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  • Rhode Island Hospital Division of Organ Transplantation

  • Post-Surgery Tips: Weight Loss

  • Successful Weight Loss Tips for Transplant Patients
    by Linda Kelleher RD, LDN, LPN, CDE

    Obesity is a common long-term challenge following transplantation. The causes of post-transplant weight gain include genetics, being overweight prior to transplant, excessive dietary intake, lack of exercise and the side effects of steroid therapy (appetite stimulant and increased fat deposition). Obesity also contributes to hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and joint disease.

    Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is vital to your overall well-being before and after transplantation.

    Is one method of weight loss better than the others?
    Yes, eating fewer calories than you burn is the key. There are a variety of weight-loss therapies ranging from low-calorie diets, physical activity, behavior therapy, drugs and surgery. But in the long run it's burning the calories you eat that count. If you don't exercise, eating approximately 1400-1500 calories per day is recommended, no matter what you eat.

    One of the easiest ways to control calories is to cut back on the amount of fat you eat. The National Weight Loss Registry reports most people who succeed at weight loss and keep it off eat a diet with 20 to 30% of their calories from fat and eat breakfast every morning. The average American consumes approximately 36% of their calories from fat.

    Begin with the knowledge that you don't follow a diet for 7 days, 7 weeks or 7 months. There are no quick fixes to losing weight. Your new eating habits are the basis of your everyday food choices for the rest of your life. A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and low-fat dairy products are the essence to healthy meal planning. This inexpensive, low-fat, low-calorie way of eating leads to weight loss and keeps it off.

    To accomplish this goal we suggest these guidelines:  

    • Eat 3 meals a day (include all food groups)
    • Include 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
    • Limit sugary foods
    • Eat smaller servings
    • Limit fat, especially saturated animal fat and trans fat (in hydrogenated oils)
    • Eat at least 2 servings of low-fat dairy products per day
    • Be physically active at least 30 minutes, 3 to 5 days of the week
    • Reduce stress by deep breathing, hobbies, walking, reading, and other activities

    Adapted from 101 Weight Loss Tips (ADA)