Bariatric surgery is a life-changing experience that isn’t to be taken lightly.
And preparing for your surgery date can make all the difference in getting a head start navigating your post-op life.
In this article, we’ll share 7 ways to prepare for bariatric surgery in your pre-op stage.
Why prepare for Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery comes with many guidelines and recommendations.
And these aren’t to be underestimated.
Typically, you have to follow strict guidelines concerning your protein, water and vitamin intake.
Also, you will have to take specific eating strategies into account as well. For instance, slower eating is typically recommended after weight loss surgery.
In summary, preparing for your bariatric surgery procedure can help you get into the right mindset. A mindset that takes time to evolve, but is oh so important to have once embark on your new bariatric journey. So let’s start with the first tip.
Bariatric surgery comes with many guidelines and recommendations of which protein, hydration and vitamin intake are amongst the prominent ones.
1. Learn about high-protein food sources
Protein will be the most important macronutrient after bariatric surgery. Especially in the early stages. Learning about high-protein food sources will give you a head start in knowing what foods may be right for you after bariatric surgery. Keep in mind that taste buds may change, and that you won’t like everything that you like right now.
In the early stages after bariatric surgery you’ll most likely partly have to rely on protein supplements (i.e. protein shakes) to meet your protein goals. But it’s typically encouraged to start eating wholesome nutritious meals when you’re further out and you’re able to do so.
Always work together with a bariatric dietitian to discuss your nutritional needs after bariatric surgery.
2. Work on increasing your Hydration
Did you know that bariatric patients are more prone to dehydration? And here’s why:
- High restriction means limited intake
- You’re not able to drink together with your meals
- Bariatric Surgery requires a limitation in high-sugar beverages
Working on your hydration goals before you have surgery, will make it a bit more easier to keep up with hydration afterwards.
If you’re struggling with hydration, make sure to read our tips for better hydration here.
3. Start eating more frequently
Having small frequent meals throughout the day may help you get in as many nutrients as possible.
After bariatric surgery, it won’t be possible to eat larger portions in one sitting. This may make it more challenging to meet your protein goals for example.
Always discuss your eating strategies with your bariatric dietitian who can help you with tailor made advice for your situation.
4. Don’t compare yourself to other people
Comparison is the thief of joy. And it’s so easy to fall for the comparison trap. Especially when it comes down to weight loss and weight loss transformations.
It’s OK to be inspired by other people who had bariatric surgery too.
However, try not to feel bad about your own journey when you see someone else being ‘successful’. Every bariatric journey is unique. And that’s OK.
If you’re ready to start focusing on your OWN goals – why not start with keeping a journal where you can prepare for the big day ahead?
We’ve created The Ultimate Gastric Sleeve Journal and The Ultimate Gastric Bypass Planner to help you focus on your goals from the moment you embark on your pre-op journey.
5. Find your bariatric team
Start looking for a bariatric team and a surgical center that fit your needs.
Ask questions and prepare for their program. How often are you expected to follow-up? What type of surgery procedure is right for you? What does the aftercare program look like?
Be your own advocate and always follow up with your surgeons guidelines and recommendations.
6. Identify your non-hunger cues and seek professional help if you need to
Eating is so much more than ‘I have an appetite, so I’ll eat’. There are so many different non-hunger cues to take into account such as:
- Certain emotions that can trigger (over)eating, such as sadness
- Feeling stressed can easily lead to poorer food choices and/or (over)eating
- Being in a certain environment may trigger (over)eating behaviour
Eating isn’t bad. You need food to fuel your body and it’s important to honour your hunger-cues.
However, it can be really hard to distinguish between mind hunger or physical hunger.
Especially if you’ve been on the ‘dieting bandwagon’ for ages and you’re struggling with disrupted eating behaviours such as emotional eating or food addiction.
Additionally research also suggests that bariatric patients have a hard time reading their hunger and fullness cues before bariatric surgery.
Identify what’s causing you to (over)eat. Seek professional help if you need to.
Bariatric surgery isn’t the easy way out and it sure doesn’t fix any root causes of emotional eating, self sabotaging behaviours or other disrupted eating patterns. You’ve got this!
7. Ditch the ‘All-or-Nothing’ Mindset
When you have been dieting for years, it’s not uncommon to have acquired an ‘all-or-nothing’ way of thinking. To give you an example:
You’re trying to restrict yourself from ‘bad’ foods such as chocolate chip cookies. You’ve been trying hard all day not to eat that cookie.
But you cave in eventually by eating 4 cookies. Feeling like you’ve ruined ‘everything’ – you just give up all together and eat the whole pack, beating yourself up afterwards for doing so.
Bariatric surgery requires a more flexible mindset to make your post-operative lifestyle a success.
There’s no such thing as the perfect bariatric journey. You will make mistakes. And you will learn from them as well.
Consistency is so much more important than striving for perfection.
And this isn’t easy at all.
By giving yourself grace and rewarding yourself for all the accomplishments you’re making – you can start being more lenient towards yourself.
About our community
The easy way out they said. Bariatric surgery is cheating they uttered. But whoever “they” are, we’re here to tell you that you’re brave for using bariatric surgery as a tool to reclaim your life.
Sure, the weight may come off faster, but that doesn’t mean that you still need to actively change your lifestyle (and mindset) for long-term success.
Your Onederland is the fastest growing bariatric community as of today, to support you in your journey. With more than 4000 friends joined on our community platform (no membership fees charged!), you’re not alone.
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