Prep for Bariatric Surgery:
Get Real or Get Real Disappointed

what to expect after bariatric surgery

Get ready to shed those extra pounds. But before you head into the operating room, your prep for bariatric surgery includes laying the foundation for success by setting realistic expectations.

Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment by having lofty, unattainable, dreamy expectations. It’ll only lead to reaching for that cookie jar.

Be smart and set yourself up for success by being realistic from the start. Here’s what that means…

How Much Weight Can You Expect to Say Goodbye To?

I know you’re ready to say adios to those extra pounds. But let's take a closer look at what you can expect from your bariatric journey.

On average,

This usually happens in the first 1-2 years post op.

(Bariatric Surgery, A Systemic Review and Meta Analysis, 2004). 

But keep in mind, these are just averages and many people do better or worse than predicted.

..and you may just exceed those averages.

Want to know your numbers? Let's do the math.

First off...

Understand what “excess weight” means: Take your current weight and subtract your ideal body weight. That's your excess weight.


Take the percentage of weight loss specific to your surgery…

And then...

Multiply it by your excess weight.

Voila! You have your expected weight loss.

Current weight (CW) minus your ideal body weight (IBW)= Excess weight (EW).


Here's an Example

Let’s say “Sally” weighs 325 pounds and her ideal weight is 140 pounds. That means she has 185 pounds of excess weight:

  • CW -  IBW = EW
  • 325 – 140 = 185

If she has gastric sleeve surgery, she can expect to lose an average of 60% of that excess weight:

  • 60% of 185 pounds = 111 pounds

Sally can therefore expect to end up at a final weight of 214 pounds:

  • 325 pounds –111 pounds = 214 pounds

Make sense?!

  • Calculate ideal body weight here.
  • Calculate your expected weight loss here.

How Quickly Will the Pounds Melt Away?

Ok, let's talk about a realistic weight loss timeline. I know you want the weight gone yesterday, but remember, good things come to those who wait ;) Patience little butterfly! It takes time.

You'll likely see some quick results in the first 1-3 months post-surgery, but don't be surprised if the rate of weight loss starts to slow down to 1/2-2 lb per week. It will.

Don’t freak out when it does. This is normal; it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong.

Note: If you had a significant amount of preop weight loss, then you may not experience extremely rapid weight loss in the first few months.

Everyone is different and it's impossible to predict an exact timeline. Sorry...I wish I had a crystal ball right now so I could give you a better answer. 

Your age, gender, starting weight, activity level, how compliant you are with the diet and exercise recommendations, and which surgical procedure you have, all play a role in how fast (and how) much you lose.

In My Personal Experience I Typically See:

Average weight loss of 2-10 pounds per week in the first 1-3 months,

then 1/2 - 2 pounds per week after that.

The weight loss tends to slow down or stabilize after about a year.

Patience is key! Keep in mind that the weight loss journey is a marathon, not a sprint.

Your prep for bariatric surgery includes setting realistic expectations from the get-go... so you understand the time it takes and what to expect.

But wait...

...there's more...

Weight Loss Surgery Isn’t a One Way Ticket Downward on the Scale

As you prep for bariatric surgery, this is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT points: Don't expect a smooth, steady ride to your goal weight. It’s a bumpy journey.

You'll have good days, bad days, and days when you're just plain confused. Some weeks you'll drop pounds like they're hot potatoes, and other weeks you'll swear the scale is broken because it doesn't budge. It feels like a wild ride sometimes.

Because here's the thing…

Weight loss isn't linear. Whether you think it should be or hope it is… it’s just not. Sorry :( 

I wish I had better news.

What are you going to do when your weight loss stalls or even goes up? (Because trust me, it will happen). Throw in the towel because you’re disappointed?

NO! …Because your prep for bariatric surgery included taking time to understand what to expect ;) 

You won’t lose weight every single day, of every single week, of every single month, so don’t expect to, even if you’re doing everything “right.”

You're in it for the long haul. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride. Keep in mind, healthy habits are the key to success, not the number on the scale. So just keep on chugging along…no matter what…and you'll reach your weight loss destination.

The Bottom Line for Your Bottom Line:
Prep for Bariatric Surgery- Setting Realistic Expectations

  • On average, you can expect to lose anywhere from 50-70% of your excess weight, depending on which surgical procedure you have.
  • Your weight loss journey is unique to you and will depend on factors such as your age, gender, starting weight, activity level, and compliance with diet and exercise. So, keep in mind that your timeline may look different from someone else's, and that's totally okay!


  • Don’t expect to lose all the weight overnight. It takes time and effort and starting off with unrealistic expectations will only lead to disappointment and a tendency to fall back into old habits.
  • Remember that weight loss is not linear. You may start off losing weight quickly, but the rate will likely slow down after a few months. Don't let that discourage you, it's normal!

Now, get ready to reach that goal weight and make those dreams a reality!

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