15 Things You Can Do to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery
Before you think of getting an affordable weight loss surgery, you need to qualify for the procedure and understand the important considerations you need to make. An adult who is eligible for this surgery is usually overweight by over 100 pounds. However, an easier estimate is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Typically, individuals getting an affordable bariatric surgery have a BMI over 35.
That said, you can also be eligible for the surgery if you have a BMI between 30 to 35. People who usually go for the procedure have tried to lose weight in the past and haven’t been successful. This string of bad luck starts to affect their health adversely, which makes an affordable weight loss surgery in Alabama all the more important (source: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery).
It’s also essential to understand that if you’re certain you want to go through the procedure, you’ll have to change your dietary habits holistically. Your new, improved and healthier diet will ensure the positive effects of the surgery last for a lifetime. Once you’re done with the surgery, your doctor (or your nutritionist) will create a general diet plan for you.
This post-surgery meal plan will usually have phases that’ll span out in the weeks after the procedure. This will help you recover, get used to healthier eating habits, and meet all of the needs of your new and smaller stomach. But before you decide to go through the procedure, there are certain things you’ll have to do to ensure you’re ready.
Things You Can Do to Prepare for an Affordable Weight Loss Surgery
1. Learn All You Can About the Procedure
When you know what to expect, you can have mental peace. To ensure you know as much as possible about the bariatric surgery procedure, read books, visit several websites, listen to podcasts and make sure you’re informed about what’s going to happen. Talking to other people who have gone through the procedure will give you a better idea of the lifestyle changes you can expect, and the associated risks.
2. Understand Why You Eat
One of the most important things you need to do is to know why you get hungry. The bariatric surgery procedure will make your stomach smaller, and it will change how much you can eat in one sitting – but it won’t change the way you think. Some people eat because of eating disorders, which are classified as psychological problems. So if you’re eating for reasons apart from hunger, like boredom, habit, stress or emotion, you have to change the way you think about food.
Start by building a safe environment around yourself that helps you weed out the pointless eating habits. Don’t keep your food on the counter, eat from a plate rather than a package, and try not to get distracted when you’re having food.
3. Cope With Stress Without Food
For several people, eating is a way of coping with the heavy emotions they feel. After the bariatric surgery procedure,since people are advised to stay away from food, it can feel like as if they’ve lost a friend. However, because these people are unaware of the ways they can cope with stress without food, these unhealthy habits persist. For starters, the first thing you can do is to always keep your hands busy. Paint, go to the gym, play a video game just never let your hands sit idle.
Run all the errands you can find and go for a walk. Make a list of the people who can support you through your recovery process and meet them often. Whether it’s your family, friends or colleagues, everyone should know about journey you’re stepping foot on. If you know a person who has gone through the procedure before, ask them what their mentor did for them.
4. Try Not to Compare Yourself with Others
Every person who goes through an affordable weight loss surgery has stories of their own. They all have their share of challenges which they overcame successfully. It’s important you know that everyone loses weight at different speeds with the help of varying strategies.
When a person heavier than you starts losing weight, they have more weight to lose. Therefore, they find it a bit easier to lose weight. So keep your sights set on what you can control rather than what you can’t. Set a strategy and give it your best. Remember, you’re only competing with the person you were yesterday!
5. Try to Eat On a Schedule
When you’re done with your bariatric surgery, you’ll need to consume a protein based diet. This will consist of meals that you’ll need to have every 3 hours. If you’re not already eating this way before the surgery, making the transition to mini-meals later on might seem a tad bit challenging.
Create a plan of what you want to eat and when. Food preparation is one of the most effective ways you can stay on track. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, always keep balanced meals, healthy snacks, and protein shakes with you at all times.
This might seem like a lot but the end-result is going to be worth it!
6. Stay In the Know (Progress Report)
After you’re done with the bariatric surgery procedure, losing weight and completely changing your lifestyle in the first year will be the easy part. However, the more challenging bit is ensuring that you don’t gain any of the weight back.
When you’re following up on the progress with a report, you know where you’re headed. Moreover, good follow-ups also let you form a strong bond with your bariatric team, allowing you to share your challenges and motivation. Make a habit of constantly checking your blood for any vitamin deficiencies.
The process is unique and you’re going to be a patient forever. But with the right team helping you through the process, even the bumpiest of rides can feel joyous.
7. You May Feel Left Out At Social Gatherings
You may be surprised when you get to know how food plays a major role in our life and personality. So when you start changing what you eat, you also change the person you are indefinitely. When you begin going through the process, start to identify the changes you see and communicate them with all relevant stakeholders – family, friends, colleagues and significant others.
8. Your Water Bottle Is Your Third Arm!
One of the most prominent post-operations concerns between patients is dehydration. It won’t be possible for you to drink large amounts of water in one go which is why you should focus on sipping small amounts throughout the wholeday.
If you don’t drink water for one hour, it may be difficult for you to make up for that lost time. Additionally, your stomach is going to be prime real estate after the bariatric surgery. So during your meal times, give protein priority and practice not drinking water when you’re eating something.
9. Hold Yourself Accountable
Most people who are able to lose weight successfully are always tracking something. Whether it’s the amount of proteins they consume, the fluids they intake, their steps, their weight or their exercise, they’re always in the know.
One other way you can measure progress is by keeping your meals in jars or boxes. Ensure that the size of the box stays the same everyday and you’re always consuming a consistent amount of calories. When you’re honest with yourself, losing weight gets a lot easier.
10. Eat As If You’ve Already Had the Surgery
In simpler words, when you’re having a meal, slow down and chew. The digestion process works quite differently after the bariatric surgery procedure. The stomach isn’t going to churn and mix the food as much as it did, and you’re going to have less digestive enzymes and gastric acid to aid the digestion procedure. So before you decide to swallow, use your teeth to break down your bites into tiny pieces. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it!
11. Quit Smoking
If you smoke, quit and discontinue the use of all nicotine and tobacco related products. Research had repeatedly proven that smoking not only increases the process of weight gain, but it also causes added complications during the bariatric surgery procedure recovery process. Some bariatric clinics across America require their patients to be nicotine-free for a minimum time period of 3 months before they’re educated about what the procedure entails.
12. Focus On Your Mental Health
You also need to think about the different factors that have contributed to your weight gain and the way they change your life. Think about how ready you are for the procedure and the way your life will change after it. Create a journal in which you write down all of the healthy and productive changes you’re making in your life.
Ask your support group to help you find healthy snacks that won’t negatively impact your weight. Remember, after you’re done with the affordable weight loss surgery, the lifestyle changes will take time and you’re going to take little steps every day.
Set realistic and time-bound goals.
13. Commit to Not Gaining Extra Weight
There’s no point in trying to prepare for bariatric surgery if you’re still gaining weight. The least you can do is to stop yourself from gaining weight if you’re having a hard time losing it. Try not to have a good meal “one last time” since you think you’re going to make changes later on. At a time like this, your bariatric surgery team will discuss your pre-surgery weight loss goals in detail with you.
14. Re-Imagine the Relationship Between You and Food
Start thinking about food as fuel for your body. Pay close attention to how your body reacts when you’ve consumed something and don’t only eat something just because it tastes good. Improve your awareness for the external cues and the satiation signs. Try not to get distracted and savor what you’re eating. We know it might be hard, but try your absolute best to get rid of reactive eating.
15. Take Pictures!
The most fun part of the process.
Before you start your journey for weight loss, take pictures of yourself from as many angles as possible and if you can, measure the dimensions of body parts like:
- Your arms,
- Waist, and
- Your hips
The photos you take will help you stay motivated for the long run. You might not see the change every day or feel it, but the photos will help you see the changes you’ve achieved. This makes the procedure physically and mentally rewarding.
One of the biggest parts of recovering from the bariatric surgery procedure is adapting to the lifestyle changes that you’re beginning to see in your life. To ensure the process is smooth and you always have a professional guiding you, you’re going to need a team that helps you in making healthy lifestyle choices so you lose weight and improve your overall health.
In this scenario, it’s important for you to remember why you chose the affordable weight loss surgery process in the first place. Focus on these reasons and make the effort of making these changes continuously so you stay motivated.
Bariatric surgery is not different from any medical procedure that you can go through. Risks are involved in every case, but the benefits aren’t always as rewarding. All kinds of bariatric surgeries have considerably low risks with incredibly high success rates.
If you’re a candidate for affordable weight loss surgery and you want to begin your journey towards a healthy lifestyle, you can start by calling Alabama Bariatrics at (256) 274-4523. Experienced bariatric surgeons working for Alabama Bariatrics have been fixing lives one surgery at a time for a long time.
Click here to read see some of our success stories.