Pre-Surgery: How to Prepare for Your Bariatric Procedure
The consequences of obesity can wreak havoc on your health; you may have sleep apnea, diabetes, joint pain, a higher risk for heart disease and cancer, or depression as a result of carrying around extra weight. While there are countless diets and activities that may help you to reduce your weight, many people turn to bariatric surgery in order to improve their health, often after having tried multiple other options.
Once you’ve decided to have a bariatric procedure, it’s time to begin thinking about how you can best prepare yourself for surgery. Generally, patients can have the best weight-loss and health outcomes when they are able to follow both pre- and post-surgery plans suggested by their surgeons. This blog post examines some of the ways that you can enhance your results even before you go in for your procedure.
How Should I Adapt my Diet to Prepare for Surgery?
Because most patients will need to make dietary and lifestyle changes, you will meet with our Lutfi Forward Team ahead of time. These meetings will help you to understand the procedure, plan for before and after surgery, and make sure you are fully supported to make the lifestyle changes that are right for you. Dietary recommendations will be made specifically for you based on your individual circumstances, health conditions, and upcoming procedure. However, there are some general guidelines for eating that most patients can follow prior to a bariatric procedure:
- Reduce or eliminate foods that are high in unhealthy saturated fats, such as fried foods.
- Reduce or eliminate foods that are high in simple carbohydrates (sugars), such as bread, pasta, and desserts.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol.
- Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks, such as fruit juices, fruit smoothies, and sodas.
- Reduce or eliminate fluid intake with meals.
- Use portion control and avoid binge eating.
Is there Anything Else I can do to Prepare for Surgery?
Your bariatric surgery will help you progress towards your goals, and you can enhance the efficacy of the procedure with your daily choices. After all, this is a life-changing decision that we want you to get as much out of as possible! Arming yourself with the knowledge and skills to make lifestyle changes (such as increasing your level of activity and choosing foods wisely) is perhaps the single most important preparation you can make.
Know What to Expect
Before your surgery, we will offer you counseling and guidance about what to expect on the day of your procedure and during recovery. Knowing what lies ahead will allow you to meet your journey as prepared as possible, which will greatly enhance your overall experience.
Purchase Your Vitamins Ahead of Time
You will likely need vitamin supplements after surgery, but not all vitamins are appropriate for someone who’s had a bariatric procedure (Lizer et al. 2010). For instance, a non-immediate-release formulation will result in little, if any, absorption of some vitamins; thus, you will need certain types of vitamins and should have those on hand for after your surgery.
We understand that making changes to your lifestyle can be difficult. That’s why we have our patients meet with each member of our team; we won’t let you go through these changes alone. We encourage our patients to reflect on their relationships with food before and after the procedure. For instance, if you have a habit of binge-eating, spending time getting to know your triggers and pre-planning ways to avoid them is a very worthwhile endeavor prior to your surgery. Meeting with our psychologist or other counselors can help you to explore yourself in this productive way. Spending time examining your own historical habits and setting intentions about new habits that you’d like to create can help you go into your procedure prepared.
Arrange and Commit to Receiving Support
We will provide many resources and strongly suggest that you become active in our support group, even before your procedure. While our patients are generally excited and motivated by the changes they see to their bodies after weight loss surgery, you will sometimes want encouragement during the recovery process and beyond. Meeting with our support group will help you to continue to learn and share information with others who are on a similar path towards wellness. Actively seeking support and committing to learning about healthy habits will undoubtedly improve your health, and this part of your journey can begin even before having your surgery.
Lizer, M.H., Papageorgeon, H., and Glembot, T.M. (2010). Nutritional and pharmacologic challenges in the bariatric surgery patient. Obesity Surgery. 20(12): 1654-9.