4 tips for Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

July 19, 2017

Having weight loss surgery is a major decision, and will mark a major change in your life. Just as you wouldn’t make a major move, change careers or get married without some advance planning, preparing for bariatric surgery is essential.

Patients who prepare for their surgery in advance will, on average, have a less stressful overall experience, save money, have a lower risk of complications, lose more weight and have more success keeping the weight off long-term.

Here are four great ways to prepare for your weight loss surgery.

1. Manage Your Expectations

You will not wake up thin after bariatric surgery. In fact, your immediate post-op weight will likely be higher than your pre-op weight, because you’ll retain fluids during the procedure.

Weight loss surgery is a tool – a very powerful tool – that will help you lose weight and keep it off, but successful weight loss requires major lifestyle changes and work on your part, too. If you think the surgery will be a magic bullet, you’ll probably be disappointed.

2. Establish a Support Network

You are more likely to have a positive experience with your weight loss journey if you go through it with a good support system. You’ll need different kinds of support from different people in your life, but ideally your support network will include:

  • Family and friends who will support you as you make changes to your lifestyle and who will provide care in the days immediately following your surgery.
  • Support groups with other bariatric surgery patients. Research has shown that participating in support groups, both before and after your surgery, significantly improves long-term weight loss[1].
  • A medical team, including your primary care provider and any other medical professionals you see regularly. All of your doctors need to know about your plans for weight loss surgery and should be able to help you both manage your weight loss and help you manage any other health issues during this major life change.

3. Deal With Any Underlying Mental Health Issues, Including Addiction

If you use food as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, you’ll need to break that habit to yield the best results from your weight loss surgery. Likewise, caffeine, alcohol or nicotine addictions can cause problems for patients. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks can be high in calories and lead to patients consuming more calories than recommended. Smoking can increase your risk for surgical complications, and also increases the risks for stomach irritations after your surgery.

If you suffer from depression, it can be even more difficult to stay on track with your weight loss goals. Make sure your medical team includes mental health professionals who can help you overcome depression and addictions as you’re preparing for weight loss surgery.

4. Prepare for Practicalities

Immediately after your surgery, you’ll need to follow a very specific diet and will need to recover. This is a critical time in your weight loss journey, but can also be very difficult if you haven’t planned appropriately. To make sure this period goes as smoothly as possible, you should:

  • Arrange for childcare and/or care for your pets
  • Inform your support network of your surgery and recovery schedule
  • Schedule assistance with transportation
  • Go grocery shopping and prepare meals for the post-op period

5. Join the Center for Weight Loss Surgery in a Healthy Lifestyle this Summer

The Center for Weight Loss Surgery can help you discover a healthier lifestyle outdoors. We assist clients in Seattle, the Eastside, and surrounding areas of Washington, maintain fitness and eating goals after weight loss surgery. We invite you to schedule a consultation to explore if bariatric surgery is the right option for you. 

Schedule a Consultation

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16545165

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