgery doesn’t have to mean you have to exclude yourself from fun experiences and trying new foods. Make sure you eat with the family, just order something you know you can manage from the menu. Avoid eating things that are really sugary or oily, try to stick with textures you feel comfortable and don’t forget to still aim for balance with protein and veg at each meal. But, make sure you also try the local delicacies if you feel like it, so you’re not feeling like you’re missing out or deprived.
If you feel worried or unsure about your upcoming trip, have a chat with your dietitian – together you can look through some menus and pick out some options to try, as well as trouble shoot for potential issues so you feel more confident before you go.