Diet and nutrition, Fitness, Hernia Surgery, Lifestyle, Parenting, Post Surgery Health

Post Surgery | Bloating, Water Retention & Weight Gain

Two weeks ago I began a short weight loss phase, which included cleaning up my diet, eating below maintenance and adding in 2 short cardio sessions each week.

Yesterday, 20th March 2017, I underwent surgery to fix an umbilical hernia, located just above my naval. The surgery was performed under general anaesthetic. Today is the day after surgery and so far the pain is bearable, I am taking painkillers every 4 hours. My stomach feels extremely tender and swollen. From the photographs below you can see how much my stomach is protruding compared to my week one photograph when I first begun my fat loss phase.

You can just see in the photograph on the left that I was developing a slight ridge above my naval where the hernia was.

The picture on the right is taken today, I am very bloated and holding a lot of water.

My starting weight on 6th March was 9 stone 8lb. My average weight after week 1 was 9st 7lb, my average weight after week 2 was 9st 6.9lb. Today’s weight (24 hours after surgery), is 9st 9.6lb.

From researching the reasons for weight gain after surgery I have found the following information.

  1. Fluid Retention.  Water is retained in the spaces between the body’s organs, leading to the typical post-surgery bloated look.
  2. Trauma. During surgery, the trauma suffered by the body tissues causes inflammation which also leads to water retention.
  3. Stress. Surgery related stress results in higher levels of a hormone which makes the kidneys conserve water too. Along with the mix of drugs raging through the body, all of these factors cause water retention.
  4. Stagnation – in the days following surgery, people are a lot less active which is counterproductive to health. Once able to, people are encouraged to do mild exercise and gradually increase their levels of physical activity.
  5. Comfort Food. So I have already received lots of chocolates and other goodies since returning home. And for the next few days I am entrusting my husband with the cooking so I won’t have control over what goes in to my food or be able to accurately track my food intake as I was before. However, for me at least, this is only temporary.

Readers of my blog will know that I am a fitness fanatic, I enjoy being active, I am passionate about all things health and fitness. So for me I am looking at post-surgery recovery as a chance to learn new things and to gradually build my body back up in the most efficient way. When I arrived home yesterday I was still very drowsy so I did little more than put my feet up, eat chocolate and have people run around after me. Today I have been pottering around the house, trying to be a little more active.

I am downing bottles of water to help with the fluid retention, and also to ward off the dreaded post-surgery bowel issues. Later in the week I am going to look at arranging some physiotherapy to help me build my core back up. It has never been the same since having my son two years ago, it has never felt as strong as it used to, and with having a hernia I have felt that direct training of my core was causing me discomfort. I was also held back from increasing the weights I was using for my training as I did not want to make the hernia any worse. So once the initial recovery period is over I am confident that I will be able to build a strong foundation from which I will be able to ease back in to my normal training. I am not able to do any strenuous or athletic exercise for 4-6 weeks so I intend to use that time to focus on physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

BCAA profile on Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein

Before surgery I was eating under my maintenance calories, however I do not want to restrict my body whilst it is recovering so I am going to eat at maintenance, or maybe a fraction below to account for my reduced activity level. I will be utilising the BCAA’s in my Whey Protein to also aid in recovery (there are some interesting articles and research papers showing the benefits of BCAA’s post surgery).

FullSizeRender - Copy (5)

Mentally, having surgery just two weeks in to my planned weight loss phase has been tough. I have spent a good amount of time eating in a calorie surplus, I have made good progress in my training and I was looking forward to shedding some fat and seeing some muscle tone underneath. I also enjoyed adding some cardio in to my routine again. Unfortunately this will all have to be put on hold as I focus on my recovery. At present I do not know whether I will recommence my fat loss phase once I have recovered and am able to train again, or whether I will go back to being in a calorie surplus and build my strength back up. This will depend on how my recovery goes over the coming weeks.

If anybody reading this has any knowledge on the subject or has any advice it would be much appreciated.

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