Weight Gain After Surgery: Need Advice!

May 09, 2020 10:15 am

Hi, new to the forum trying to find advice as I've been searching for months and haven't found an answer or someone similar.


I'm 6'6" and don't exercise much and have a desk job.

I was 362 pounds. I started calorie counting by dropping to 1900 calories. This worked and I dropped 2 pounds a week for roughly 1.5 years. Then I stopped losing weight. So after 3 months of not losing any, I dropped to 1400 calories and I continued to lose 2 pounds a week until I reached 240 pounds.

I stopped dieting after 3 years because I had an operation due in a year to have an ileostomy due to my ulcerative colitis and wanted to be strong and fit for that. I went back to 1900 calories and maintained my weight for over a year without any problems.

I had the operation and due to me being on immune suppressants for so long, I had to go through 5 months of infections including a 7" abscess. I lost 42 pounds during this time.

Once I got better, I went back to 2000 calories hoping to carry on maintaining my weight, or even put 14 pounds back on, as 200 pounds was a little light.

In the next 4 months, I put 30 pounds on. I thought it's my body recovering so I carried on thinking it will level out. After 7 months, I was up another 20 pounds to 250.

I got back down to 240 by eating just 1200 calories and now to maintain it, I'm looking at no more than 1500. It's been 1.5 years since the operation.

So to lose weight and get that last 20 pounds off, I'm looking at dropping to 1000 calories a day. Yet whenever I google or research this, everybody says 1000 is far too low and they should stop doing it at once, so this leaves me totally confused.

I can't do regular exercise easily due to bad knees and arthritis in my back, so I would prefer to do it how I have been for the last 6 years.

Sorry for the long post, but I felt the back story was important.

Any ideas what's going on with my body?
Help would be appreciated.

May 09, 2020 12:10 pm

Do you eat meat? If you do, I would suggest the Atkins diet. You can eat as much as you want but must severely limit your carbohydrates. This is not an easy task at first but is so much easier than limiting your calorie count. An added benefit is it lowers your cholesterol and all those other lipids that I can't spell, reduces gas, and is a "low residue" that will help with most ostomies. Good luck.

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May 09, 2020 12:15 pm

I have thought about it, but it would be very difficult for me as I am a carb addict. Something to look into though, sounds expensive lol.  

May 09, 2020 12:19 pm

Like to know, is this normal to gain weight so easily and having to reduce calorie intake so much after an ileostomy?

May 09, 2020 5:39 pm

Hi Cannock,

Interesting post. The easy answer is everyone's body is different, so you need to do what works for you. Yeah, I can see the eye rolls now too. But there can be large variations in one's metabolism, absorption efficiency, etc. What I would recommend you do is adjust the calories until you get to the weight you want to be at. Stay there doing what you're doing for at least 60 days........and then have a dietician order micronutrient panels on you and have your primary care doc order routine blood work. If the results of both are all good........stop reading stuff on the internet and go enjoy your life. If not, the dietician and/or doc will know where to look to see what's amiss.



Mild Mannered...........I met with Dr. Atkins before he tripped on a street in NYC and bumped his head and died a few days later. I went to his office for a consultation with him followed by a full workup in his "lab"........cost me like $1500 back in the mid-80's and insurance wouldn't cover it. The guy was a pompous asshole and his "testing" was a joke. I paid $1500 to drink a 12oz glass of Jolt Cola (with double the sugar and caffeine) then waited 15 minutes, and then was asked to hold out my hands to see if I was shaking. I wasn't and they were pissed. After a few more tests like that and a check of my blood pressure and heart rate, I felt like a complete fool. But I paid another couple hundred bucks for some of his super secret proprietary supplements (that you could only get through him) because it got my aunt off my back who believed everything Atkins said during his daily radio show in NYC and was hounding me to death about going to see him. When I showed her the "testing" that he did and explained that his "lab" was one doctor's office and one doctor's office with the furniture removed......she finally saw the light. He got the Carb Diet thing right..........well actually those who took control of the company after he croaked got it right, as they started applying science and data to the mix, but it was his idea. I just feel bad for all the suckers like me who gave him their money expecting him to actually cure everything from Crohn's to Cancer with diet, like he boasted he could do every day on his radio show. I ran across some of the paperwork from those ridiculous tests I paid a fortune for the other day........and had a good laugh. Now whenever I see the Atkins products in a store I just shake my head.........if they only knew. But as a diet........if it works for you that's great. But like the Great Wizard of Oz.........just don't look behind the curtain.....cuz you won't like what you see.

Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
May 09, 2020 6:19 pm

You may have to just move more to burn calories. Walking around your house, doing housework, bed or chair exercises, if you have access to a pool, water exercises. Starving yourself long term on 1000 calories is not good for your health. Eat lots of vegetables.

May 09, 2020 7:53 pm

Yeah, I know exercise is the best. I was wondering why the big change. I was doing great pre-op.

Sep 28, 2020 12:15 pm

I'd been sick for 19 years with a rare case of collagenous colitis; prior to my ileostomy surgery. I was very nice and thin... I couldn't keep food in me for more than 10 minutes.
Now after my surgery, I found that food is yummy and I don't live on my toilet. But now, I'm putting on more weight than I'd like to have. I'm 150 at 5'7 and feel like a porker. I don't tolerate any fresh veggies which I miss. I have trouble chewing. Any suggestions? I'm sure losing my husband after 2 months after my surgery... then Covid in the world didn't help... but I need guidance please.

Sep 28, 2020 7:47 pm

Hi Ritz,

Sure wish there was a simple fool-proof answer for your question... I'd be a zillionaire! Back when I could actually gain weight, I found the best way to not do so was to keep involved in hobbies that took my mind off eating. I know that sounds silly, but if you're focused on doing something... time really flies... and as long as food isn't what you're focused on, you'll find it easier to lose weight. And it doesn't have to be anything fitness-related... just something that keeps you away from the fridge for a couple of hours at a time. I find that doing almost anything outside, whether it's gardening, rebuilding my tractor, or just dicking around the barn, makes the hours whisk by. And if you really enjoy what you're doing, you won't want to stop... even to eat. Maybe it's time to throw that kayak on the roof of your car and head out to explore... just don't bring anything to eat except a few protein bars and a water bottle or two. You go, girl!!



Sep 28, 2020 9:18 pm

Once the weather gets cooler here in Arizona...too hot to do anything outside and swimming by myself is absolutely boring after a while. I sew almost all day. I love my bike...but need cooler temps, sounds like I need to move out. Being in the sun and sweating makes my appliance itch like crazy. I'm trying just to drink more water and cut down these carbs. Having a man in my life used to keep me thin.... I'll work on it.. I hate being heavier nbsp

Sep 29, 2020 2:59 am

Hi Ritz,

I hear ya! But if your barrier itches when you sweat, something is amiss. I'd try to get that corrected, as you're missing out on a great natural way to lose weight, by sweating your butt off. It's really hard to burn a significant amount of calories without physical exertion of some sort. I mean, think about it... if you could run a consistent 10-minute mile and you ran for an hour... you'd only burn 600 calories. That's a candy bar or a burger... for an hour of running! And that's just to break even! So you'd have to walk to the moon or knit a quilt the size of Rhode Island to burn the same 600 calories... all while not grabbing a snack or drink while doing so. Do you like celery?



Sep 29, 2020 12:57 pm

That's one of my other issues... I love salads and such, but have not eaten any since my surgery. Yes... I love celery. I saw on a blockage list that fresh veggies can cause it. That's probably another reason I'm gaining... eating very little fruit and no bunny foods. Mostly Ritz crackers. As you can begin to tell... I'm afraid if something bad happening. I've been through hell and back... up and down for 20 years. I'm normally extremely adventurous... I've jumped out of planes... been all over the world... chainsawed big trees... now I feel pathetic. I've never made friends here in Arizona over the last 10 years. I have many in New Jersey and Tennessee where I used to live. Now, with my husband gone... it gets harder each day. My adult kids tell me I need to move on, this is my first step. I don't consider myself 60... can you eat salads with an ileostomy? You're being very helpful... I'm normally extremely sarcastic... but sometimes the world doesn't like that anymore. nbsp