Bariatric surgery is a useful tool for long-term weight loss, but it’s not a magic solution. Long-term weight loss depends on how well you commit to the bariatric diet and exercise. However, the day of your surgery isn’t the start of your bariatric journey. Depending on your health, you may need to lose some weight before your surgery to ensure you’re in the best health possible.
Below we have provided a list of things you can do before your weight loss surgery to set yourself up for success.
Things to do before Bariatric Surgery
Smoking and using tobacco products increase the risk of complications during your surgery and after it. You’ll need to eliminate all tobacco and nicotine products well in advance of your surgery to give your lungs and body time to recover. Many surgeons recommend a minimum of 12 weeks.
Keep a food journal
Using a mobile app to track your food intake gives you a baseline for what you’re consuming throughout the day. Tracking your meals and snacks can identify food triggers, such as late-night snacking or overindulging in desserts. Include any liquid you drink too. Sodas, juices, and fancy coffees are loaded with sugar and calories, and it may shock you to realize you’re consuming over 500 calories from beverages alone.
Track your water intake
Dehydration is the leading cause of rehospitalization after bariatric surgery. Aim to drink eight cups of water per day (64 oz.). Practice sipping on a water bottle throughout the day to meet your hydration goals. You won’t be able to drink as much in one sitting after your surgery due to your altered anatomy. Getting in the habit now will help you during post-op recovery. Drinking water may reduce cravings too, as the brain often interprets thirst as hunger.
Start making changes now
Adjusting to a bariatric diet is challenging for many patients. Waiting until the day of surgery to start eating healthier makes the change that much harder. Start by defining three mealtimes throughout the day with only a snack or two in between. Eliminate grazing, as these calories add up much faster than you realize. Portion your meals to include a lean protein and fresh produce. Look for low-fat and sugar-free options for your preferred foods and beverages.
Exercise is essential for successful weight loss after bariatric surgery. Start with exercises that match your fitness level. You can go for short walks, try out water aerobics, or perform seated exercises from your chair. As your stamina improves, you can incorporate additional exercises. Discuss your exercise capabilities and regimen with your surgeon first to avoid injuries.
Work on your relationship with food
May bariatric patients use food as a source of comfort or as a reward. Emotional eating can cause several problems after bariatric surgery, including vomiting, dumping syndrome, and weight regain. Shift your view of food as fuel for your body rather than a way to cope with difficult emotions. If you’re struggling with your relationship with food, consider meeting with a psychologist that specializes in nutrition. A specialist that understands the dynamics of binge eating and stress eating can help you redefine your outlook on food.
Research should also be a critical step before bariatric surgery. You need to know the required lifestyle changes, the types of weight loss surgery available, and what to expect during your recovery. Looking up all this information can be daunting and confusing. Contact us to schedule a consultation. We can discuss your questions, concerns, and weight loss goals.