How to Prep for Weight Loss Surgery
Lifestyle Change Start NOW

How to Prep for Weight Loss Surgery: Lifestyle Changes # 1-4

How to Prep for Weight Loss Surgery: Lifestyle Changes # 5-8

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!

Preparing for Bariatric Surgery
#5: Take Healthy Foods with You

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.

Preparing for Bariatric Surgery
#6: Get into the Habit of Carrying a Water Bottle with You

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.

To prepare for one of the most important post op requirements,

start drinking 64 ounces of low calorie or no calorie beverages like these.

Daily. START NOW.

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.

Prep for Weight Loss Surgery
#7: Self Monitor

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:

  • Keeping a food diary
  • Regular self-weighing
  • Logging exercise

Just find a form that works for YOU! And know that at any given time, one form may work better than another.

Research Says:

Patients who do not comply with self-monitoring are predicted to lose less weight than those who comply with self-monitoring.

Prep for Weight Loss Surgery:
Self Monitor with a Food Log

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):

Suggested Apps:

  • Baritastic
  • My Fitness Pal
  • Lose It

Free Online Diaries:

  • Myfitnesspal.com
  • Sparkpeople.com
  • Myfooddiary.com
  • Fitday.com

Prep for Weight Loss Surgery:
Self Monitor by Weighing

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:

  • Limit weighing to 1x per week
  • Do NOT weigh multiple times per day
  • Record it
  • Review your records for trends over time

Self-weighing after surgery has been associated with greater weight loss at 3 years postoperatively and has been reported by patients with successful weight loss maintenance.

Prep for Weight Loss Surgery:
Self Monitor with an Exercise Log 

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.  

Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery
#8: Get a Handle on Emotional Eating

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.

Hunger is the PHYSICAL need to eat.

Appetite is the DESIRE to eat.

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?

  • Boredom?
  • Anxiety?
  • Procrastination?
  • Stress?

OR

  • Anger?
  • Loneliness?
  • Sadness?

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.

The Takeaway

  • Bariatric surgery and the lifestyle changes that you must commit to forever afterward are two separate things.
  • Start healthy eating habits 3-6 months before surgery: Start with the “Great 8” Lifestyle Changes

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