Preparing for bariatric surgery includes making lifestyle changes 3-6 months pre surgery. Older thinking was
that you would get weight loss surgery and all the necessary changes would “naturally”
follow afterward. Not true.
Start thinking of bariatric surgery and diet/lifestyle changes as two separate things. Because they are. Establish new healthy habits as part of your prep for weight loss surgery, and then think of the surgery itself as the last little piece of the puzzle. The surgery is just a tool. Lifestyle changes are the BIGGEST piece of the weight loss puzzle!
Do you know what a “new-mom motto” is? … “Be Prepared!” Carry
that diaper bag with all the essentials!
Do you know what a new bariatric patient’s motto needs to be…”Be Prepared!”
Get in the habit of having healthy bariatric friendly foods with you. In the same way a new mom carries her diaper bag, get in the habit of carrying your “food bag.” Think of it as your new best friend, one that you’ll seriously want by your side. All. The. Time.
Consider it a security blanket. It will keep you away from vending machines at work and/or fast food. Whatever life throws your way—from a stressful, emotional day to sudden hunger pangs —a well-packed food bag will keep you on track.
I’m sure you already know you “should” drink water. Stop should-ing on yourself and get to it NOW, because the importance of proper hydration increases even more after undergoing bariatric surgery.
Dehydration is the #1 cause for hospital readmission after surgery.
Carrying a water bottle around with you makes it easy to remember to drink. In fact, the right water bottle choice can make it fun stay on track, and it will have you excited to hit your hydration goals!
For instance, bottles with motivational sayings encourage you to drink. Those with timers or marked lines with time goals can serve as good reminders that hitting small progressive goals throughout the day adds up to big success by the end of the day.
There are hundreds of options on the market, and the truth is the best water bottle is the one that YOU think is best.
Drink enough. Drink the right beverages. Get into the habit of carrying a water bottle with you at all times to make it happen. ‘Nough said.
Self monitoring = self awareness = most important factor for success after surgery
That’s because it increases self-awareness and provides early warning if/when problems arise so they can be nipped in the bud.
Self-monitoring can take different forms:
Just find a form that works for YOU! And know that at any given time, one form may work better than another.
As you prep for weight loss surgery, shift your thinking: Keeping a food diary is NOT punishment! If you bite it, write it, so you can be accountable for it. Even if you never show your food log to anyone it will make you more responsible for your choices.
There are many ways to keep a food diary:
The Ol' Fashioned Pen and Paper Way (My personal fav):
Free Online Diaries:
Weighing can be a double-edged sword. Yes, it can keep you accountable. But yes, it can ruin your day and send you back to old bad habits as well when you don’t see the number you’re hoping for.
If you choose weighing as a form of self-monitoring:
Keep an exercise log. It’s motivating and reinforcing!
Often, making good food choices is easier when you’re exercising regularly. So start writing down your workouts! It motivates you to want to exercise and keep exercising.
Emotional eating won’t magically go away after surgery. It’s stomach surgery after all, not brain surgery! Start to increase your awareness of the difference between hunger and appetite. They are two entirely different things.
Learning the difference between the two takes time. Start now.
Hunger is a physical feeling. You may notice a growling stomach or feel lightheaded or weak. It usually occurs 2.5-4 hours after the last time you ate.
Appetite usually appears out of nowhere. It can last a few minutes or several hours. It can even continue after you’re eaten, until you have the specific food you’re craving. Emotions usually trigger “appetite.”
Starty paying attention to the emotions that trigger you to eat when you’re not physically hungry? WHAT are you feeding?
Use your food log to journal the answer to these questions. Work on becoming a great “self detective.” Uncover WHY you make the food choices you do. Start equipping yourself with tools to manage stress and emotional eating NOW, so it’s second nature after surgery.
The ability to deal with negative emotions in a healthy way isn’t a natural consequence of surgery. Don’t fool yourself that it will be. It takes work.