Weight Loss After Gallbladder Surgery


Many people naturally lose weight after having their gallbladder removed. This is because, to avoid pain, people tend to change their diets after losing their gallbladder. When a person without a gallbladder eats a heavy, fatty meal he or she may begin to feel stomach pain shortly after. The stomach becomes upset because the liver is working hard to saturate the fat with bile. Normally, the gallbladder would work with the liver to ensure a smooth transition when digesting fats by storing excess bile.

Patient talking to doctor
Patient talking to doctor (Image: Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images)

Change Your Diet

After having your gallbladder removed it is very important to slowly incorporate food back into your life. Your doctor will advise you not to eat at all for the first day or two after surgery. You will be told to eat clear liquids like chicken broth or very light foods like Jell-O for one week or longer after the surgery.

After the first week has passed, focus on eating very light foods that are easily digestible, such as fruit and green salads. If you eat meat, gradually start to eat small amounts of lean turkey and chicken three times per week. From then on continue to eat a wide variety of foods. Eat slowly and chew your food to aid digestion.

Raspberry and watermelon jello
Raspberry and watermelon jello (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)

Digestive Enzymes

Most people experience pain or discomfort when eating the wrong foods after losing their gallbladder. The degree of painful symptoms varies from person to person; some people may not notice much pain while others will literally need to lie down after a meal. Taking digestive enzymes before eating can help to ease discomfort so that the body can properly digest fats and other heavy oils.

After you lose your gallbladder, metabolic function begins to slow down. Taking digestive enzymes with every meal will help to keep everything running smoothly and will boost your metabolism. In addition, it is very important to drink eight to 10 glasses of pure water each day to speed up your metabolism and ensure proper digestion.

Glass of water on wood table
Glass of water on wood table (Image: totony/iStock/Getty Images)


The length of time it takes to heal really depends on the type of incision you had. If you had laparoscopic surgery you should be able to start working out within four weeks, but if there a larger incision was needed, you will need to wait eight to 10 weeks before exercising. Laparoscopic surgery involves making three tiny incisions, inserting a camera and using a robotic to cut the gallbladder out. This type of surgery minimizes recovery time. However, sometimes a larger incision is needed if a person is obese or if complications arise during surgery that make it difficult for the doctor to see using only the camera.

Talk to your doctor before you start exercising to ensure that you are ready and that your individual needs are met. Once you are healed and able to work out again, you will need to begin slowly. You may still have mild pain on occasion for the first year after surgery.

Start exercising for 30 minutes twice per week after you have healed. From then on continue to exercise for 30 minutes four times per week for the next three weeks. Incorporate cardio, light weights, and strength training into your routine. Throughout the week switch between weight lifting and cardio. Listen to your body, if you feel that you need to slow down to it. Relax for a day or two, and then get back to your normal routine.

Seniors doing light exercises
Seniors doing light exercises (Image: shironosov/iStock/Getty Images)

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