5 Steps to Prepare Yourself for Weight Loss Surgery

Considering weight loss surgery? Effectively preparing for the procedure begins with five simple steps.

With all of the benefits associated with weight loss surgery — improved cardiovascular health, reduction of joint pain, relief from anxiety and depression — it can be tempting to jump right in. However, it’s important to take the time to thoughtfully prepare for this life-changing decision. Understanding the details of the procedure reduces your risk of complications and makes the transition to a healthier lifestyle easier.

These five steps will help you prepare for weight loss surgery and set you up for long-term success.

1. Talk to Your Doctor About the Risks and Benefits

Start preparing yourself for bariatric surgery by learning all you can about the procedure. Read up on the risks and benefits, connect with people who have gone through similar experiences, and check out informative weight loss surgery blogs

Most importantly, start a dialogue with your doctor. They’ll be able to expand on the information you’ve gathered on your own, offer expert advice, and put you in touch with an experienced bariatric surgeon.  

2. Check-In With Yourself

Many people underestimate the importance of mentally preparing for weight loss surgery, but emotional changes are just as significant as physical ones. 

Start with setting realistic expectations. Bariatric surgery represents the beginning of your weight loss journey, but there is still work to be done afterwards. For instance, you should expect to spend six months to a year working to maintain a healthy weight. Being realistic about weight loss surgery will help you stay grounded and prevent you from feeling unsatisfied with your progress. 

The months leading up to weight loss surgery are a good time to really think about how weight loss surgery will change your life. What’s more, you should start to reevaluate your relationship with food. Do you tend to eat when you’re stressed or upset? Do you use food as a reward system? Practice being mindful early on and carry these strategies with you throughout your weight loss journey.

3. Start Making Changes to Your Diet

Most people considering weight loss surgery know they’ll need to change their diet after the procedure, but not everyone realizes that they’ll have to modify their eating habits before then. In fact, your doctors will put you on a special diet in the months leading up to the surgery to help retrain your body and reduce your risk of complications

Before surgery, you’ll work on incorporating more healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables into your diet and practice eating smaller portions. Eat slowly, chew completely, and try to stop when you feel full. Drink 64 ounces of water daily and cut out all sugary beverages like fruit juice, soda, and alcohol. If you’re a smoker, quit. Consider your pre-surgery diet a dry-run for the real thing.  

4. Ramp Up Your Exercise Routine

Along the same lines of retraining your body, you should also prepare yourself for weight loss surgery by exercising more. Baby steps are a great place to start — think short walks each day, a few squats while you’re waiting for your coffee to finish brewing, some chair exercises, or simple stretching.

The goal here is to incrementally increase your tolerance so you’re moving at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. Physical activity reduces the risk of complications during surgery and helps get you into the habit of exercising. Pick some form of movement you enjoy and focus on frequency rather than intensity. 

5. Reach Out to Your Support Network

Finally, remember that you’re not going through your weight loss journey alone. Your family, primary care physician, and bariatric surgeon are only the beginning of your support network. The importance of connecting with people who have been through weight loss surgery or are going through it themselves is critical. You can share your feelings, get advice, make new friends, and build a community of people who will hold you accountable to your weight loss goals.   

If you’re ready to take the next step and start exploring weight loss surgery options, contact Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today! Our team of licensed medical professionals are ready to answer any questions and provide support throughout your journey to the new you.