Have you struggled to maintain a healthy body weight? If so, you might be considering weight loss surgery such as LAP-BAND, gastric bypass, or a sleeve gastrectomy.
Preparing for bariatric surgery is an important next step after deciding that weight loss surgery is right for you. The process involves evaluation by your medical providers, education around what outcomes you can expect from your procedure, and compliance with all pre-operative instructions regarding medication, tobacco use, exercise, and diet. But before you reach this point you can begin preparing by incorporating healthier habits into your lifestyle.
Losing weight before bariatric surgery can shorten your hospital stay, reduce your risk of complications and post-operative pain and even enhance your rate of weight loss after surgery. Adapting to your post-bariatric diet, exercising regularly and engaging in healthier behaviors a month before your operation can make your transition easier.
Changing Your Diet
It will be difficult to adopt the post-surgery diet before you have surgery. Whether you undergo gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or LAP BAND Surgery, the diet after bariatric surgery will have restrictions and smaller portion sizes due to your limited capacity for food. Because of this, it will be impractical to follow the exact weight loss surgery diet plan before your operation.
However, you can start to adopt certain aspects of the bariatric surgery diet by:
- Reducing portion sizes
- Eliminating sugary and fatty foods
- Eliminating soda and other carbonated beverages
- Focusing on protein consumption
- Staying hydrated
Changing Exercise Habits
Exercise will become a fundamental component of your lifestyle as you lose weight. Once your bariatric surgeon says your body is able to handle activity after surgery, you will have to start engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day.
Regular exercise may be new to you, but learning fitness techniques before your operation can help you know what to do later on. Try increasing your activity level gradually by finding exercises that you enjoy.
Here are exercise ideas you can start with before weight loss surgery:
- Map a walking route through your neighborhood
- Sign up for a personal training session at your gym
- Try swimming laps in a pool
- Purchase a series of gentle workout DVDs you can do at home
Talk to your friends before your operation to see if anyone is interested in becoming your workout buddy. Exercising with others can help you stay accountable and achieve better results.
Many habits beyond diet and exercise will help you stay healthy after bariatric surgery, and it’s important to remain mindful of them. These will include things like drinking enough water and maintaining a positive attitude.
You can also prepare for behavioral changes by:
- Improving your sleeping habits
- Learning stress management techniques
- Increasing incidental activity
- Quitting smoking and alcohol consumption
Adopting healthy behaviors like those above will give you a chance to grow accustomed to a healthier way of life before undergoing weight loss surgery.
Preparing for Bariatric Surgery
Now that you are ready to take the next step in your weight loss journey, here are what you can expect as you begin preparing for bariatric surgery.
Complete a Consultation and Medical Evaluation
Weight loss surgery provides people who have a high body mass index (BMI) with a surgical option to help them achieve a healthy, sustainable body weight. In most cases, patients who are considering bariatric surgery must demonstrate that they have been unsuccessful in their efforts to control their body weight through less intrusive measures like diet and exercise, and that remaining at their current weight poses a significant threat to their long-term health and well-being.
Here at Destination Weight Loss, each prospective patient meets with one of our bariatric surgeons to review eligibility for weight loss surgery. This consultation includes a complete medical history review along with pre-bariatric surgery counseling to ensure the patient has a realistic understanding of the procedure and probable outcomes.
If you currently smoke, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of your procedure to reduce your risk of surgery-related complications related to the use of tobacco products.
Complete Insurance Coverage Applications
Weight loss surgery is gaining widespread acceptance among both physicians and the insurance industry as a safe, effective solution for the management of obesity and associated disorders such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and inflammatory conditions like some forms of arthritis.
Many insurance companies now provide either partial or complete coverage for bariatric surgeries such as LAP-BAND and gastric bypass. In order to qualify for coverage under your policy, you may be required to submit proof of prior weight loss attempts along with documentation supporting the fact that your BMI is calculated as either over 40, or that your BMI is between 35 and 39 and you also have a comorbid condition that is directly related to obesity.
Begin Your Pre-Operative Diet
Regardless of which type of bariatric surgery you and your surgeon choose, your post-surgical diet will likely be significantly different than the one you are currently following. Many patients find it’s helpful to reduce portion sizes, eliminating sugary, fatty foods and increasing their consumption of lean protein prior to their procedure, since this allows the patient time to develop the new eating habits and patterns that will be necessary following their weight loss operation. Read more about this from our Bariatric Surgery Guide.
Here at Destination Weight Loss, we encourage each of our patients to sign up for our complimentary online seminar when preparing for bariatric surgery, during which our team of weight loss experts provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about surgical weight loss options.