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5 Ways You Can Prepare For Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery stands as a beacon of hope for those who haven’t found success with traditional weight loss methods. It encompasses a variety of procedures, each with its own approach to facilitating significant weight loss. The key to unlocking the full potential of this life-altering weight loss option lies in thorough preparation. Leading bariatric centers emphasize the importance of pre-surgical preparation, offering programs designed to equip patients with the necessary knowledge and lifestyle techniques. Such education is crucial, not only for setting realistic expectations, but also for ensuring long-term success after bariatric surgery so we have curated 5 ways you can prepare for bariatric surgery.

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritize Medical Clearance: Before embarking on bariatric surgery, obtaining medical clearance is fundamental for a safe and successful procedure.
  • Build a Strong Support Network: Your weight loss journey requires more than just medical preparation. A robust support system, including support groups, is essential.
  • Educate Yourself About Nutrition: Healthy eating habits are pivotal for success. Meeting with a bariatric nutritionist helps you to understand necessary dietary changes pre and post-surgery.
  • Commit to a Comprehensive Plan: Establish a diet and exercise regimen with your healthcare team, a crucial step before bariatric surgery.
  • Embrace a New Mindset for Success: The journey involves a lifestyle transformation. Focus on improving sleep patterns, managing stress, securing support systems, and cultivating healthy eating habits to set yourself up for success.

Get Medical Clearance

5 Ways To Prepare For Bariatric Surgery - health questionnaire

Before embarking on the path to bariatric surgery, obtaining medical clearance is crucial to ensure a safe and successful procedure. Here’s a streamlined guide to the preparatory steps:

  • Health History Review: Your surgeon will need a complete picture of your medical history, including any existing medical conditions, past surgeries, and medications. They’ll also review your weight management history to understand your journey thus far.
  • Medical Assessment: A medical team will evaluate your heart and lung health to determine if your body can safely endure the surgery. This assessment is essential due to the increased risks surgery poses for individuals with excess weight.
  • Diagnostic Testing: Depending on your health and the specific surgery planned, you may undergo additional tests. These can include bloodwork to gauge your metabolic and nutritional health, endoscopies for gastrointestinal issues, and possibly studies to check for sleep apnea, radiology scans, or bone density tests if relevant.
  • Physical Examination: A comprehensive physical exam will be conducted to assess your vital signs, calculate your BMI, and check your cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal health.
  • Laboratory Tests: A series of lab tests will be performed to identify any conditions that could affect the surgery or your recovery. These tests may include a complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, lipid profile, thyroid function test and coagulation studies. 

These steps form a detailed health profile that enables your bariatric team to customize the surgery to your needs, ensuring your readiness for bariatric surgery and minimizing any potential risks.

Assembling Your Support Network 

5 Ways To Prepare For Bariatric Surgery - support group

Embarking on your bariatric surgery journey requires more than just medical preparation—it demands a strong support system. Combining the empathy and advice of a bariatric surgery support group with the personal encouragement of friends and family creates a powerful network. This collective support is essential, offering you the encouragement and understanding necessary to navigate this transformative path.

Support Groups

Creating a solid support system is an integral part of your bariatric surgery journey, offering a foundation for long-term success. Engaging with a bariatric surgery support group before your procedure can be incredibly beneficial. These groups provide a unique opportunity to connect with individuals who understand the nuances of the experience because they are walking a similar path. Sharing struggles and triumphs with those who truly comprehend can offer unparalleled support and motivation.

Within these communities, you’ll find not only empathy but also practical support. Members often share their own tips and strategies for adhering to dietary plans, keeping up with exercise routines, and managing life post-surgery. This peer support extends beyond just advice, providing emotional succor through the highs and lows of your transformation.

Friends and Family Support

The support shouldn’t stop with your support group. It’s ideal to also involve your personal network of friends and family. They offer a different kind of care, one that’s rooted in deep personal connections and an intimate understanding of your life. They can provide a listening ear, and offer encouragement that’s both personal and profound.

By reaching out to those closest to you, you open the door for a more comprehensive form of support. They can become your champions, celebrating each step forward with you and providing comfort during challenging times. Your loved ones can also hold you accountable, helping you stay on track with your new lifestyle changes in a compassionate, understanding way.

As you ready yourself for surgery, remember the strength found in numbers. Embrace the opportunity to build a community around you, a blend of peers from support groups and the cherished circle of your friends and family. This network will become a bedrock of support, offering companionship, understanding, and encouragement as you embark on this life-changing path.

Learn About Nutrition

5 Ways To Prepare For Bariatric Surgery - nutrition

Healthy eating habits are the key to making weight loss surgery work. Meeting with a registered bariatric nutritionist gives you an opportunity to learn about the necessary dietary changes you’ll need to make both before and after your surgery. These include eating smaller portion sizes, changing what you eat, chewing food completely, staying adequately hydrated, and tracking daily food intake.

Pre-Operative Nutrition

Before your surgery, a pre-bariatric surgery diet will likely be recommended. You may be advised to follow it for a number of weeks or months if you have a very high BMI or health issues; the most common duration is a two-week pre-bariatric surgery diet. To help with your pre bariatric surgery diet, it is important to get guidance from a certified bariatric nutritionist – they will help you decide a plan of action to ensure you are meeting your nutritional goals.

There are many benefits to starting and sticking to a pre-bariatric diet plan. By following a pre-op diet provided by a certified bariatric nutritionist, it will be much easier for you to lose weight and decrease your BMI before the day of your surgery. Losing weight with the pre-bariatric diet before your bariatric surgery will also help shrink your liver and lower your intra-abdominal fat, making things much easier for the surgeon.

The pre-op diet makes the transition to your new lifestyle easier as well. Recovering from surgery and learning to adjust to your new diet and lifestyle can be overwhelming. By establishing a healthy diet several weeks before the procedure, the additional changes you will face after the surgery will be much simpler and easier to deal with. 

Post-Operative Nutrition

After bariatric surgery, you’ll start with a liquid diet and slowly transition to eating very soft foods. After a while, you can slowly start to re-introduce regular foods. This transition is crucial for helping your stomach and digestive system heal and adjust. Be Slim Bariatrics certified nutritionist will be available for any questions you may have during this time. It is important to make sure you are meeting your nutritional needs post-bariatric surgery; bariatric multivitamins will be necessary to ensure you are getting the necessary nutrients.  

Commit to a Weight Loss and Exercise Plan

A key element in the lead-up to bariatric surgery is establishing a comprehensive diet and exercise regimen with your bariatric team. This isn’t just a routine—it’s a blueprint for the lifestyle you’ll adopt post-surgery. Documenting your weight loss objectives and the methods to achieve them can significantly enhance your chances of success. By practicing these habits now, they become ingrained, easing the post-operative transition.

Dietary adjustments are one piece of the puzzle, but regular physical activity is equally vital. It’s recommended to start incorporating at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your daily routine well in advance of your surgery. This practice not only prepares your body for the physical demands of recovery but also sets the stage for a healthier post-surgery life.

If you’re new to exercise, start simple. Activities such as walking, beginner workout videos on YouTube, or routines from free fitness apps can serve as great starting points. Look for opportunities to increase activity in your everyday life, too—opt for the stairs, park further away from your destination, and find joy in the movement. Every step counts towards building a healthier you.

Gaining a New Mindset to Set Yourself Up for Success

5 Ways To Prepare For Bariatric Surgery - new mindset

The journey through bariatric surgery isn’t solely a physical one; it’s a comprehensive lifestyle transformation that requires a positive and resilient mindset. The process necessitates significant changes that can touch every aspect of your life, from social and personal relationships to emotional health. It’s essential for you to feel mentally equipped for these changes, ready to adopt new nutritional habits and behaviors that will support your well-being after surgery.

It’s important to note that while some bariatric programs might suggest a psychological evaluation as part of the preparation process, it’s not a universal requirement. However, if you’re grappling with emotional eating, binge eating, or any negative thoughts surrounding food or the impending surgery, seeking a mental health evaluation can be a proactive step. This evaluation can help in addressing these concerns and setting you on a path toward healthier coping mechanisms.

In anticipation of your surgery, there’s no need to delay making positive lifestyle adjustments. Initiating these changes now can facilitate a smoother transition post-surgery. Consider incorporating the following practices:

  • Improve Sleep Patterns: Good sleep is foundational for health; strive to establish a restful routine.
  • Manage Stress: Discover and employ effective stress management techniques that resonate with you.
  • Secure a Support System: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, or connect with a group like Be Slim Bariatrics’ patient support group for shared strength and motivation.
  • Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits: Work on strategies to overcome emotional eating and adapt to new eating behaviors, especially in social settings.

If you’re a smoker, quitting before surgery is imperative, as smoking can significantly increase the risk of complications during and after the procedure. Taking these steps is not merely about adhering to surgical protocols; it’s about committing to a healthier lifestyle that will enhance the quality of your life in the long term.

As you approach your bariatric surgery date, remember that it’s more than a medical procedure—it’s a commitment to a new way of life. The steps you take now, from securing medical clearance to building a support network, committing to a diet and exercise plan, and addressing mental health, lay the groundwork for the profound changes ahead. While the journey is yours alone, it is supported by the expertise of your bariatric team and the companionship of those who care about you. Your dedication to this process is a testament to your resolve to achieve a healthier, more vibrant life. Keep this spirit of preparation and positivity at the forefront as you move forward, and know that each step you take is a move toward a brighter future.

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