Preparing for Bariatric Surgery:
How Will You Stay Motivated Long Term?

Preparing for bariatric surgery motivational quote

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! You're gearing up for the weight loss race of a lifetime. As you begin preparing for bariatric surgery, let me make one thing clear – it isn't just about shedding pounds pre-op or sticking to a strict liver shrinking diet.

No, no, no.

It's about the lifelong journey of healthy living that comes after the surgery. And like any journey, it requires perseverance and determination.

But let's be real, without ongoing motivation, it's nearly impossible to stay the course. And trust me, you don't want to be left behind in this race.

The true test of success lies in your mind. It's the gatekeeper of sticking to the necessary diet and lifestyle changes for long term success. The surgery is just a tool, but it's up to you to use it properly.


Before you hit the starting line, ask yourself: How will you stay motivated long term?

Preparing for Bariatric Surgery:
Hit the Bullseye

“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing!

That’s why it’s recommended daily.

Why would you expect motivation to last any longer than a day?"

Zig Ziglar

Motivation is like a moving target. One minute it's in your crosshairs, the next it's gone.

In the immediate weeks and months post-op, you'll be feeling like a weight loss superhero. But as time goes by, that motivation starts to fade away. It's like trying to hold onto a greased pig, slippery and elusive.

Here’s the thing…

What motivates you today, may not motivate you in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, or even 5 years!

It's easy to start off strong, but fall into the trap of lackadaisical thinking over time: "I've lost some weight, I’ve got this! The diet and lifestyle changes aren’t as necessary anymore. I’m tired of following the rules.”

But don't let the temptation to “stray,” win, because before you know it, those extra pounds will creep back on. Guaranteed.


Mental preparation is key. Before you even step foot in the operating room, it's important to have a plan in place for how you'll stay motivated long term. 

Ready, Aim, Motivate!

Here's a quick rundown of 5 top strategies to keep you on track:

“NSV” means “non scale victories.”

 Accomplishments that aren’t about weight at all.

1. Jotting Down Joy:
Keep a Notebook for Non-Scale Triumphs

Get yourself a fancy schmancy notebook to jot down all your non-scale victories. Weight loss isn't just about the number on the scale.

Write down every small accomplishment, like being able to walk to the mailbox without getting winded or fitting into a pair of jeans you haven't worn in years…or ever before! A real victory is finally being able to cross your legs without feeling like a pretzel!

More Examples of NSVs:

  • Able to get off medications
  • Can see collar bones
  • Feeling more energized


  • Rings are looser
  • Turned down cookies in the breakroom
  • Don’t need an extender on the airplane seat
  • Hit personal best at the gyn

When you’re in a weight loss stall or gain a pound or two (and trust me, those days will come), your brain will find every reason to give up and say “why bother?!"

So, trust me, these small wins will add up and keep you motivated when the scale isn't budging.

2. Mirroring Motivation:
Display Your NSVs with Pride

Why not take it one step further and get those NSVs “in sight” and “in mind.” Hang them on your bathroom mirror. Seeing all of your accomplishments in one place every day will remind you of how far you've come,.


Every time you experience a new NSV, write it on a post it note. I suggest posting on the bathroom mirror because chances are, you’re looking in it at least 2x per day!

As you start to see a plethora of sticky notes filling up space on your mirror, you can feel proud of your progress even if the scale isn’t moving as fast or as much as you want.


As you're preparing for bariatric surgery...looooong before you have your surgery...sit down and make a list of all the reasons WHY you want to lose weight. 

Write down the significance that long term weight loss will give you, not just the amount of weight you hope to lose. When you focus on the why, the how is easy.

But once you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, it’s very easy to forget why you started the journey in the first place. Your list of "whys" will serve as a reminder of your goals when the going gets tough.

It’s like your own little personal motivational poster…but way more portable. When you think about stopping, you can think about why you started.

4. Behavior vs Outcome:
Set Goals that Keep You in Control

It’s time to set some smart goals! Forget about that '”I want to lose weight” outcome goal, it's all about the journey (the behaviors).

Think about it, if you want to go to Hawaii (outcome), you don't just sit on your couch dreaming about it, you gotta put in the work.

  • Behavioral goals are things you have direct control over.
  • Outcome goals are the result of a series of behavioral goals.

Just like a Hawaiian vacation, weight loss is all about the prep work.

So, start by setting some behavioral goals can control, like:


My video tutorial on setting Behavioral Goals vs Outcome Goals is sure to help!

5. Shift from Shame to Self-Love

Start preparing for bariatric surgery by changing your attitude.

It’s easier to eat well and exercise when you love your body and want to take care of it, versus doing so because you hate it and wish it were different.


Ditch the shame and embrace self-love. Treat your body like the temple it is and nourish it with healthy food and regular exercise because you want to…not because it’s punishment.

Plus, studies have shown that a positive body image and self-esteem can lead to better weight loss outcomes. So, give your body some TLC and watch the pounds melt away. Trust me, it's worth it.

Why settle for a love-hate relationship with your body when you can have a love-love one?

The Bottom Line for Your Bottom Line: 
Your Mind is the Greatest Tool for Weight Loss Success

Preparing for bariatric surgery means training your mind. Without ongoing motivation it’s really impossible to stay the course long term.

You may be pumped up to say no to that slice of pizza today, but fast forward a few months or even years and suddenly that salad feels like a punishment.

Don't let the temptation to indulge win, because before you know it, those extra pounds will creep back on. So keep that motivation fire burning:

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