Patient Experience: Weight Regain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  

Rebeca (a patient from Miami, FL)

I had Gastric Sleeve done 1 year and 7 months ago and for about 5 months I have been gaining weight… about 23 pounds total.

I think it is because I take morphine because of my 8 back surgeries. I don’t eat very much – maybe about 600 calories a day – and I see myself gaining more and more on a daily basis. The only thing that I eat that does not make me feel bad is carbs. Please can someone give me advise?


Patient Responses to the Question Above

Weight Regain and back pain

by: Nadia Barhoumeh-Lee

Hi Rebeca,

I'm glad to see you are seeking support and advice to help you to lose the weight you regained. The desire to succeed is half the battle.

I have a couple of thoughts/suggestions in addition to what others have said:

1. Weight regain will make your back pain worse! Discuss pain management with your doctor to find best options.
2. Gentle exercise/water aerobics might be an option, discuss with your doctor.

Exercise is important for weight loss surgery patients, so don't overlook this. Self Management is ongoing/life-long process for all of us. WLS surgery gives you an added advantage to assist with your weight management but it's not a cure! You have to observe the guidelines that are set for use of this tool we call weight loss surgery.

Support groups are an important ingredient for long term-success with WLS.

Research and patient experiences indicate that Support Groups are critical to weight loss maintenance.

Best wishes,
Nadia Barhoumeh-Lee, RN

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

Back Pain

by: Anonymous

I'm currently waiting for insurance to approve my surgery.

The Doctor has said I need a Roux-En-Y because of the size of my hiatel hernia (3 cm) and the pain I experience from that.

I am leaning towards the sleeve because of the malabsorption issues and other complications. But back to your problems...I've had back surgery too and have severe arthritis.

A new doctor that I have been going through suggested that I get off pain meds and try Flector Patches.

It's remarkable how well they work to get rid of the constant terrible pain in my back.

Additionally, getting rid of the pain meds have improved me from being tearful and depressed all the time to feeling more optimistic.

Believe me, I still have break through pain when I do too much physical activity, but I'm hoping the weight loss will help with that.

Additionally, I know I'm helping my liver by not taking all of those medications. I'm still on the fence about which surgery to do, and my daughters are divided on which surgery I should have which makes it hard, but I believe I'm heading for a healthier life.

Sleeved 10/5/20012-Regained 20 pounds

by: Lisa

I have my sleeve done in Oct. of 2012.

I was 235lbs at 5'6.

I only lost a total of 50lbs. I was drinking fully bottles of protein the day after my surgery in the hospital.

I felt like I could still eat and drink a more than I should have been able to.

Now almost two years later, my weight is at 200lbs.

I have regained.

I am very active. I run 5k's and 10k's and workout with a fitness trainer 3 times a week. I have been pretty active before and since my surgery. I cut out most sugars and cabs as much as possible. I get at least 50g of protein a day. But this past year I have noticed the pounds coming back and I'm not sure why.

:( It's not muscle either. It's like I'm fighting a loosing battle again and its very frustrating. I feel heavy again and tougher to run and work out. I wonder if I should go and have my sleeve looked at to see if it stretched, possibly during workouts. Any advice?

weight regain/morphine

by: Tonya H

I had the RnY bypass almost a year ago. I've taken morphine for back problems for at least 14yrs & had no idea they made me crave carbs, I thought it was just me! A few months ago I hit a plateau that lasted months, despite increased protein, decreased calories, & anything else I tried.

My cousin is a Beach body coach & was looking for people to participate in a challenge group, so I signed up. I had been walking & a bit of dancing around the house, but no real structured workouts. Based on my fitness level & physical limitations due to back problems, she recommended Slim In 6 - a light cardio w/resistance training workout, & Tai Cheng - Tai Chi w/resistance, really good for the back & joints as it increases flexibility.

After starting the workouts & changing it up now & then, the weight started coming off again! Maybe you could try a Tai Chi workout because of your back & walk as well.

Best of luck!

Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA , Arcadia , California

by: Dr. Troy LaMar


Hi there. It sounds like you have been very successful with your sleeve gastrectomy. It is normal to have the weight loss slow down at 12-18 months, and essentially stop at 18 months.

Most patients can maintain a stable weight with careful nutrition including 80 grams of protein/day. Taking narcotics for pain certainly could make it difficult to stay away from carbohydrate foods, but this the most common way patients gain weight. They graze on small amounts of the wrong kind of food (carbs).

Probably a good idea to get back on track and start again from the beginning of your post op nutrition guide. And reconnect with your surgeon and a dietician for support...

You can do it, stay positive, and no carbs.

Good luck,
Troy LaMar, MD

los angeles bariatric surgeon

(click here for Dr. LaMar's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

pain med

by: Jennifer

Hi RebeccaMy name is Jennifer and I had the gastric sleeve surgery almost two years ago.

I have lost about 150 lbs.

I know with my surgery my weight loss was so fast and I then hit a wall.

It can be so frustrating.

I'm sure with the medicine that having carbs can make you feel better, but for me like before it was a weight gain for me.

Believe me, I love the pasta and sandwiches and all of the chips I could eat, so I think it was a comfort thing - so that could be part of it.

I would say try going back to the beginning and eat yogurts like the Chobani or high protein greek yogurt.

Those will help to coat the stomach and make you feel a little better when you have to take the pain meds.

Also protein shakes are nasty to me so I chose a carnation instant breakfast and bought online a protein powder from Nestle and added that to them. This will help get the protein and help with the stomach aches from the meds.

If that doesn't help I would talk to your doctor about putting you on something that is a little less harsh on the stomach.

I recently had my gallbladder out and instead of vicodin or a morphine I took norco (my spelling is not good sorry).

That is the only pain med I could take with the little food I was able to eat.

I hope that helps... this is just my experience. I wish you tons of luck... we have been given such a great tool to a healthier way of life. Jennifer

Weight gain a year after sleeve

by: Christina

I had the gastric sleeve done a year ago and have gained almost 40lb back! I have rods and screws in my back and have 7 knee surgeries so it's hard for me to work out. Also I feel like I eat way more than I should be able to, I never feel full. I am not going back to the way I was, worked to hard to get here ... I dont care for my surgeon so any advice would help. Thanks

weight gain after gastric sleeve

by: Lisa


I had the sleeve gastrectomy in 2010. Since then, I have undergone 3 years of infertility treatments, 2 failed pregnancies and finally 1 perfect baby girl. In that time I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and PCOS with insulin resistance. I easily lost 50lbs but have unfortunately gained 65 back. I know that my eating habits aren't perfect, but I feel like no matter what I eat, I am gaining weight like it's my job. I take synthroid and metformin as well as iron, magnesium, and Vit D and B12. exercise is difficult with a toddler and chronic joint pain d/t Crohn's disease.

Any suggestions? I wish that I could have RNY, but it's not a possibilty with IBD.

I am feeling desperate!

Regain after my sleeve

by: Shari Hackett

Dr. LaMar...Thank you so much for your reply and all of the other replies. These are so helpful and make so much sense.

I also did not know that pain meds caused carb cravings but makes so much sense. AND YES grazing small amounts all day is totally what I do. I went from 240 to 157 and 2 yrs out I now weigh 177.

I want to go back to the shakes and yogurts but honestly after living that way almost a year is not the least bit inviting.

I also find that most of the above comments show that all (including myself) are in chronic pain and on pain meds....what is that all about?!

3 years out

by: Minerva Pineda


I had my gastric sleeve March of 2014. My highest weight was at 260lbs and I am only 5 feet tall. About a year ago I stopped losing at 120. Since then I have gained 20lbs and it all happened in just a few months. My weight loss caused me to be severely anemic. I have had a blood transfusion and gallbladder surgery due to my weight loss. In order for someone to keep optimal health and not suffer mineral and vitamin deficiencies, a woman my age and height should be able to consume at least 1500 calories of nutritionally dense foods.

My question is how do I improve my health without gaining any more weight and if possible get back to 120lbs?

Every day I take iron, vitamin c and b complex, and I eat the following:

  • 7 am Breakfast; 1/2 cup of coffee and one gluten free waffle with almond butter
  • 11 am Lunch; A cup of soup or Small wrap, or Small salad with a protein
  • 5 pm Dinner; 1/4 cup of Rice mixed with veggies, 1 once protein or 1/2 of Noddles mixed with veggies and protein or A cup of Soup
  • 9 pm Snack; 1/2 cup Oatmeal or Nutritional fiber bar or 1/2 cup of fruit

80% of the time I am very active and hardly ever hungry. It is difficult for me to not skip a meal and consume enough calories. Can someone help me, by letting me know what has worked for you to kick start your weight loss without becoming nutritionally deficient?

I'm a sleeve failure

by: Sleever in distress

Hello everyone, just in case you were feeling bad about your progress DON'T. Nothing can be worse than my story.

I got my sleeve back in December 2015 (1.5 years ago). I started off at 318 & now I am down to a measly 249. I have only lost 69 pounds.

Words can not describe how disappointed I am. I see so many success stories of other sleevers but I am left in the dust. I am 24 & I feel I have no excuse to not have lost more than that. My eating sucks, I don't know what to eat or how to eat. I don't know how to cook or even how to meal prep & I am so lost, and I feel I have a really bad food addiction.

It makes me feel like less of a person, to be honest. I want so badly to get this weight off... I am 5'5 & 249 lbs at 24 years old. I think the worst part of all is the embarrassment. People know I had the surgery but see I haven't lost that much weight.

They never say anything, but I see the awkward stares. I know I am all over the place but I just have been holding this shame in for so long that I have to vent & tell somebody.

I am a sleeve failure.

Not a failure

by: Cristina Alaniz

It breaks my heart to see "sleever in distress" so upset with yourself.
Please let me know how you are doing.

Sleever in distress

by: Jen

You are not alone. Im going through similar issues. I beat myself up and try to get back on track. Support groups are what we both need.

scheduled for sleeve

by: Michele

My sleeve procedure is scheduled, but I am afraid of gaining the weight back or not losing it at all. I don't want to do something that is hard on my body if it isn't permanent.

Anyone who would not have done the surgery if you could go back? What are the worst/best things about having done the sleeve?

Thanks for any answers!

15 months out and gaining....uuugghhh

by: Broox

I was sleeved in July of 2016 and lost about 85 pounds. Since then....a divorce, hostile work environment and my father's sudden passing has caused a whirlwind of emotions that have led me to eating WAY more than I should. It's nothing in comparison to the way it was before my sleeve, but still....not the best.

I just keep telling myself it's a slump and I'll work my way out. Any sleevers who have gained, then re-lost the weight??

Possible Change of heart

by: Joni

I was thinking about having the sleeve surgery done, until I started reading all of these post that the surgery does not work that well for so many people!

I hope that each of you will be able to reach your set goals despite your current disappointments. I will keep monitoring the page to see if there are any new testimonies! Good luck.

weight gain

by: christine

I had my sleeve done about 4yrs ago... I lost 60 pounds but was hoping to lose more like 90..... yes I did do ok but I wanted better. In the past 3 months I have put on 10 pounds... and feel like this is just the start!! Is there a way to get a tune up?

gain weight

by: Deddia

I had the sleeve done in 2013, can I repeat another sleeve?

I need help. I got in a depressed mood a year ago and gained weight. Need help.

Taking action

by: barbara mckee

I had the sleeve 3 yrs ago and gained 37lbs. I will NOT have this. I found my motivation to lose weight (I have to get into a wetsuit) yikes!

So how do you jump start your weight loss? After much thought - we all have the tools. I am going back to the beginning. It was hard to start the diet but the thought of being in public in a wetsuit YIKES!

I started 3 days ago and I am down 3.8 lbs not much but its a start. DONT LOSE HOPE and find your motivation... maybe schedule to swim with the manatees so you have to wear a wetsuit in public :-)

Weight loss

by: Don

These type of surgeries only address the physical aspects of weight loss, not the mental. People need to address the issues of why they overeat or they will resort back to what they consider normal eating after surgery.

I was 330 lbs and at 5'10" was severely overweight. I am now in the 270's. I finally made the decision to log everything I take in and burn off.

I play pickleball twice a week and do weights and cardio twice a week. I have degenerative arthritis in my back, feet and have had 2 knees replaced. I am in pain constantly.

You just have to do it.

Not an once lost

by: Mrs Be

I had my sleeve in Nov 2017, we're now May 2018 and I haven't lost an ounce, not one measley ounce! In fact I've gained.. I eat about 1000 cal per day, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less... I have tried everything. My surgeon suggested he preform a SADI, which looks like will work.. one can only hope. I can't do anything until April next year, due to my insurance, but, I'm not giving up...

BTW; I even developed Graves Disease, I'm supposed to loose weight with this Disease... not Me!

Never give up!

Sleeve Failure Also

by: Mary

Hi, I had the gastric sleeve in 2015. I am now back to the weight I was before having the surgery. I feel like a failure and also get very embarrassed around people who know I have had the surgery.

I am getting desperate, wondering if I can have another sleeve done. I feel that I wasn't informed of how to manage my diet enough post surgery.

The surgeon doesn't care, they do the surgery, get their money and off you go, never to see you again. What was to be something that made me feel so much better in myself has turned out to be totally the opposite, I feel like a total failure.

Does anyone know if you can now make your stomach smaller again after it being stretched back to the original size without the surgery?

Gaining Weight 3.5 years Post vsg

by: Weight Gain Scared

How do I stop it? I’m barely eating and exercising and I feel bloated and fat all the time. I’m afraid to weigh myself but I know I’ve gained at least 20 after losing 70 total.

by: Patrick Furlong

It may be worth trying an elimination diet, or meeting with a doctor to test for food allergies.

Food allergies, like gluten intolerance, can contribute to bloat and inflammation that influences weight gain.

Keep the faith and count your calories in vs calories out as well!

Good luck.

Keep working it!

by: Kaylan

Hi everyone. I had my sleeve in 2012 and lost 100 pounds in about a year after the surgery. I was able to stay down for another year, then suffered a bad burn. While I was healing from my burn I wasn't able to work out and my eating habits began slipping. Now it's 2018, and over the past few years I have put back on 35 pounds. Even though I still eat less than I used to to, I had kind of gotten into the mentality that I could eat whatever I liked because it was a small amount. Well that was a terrible idea lol!

So reading different support groups yesterday and today I saw that some people have had success by going all the way back to the post surgery diet to "reset" their pouch. Today I am day one with a clear liquids diet. I found my binder from my surgery that lays out the exact diet I am SUPPOSED to follow, so I am just going to try to get back on it like I just had my surgery. I am hopeful that this will get me back on track!

The major thing I have learned over the years with my sleeve that it is truly just a TOOL. You really have to work it and not get lazy (like I did!) It's not going to keep you skinny if you go back to your poor eating habits. I still feel as though I have been successful with the surgery and I have never regretted it. Stay strong, and remember that it's your life. Life is full of challenges and obstacles and we just have to try our best to overcome them.

Wish me luck as I try to get that pesky extra weight back off again! I know I'll probably fail again along the way, but I have to keep trying!

Best wishes to all of you!

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