Diet plan for weight loss after hysterectomy will help you lose weight. Not only that, but it’s important to choose a healthy diet plan as well. If you’re serious about losing weight and ensuring it stays off, the diet plan for weight loss after hysterectomy should be sensible and promote long-term lifestyle changes.
What Causes Weight Gain After a Hysterectomy?
No matter which type of hysterectomy you have, you’ll have a post-op recovery period during which you need to rest so that your body can heal. If you had a regular exercise routine or were very active before surgery, this recovery time may cause you to pack on some pounds. The recovery period, and recommendations on rest and activity can vary based on the type of hysterectomy you have. For example:
Abdominal hysterectomy: You’ll spend the first 2-3 days at the hospital, but complete recovery takes six to eight weeks.
Vaginal or laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH): Because a vaginal hysterectomy is less invasive than an abdominal procedure, you’ll only be in the hospital for 1-2 days, and recovery can be as short as two weeks.
Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH): LSH is the least surgically invasive procedure and can have a recovery period as short as six days and up to two weeks.
The recovery period isn’t necessarily a time to worry about your weight. Instead, focus on feeling better and making healthy choices.
After recovery, you may be able to lose the extra pounds. But some women can have trouble losing post-op weight and even continue to gain weight. Unfortunately, weight gain after a hysterectomy can occur without you making any significant changes in lifestyle or habits.
Why is that?
Removal of your uterus can cause changes in your hormone production. If you also have your ovaries removed, you’ll experience hormone production changes, particularly estrogen. When your hormone levels shift and cause a hormone imbalance, you may experience a buffet of symptoms. Three of these symptoms can lead to a fourth symptom, weight gain.
Let’s Look At That Fact a Bit More
Think of weight gain as a combo plate that you order from a restaurant. A combo plate takes some of your favorite foods from a longer list and puts them all on the same plate. The difference is that the combo plate called weight gain doesn’t come with a chalupa, taco, and enchilada. Instead, it comes with sleep issues, low energy, and decreased metabolism. This trio of symptoms makes it much more challenging to maintain your target weight or lose weight and makes weight gain the order of the day.
When estrogen levels drop, falling asleep becomes more challenging. Likewise, when progesterone levels are erratic, you’re likely to be awakened by hot flashes and night sweats.
A loss of estrogen causes low energy, amplified by lack of sleep. Feeling sluggish and low make you want to exercise less.
Poor sleep and low energy levels can lead to a slowing of the metabolic processes. Your body won’t burn as much energy if your metabolism slows down. Instead, it will turn that energy into fat and store it around your waistline.
Unfortunately, when you gain weight after a hysterectomy, it’s not just your waistline that gets fat. Fat also accumulates around your internal organs. And internal fat puts you at risk for heart disease and diabetes.
How Can I Avoid Weight Gain After a Hysterectomy?
Now that you know why women gain weight after a hysterectomy, you can do something about it before it becomes a problem. Here are three things you can do to prevent weight gain after a hysterectomy.
1 Diet and Exercise
Eating well and exercising regularly can help avoid weight gain after a hysterectomy. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats is an excellent place to start. Exercising for 75-150 minutes per week (depending on your exercise choice) is also a wonderful habit.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a great way to rebalance hormone levels. You may have noticed the link between low estrogen levels and weight gain. BHRT can increase your estrogen levels and take the Weight Gain Combo Plate off the menu.
3 Reduce Stress
Chronic stress can affect your hormone levels and leave you with severe munchies. Dropping unnecessary tasks and prioritizing what matters most to you is an excellent first step toward stress reduction. Adding stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and enjoyable activities to your daily routine can also help reduce chronic stress.
Not Enough to Have an Effect?
When it comes to losing weight, sometimes doing the basics by yourself isn’t enough – especially after a major surgery like a hysterectomy that affects your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Having a carefully formulated post-op plan can help keep you on track with your weight after a hysterectomy.
And don’t worry. There’s still hope if you’ve already had surgery and weight is already a concern.
At Nava, we understand the complexity of issues affecting women post-hysterectomy. Therefore, we do not focus on treating symptoms. Instead, we use a sophisticated diagnostic approach to identify the root cause of the problems. We then develop a personalized plan to get you back to feeling like you but at 100%.
The Nava Method: The Nava 5
The NAVA Method is the perfect approach to managing or losing weight after a hysterectomy because The NAVA 5 addresses:
- Hormone Balance & Sexual Health
- Stress Management & Life Balance
- Healthy Weight & Digestion
- Inflammation Control
- Restorative Sleep
NAVA medical practitioners will customize an evidence-based vitality plan to address any imbalances and the root cause of your symptoms.
You’ll have a roadmap and all the support you need to manage your weight and live your life at 100%.
What is it About a Hysterectomy that Causes the Need to Lose Weight?
A hysterectomy removes the uterus, which can cause changes in your hormone production, especially if the ovaries are removed at the same time. When the body’s hormonal balance shifts, one symptom you soon notice can be a change in your weight.
The reason this happens is because of estrogen, the female hormone that controls reproduction. It’s closely tied to the organs in the female reproductive system. And those have just been removed.
So the level and balance of hormones in the body is now likely to shift. You might notice this change alongside other symptoms such as:
- Sleep disruption. Many women find sleeping difficult when estrogen levels drop. Some find falling asleep more challenging, others experience night sweats and shorter sleep cycles than in the past.
- Reduced energy. Low energy occurs because of the loss of estrogen and because of the sleep disruptions. This reduction in energy levels can cause women to exercise less, which can lead to weight gain after a hysterectomy.
- Slower metabolism. Poor sleep and less energy often precipitate a slowing of the metabolic processes, which can, in turn, lead to weight gain after undergoing a hysterectomy.
This trio of symptoms explains why losing weight after your hysterectomy can become increasingly difficult.
Most women first notice weight as it gathers on their waistline. Of course, you can’t see the fat that’s also accumulating around your internal organs like your liver and heart. (There’s a wonderful diagram on the Mayo Clinic site!) But this internal fat, known as visceral fat, puts you at risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
And typically, this weight gain after a hysterectomy occurs without you having made any significant changes in lifestyle or habits – which seems somewhat unfair!
So the situation you find yourself in can be frustrating. But while it’s frustrating, it’s also important to know there are multiple techniques to help you lose weight after your hysterectomy.
If you prefer to talk to us about your problem so we can help you lose some of that weight, make an online appointment with Nava Health and Vitality Center today.
But now you know the reasons for your weight gain, here are our best tips on actions you can take RIGHT AWAY to help you start feeling your best again.
1 Lifestyle Changes That Will Help You Lose Weight After Your Operation
Diet and exercise can help slow weight gain after a hysterectomy, although lifestyle changes may not be enough to curb all the effects of a hysterectomy. Changes that can help include:
- Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fats
- Exercising on a regular basis, about 150 minutes per week (unless engaging in aerobic exercise, in which case 75 minutes per week may be adequate)
- Allowing extra time for sleeping at night
- Asking your medical provider for some hormone therapy
Let’s look at that last one in more detail.
2 Hormone Therapy to Help You Lose Weight After a Hysterectomy
Hormone therapy after a hysterectomy is an effective way to reverse some effects of low estrogen.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) differs from traditional hormone replacement therapy in that it is customized for you. This means it is more effective at restoring your body’s natural hormones and helping you return to your former self.
It’s Not Just About Losing Weight After Your Hysterectomy!
After you reach the age of 40 or so, hormones and weight can go through rapid changes and fluctuation that leave you whirling. Hormone therapy is therefore also good for helping you with the many other reasons you might experience weight gain or loss during these years. It’s worth considering, if you’re concerned.
Obviously, HRT for menopause and natural aging should be administered by someone who’s experienced in the medical field and who understands the body’s hormones.
How to Lose Weight After Hysterectomy
Whether you want to lose weight after your hysterectomy or try to prevent weight gain from starting, these steps can support a healthy balance:
Consult your practitioner. By sharing your concerns with your practitioner, you can create a plan to try and counteract post-surgical weight gain. Proposed changes to your diet and exercise routine should always be cleared with your healthcare provider.
Focus on nutrition. Plan your meals around lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables, and prep healthy meals to try and eliminate the temptation to reach for empty calories. If you have the opportunity, stocking your freezer with nutritious meals ahead of time can be a timesaver after surgery. Besides ensuring that your diet supports your goals, meal planning can maximize time and efficiency as well as minimize waste.
Prioritize movement. As soon as your surgeon gives the go-ahead, start walking or engage in another low impact movement you enjoy. Increase activity as you regain your strength and ease your way back to full function. Once your recovery is complete, you can adopt a more focused exercise plan that includes fat-burning cardio as well as muscle-building strength training. Finding activities you enjoy can make your exercise plan sustainable long-term.
Manage stress. Minimizing stress and getting adequate rest are always beneficial, but can be especially vital when recovering from a hysterectomy. An increase in the stress-related cortisol hormone and the effect of short sleep duration on appetite are each separately associated with weight gain and can compound this postoperative problem.
Explore Hormone Replacement Therapy. If you have had a hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy (the removal of both ovaries) and are premenopausal, you will enter surgical menopause. Even if one or both ovaries were conserved, recent research suggests that ovarian failure is common after hysterectomy and may be related to the type of surgery performed. For these reasons, it may be important for you to follow up with a practitioner who specializes in menopausal hormone changes, as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be indicated.
HRT may alleviate hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause (natural or surgical), and it may also protect against loss of lean muscle and bone density. While HRT alone does not cause weight loss, research suggests it can help to prevent the abdominal and visceral weight deposition common after menopause and associated with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. By finding relief from distressing symptoms, you may also be more able to maintain a healthy lifestyle while shedding unwanted pounds.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips After Your Hysterectomy
After a hysterectomy, a healthy lifestyle is no longer an option — it’s a necessity. Suddenly, weight gain is an issue. You may not sleep well. You may feel irritable. Your hormones are changing, and so is your body.
The good news: With good nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction, you can offset the downside of a hysterectomy.
- You’ll keep weight under control.
- You’ll sleep better.
- And you can protect yourself against a host of diseases: heart disease, stroke, broken bones (because of osteoporosis), type 2 diabetes, cancer, and possibly the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Start your healthy lifestyle before your hysterectomy, advises Gladys Tse, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Recipe for a Healthy Lifestyle Before Your Hysterectomy
Whether you’re preventing weight gain — or trying to melt body fat — the basics are the same. Cut calories. Get regular aerobic exercise. Do strength training by lifting weights. It’s the secret of weight loss: As you build more muscle, the body burns more calories.
“A lot of women get an exercise trainer before the surgery, and get into Weight Watchers or another program to change their diet,” Tse tells WebMD. “They understand they would have a hard time after surgery, so they started this beforehand to avoid it. Some of the healthiest women I’ve seen are those who were counseled before their surgery.”
If you’re having a hysterectomy and want optimal health, here are tips to follow for better nutrition, stress reduction, and fitness.
Tips for Good Nutrition
Feast on colorful foods. Fill your plate with vibrant fruits and veggies — red, orange, yellow, and deep green. These are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and fiber and should be the mainstay of your diet.
Get plenty of grains & legumes. Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and cereals are all great high-fiber options. Black, red, and kidney beans are high in fiber and antioxidants.
Choose proteins & fats wisely. You need a balance of lean protein (like skinless chicken), fatty fish like salmon (with omega-3 fats), and vegetable protein. Avoid trans and saturated fats, like fats found in butter, margarine, salad dressing, fried foods, snack foods, sweets. Vegetable oils (like olive oil and peanut oil) are good fats.
Get enough calcium. For bone health, get at least 1,200 mg of calcium daily, plus vitamin D. Take supplements or eat three to four 8-ounce servings of low-fat dairy daily. Hard cheese, yogurt, fortified products like orange juice, canned salmon, broccoli, and legumes are good calcium sources. Talk to your doctor about a bone density scan.
Tips for Stress Reduction
Decide what matters most to you. To achieve a well-balanced life, it’s essential to get your priorities clear. Satisfying career? Spouse? Community service? Health? Adventure and travel? Figure out your “top five” list. Then give those things your undivided attention.
Drop unnecessary activities. If a commitment doesn’t fit into your priority list, drop it. You’ll have more time for things that do matter to you. Give your priorities the respect they deserve.
Learn to relax. Listen to music that provides a mental escape. Or find a relaxation exercise that works — like rhythmic breathing, deep breathing, visualized breathing, progressive muscle relaxation.
Get enough rest and sleep. Sleep helps your body recover from the day’s stresses.
Find quiet time. Meditate or pray every morning. Read something that inspires you. Focus on self-renewal, optimism, hope. Find purpose, meaning, and joy in life. Share the love.
Enjoy yourself. Make time forfun, relaxation, family and friends. Develop new interests. Enjoy dancing, backpacking, yoga class, biking, painting, gardening, date night with your spouse, girls’ night out. You’ll stay active, youthful, healthy, connected.
Keep things in perspective. There’s truth in the adage: “Accept that there are things you cannot control.” Be assertive when you need to be. Share your feelings and opinions without being defensive. Then let it go.
Drink sensibly. If a woman drinks, one alcoholic drink a night is usually recommended.
Tips for Fitness
Get plenty of aerobic exercise. Walking, jogging, and dance-exercise are all good choices. Exercise at least 20 minutes several days a week. If your goal is weight loss, you’ll need to exercise more. Exercise builds strong bones, helps you lose weight, and reduces heart disease risk. It will also improve your mood and help you sleep better.
Lift hand weights. It’s known as strength training, and it helps with weight loss, improves strength and posture, and tones the body. Find a weight you can comfortably handle for eight repetitions. Gradually work up to 12 reps.
Stretch it out. Yoga and Pilates help you stay flexible, build core body strength, and increase stability. They also improve balance, so you avoid falls and fractures.