Nutrition and Exercise: Post-Surgery Lifestyle Changes


The saying that your body is a temple is quite true, but what happens when that temple needs a renovation? Can replacing couple of bricks impact how it looks and feels? Sure it can. It is the same with your body, no matter how small and seemingly standard surgery you have undergone. The physical and mental stresses that form as a consequence of those changes require a different approach to both your nutrition and diet and a whole lot of resting. Here comes the difficult part: how to know what to change? First, you will need to consult the doctor who performed the surgery and build a diet/fitness plan based on his advice. Until then, we will present you the ideal post-surgery guide, to build upon it.

Nutritional Changes

Not all surgeries are alike, so a rhinoplasty and a kidney procedure, for instance, will not have the same requests. Discuss with your surgeon about what kind of changes you should implement and how long you should stick to them. Nevertheless, what stays the same is that you should not eat heavy meals, especially after 6pm. Give your body the time and the means to recover, by eating healthy food packed with vitamins and minerals, and avoiding heavily processed food, or any food of that kind. Five servings of fruits and vegetables per day should serve the purpose nicely. Not only it will help you recover faster, but it will also improve your general health and perhaps even help you lose weight.


  • Eat high-fiber foods.
  • Consume small amount of lean meat.
  • Reduce your fat intake.
  • Avoid alcohol all together.
  • Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.
  • Limit the daily intake of caffeine.
  • Consume dairy products.
  • Steam vegetables.
  • Ask nutritionist’s advice.

Do Not:

  • Eat refined sugar.
  • Consume too much red meat.
  • Take supplements to replace natural vitamins and minerals, unless the doctor advised you so.
  • Consume food which will cause stress for your stomach.
  • Drink carbonated drinks.

Exercising Changes

Depending on the severity of the surgery and how active you were previously, perhaps you may never go back to your old fitness routine. Before you go back on your feet, you will have to endure the prescribed resting period, which will vary based on the very procedure. For example, the recovery time for a breast reduction procedure is one to two weeks, while it will take four to six weeks to get back on your feet after a splenectomy. Regardless of the type and severity of your surgery, deep breathing and meditation, and in most cases moderate yoga, cannot be a mistake. The type of exercises that are recommended after surgery, depends mostly on the area of the body where the surgery is performed. Here are some of the most frequent procedures and examples of that principle:

  • After a liposuction engage only in light aerobic exercises (brisk walking).
  • Surgeries concerning breasts require working on your chest and shoulders mobility.
  • After a cataract procedure it is strictly prescribed to avoid heavy-lifting, while moderate aerobic activities are allowed and encouraged.
  • To rebalance your walking after a knee surgery, you will need to work out your legs, without putting too much stress on them. Do that with some lying down exercises.
  • By far the most complicated on the list – open heart surgery, requires a long recovery period (six to eight months) and a lot of resting. Some moderate physical activities are recommended during that period (walking, lifting your hands, slowly climbing the stairs, etc.)…

When it comes to exercising, do not push yourself too hard on the very start. Instead start small and increase the difficulty gradually. As for the diet, the changes you implement will bring you many benefits other than a quick recovery, so give it a chance.