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Prepare for the Bariatric Surgery Diet: Tips, Foods to Avoid, Things to Buy

Bariatric Dieting

How to Prepare for the Bariatric Surgery Diet

Contemplating bariatric surgery can bring up a lot of questions and concerns ultimately wondering if it’s the right choice and wondering what life will look like after surgery. The anticipation of rapid weight loss can be exciting, especially since many people struggle, for years, with various diets and weight loss attempts. It is also not unusual to feel worried and anxious about the decision. The best way to ease any anxiety is to prepare well for surgery. This article provides a preoperative and postoperative checklist including materials needed for long-term success during weight loss surgery.

When Should You Consider Weight Loss Surgery?

Doctors and Surgeons will make the final authorization determining who qualifies for bariatric surgery. In general, weight loss surgeries are recommended for people with:1https://asmbs.org/patients/who-is-a-candidate-for-bariatric-surgery

  • BMI equal to or more than 30, especially if you have one of the following conditions: as diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, liver disease, osteoarthritis, etc.;
  • Inability to achieve a healthy weight or sustain weight loss with prior efforts.

Not sure what your BMI is?

You can calculate your BMI online.

Benefits and Risks of Bariatric Surgery

Like with any surgery, weight loss surgery is associated with some risks, but these are typically low. Less than 1 in 20 patients have major complications and the risk of death from bariatric surgery is lower than gallbladder surgery or hip replacement.2https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-misconceptions In comparison, the risks of morbid obesity are quite significant.

One of the reasons weight loss surgery has become so popular is that the benefits outweigh the risks. This is especially true for people with serious comorbidity conditions which can significantly affect their quality of life and lifespan.

You can expect to lose a significant amount of weight after bariatric surgery along with improvement in obesity-related conditions like joint pain, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 3https://www.obesityaction.org/community/news/bariatric-surgery/is-bariatric-surgery-for-me-ask-yourself-these-questions/ This will improve your overall health and life expectancy.

How to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery?

The keys to successful weight loss surgeries are realistic expectations and thoughtful preparation. Before considering bariatric surgery, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I given diet and exercise a fair attempt without success?
  • Am I ready to comply with the surgeon’s preoperative and postoperative dietary instructions?
  • Can I commit to making behavior and lifestyle changes to sustain weight loss and positively impact my health?

Once those questions have been answered honestly, you may be ready to move forward, and start preparing for bariatric surgery.

Prepare for Diet and Lifestyle Change

Prepare to cut out toxic foods such as processed and packaged foods, artificial sweeteners, fast food restaurants, empty calories, foods laden with MSG, canola oil, saturated fat and added sugars.

What to Avoid:   Definition:Examples:
Artificial SweetenersA chemical food additive that substitutes sugar, offering the body no nutrients.Equal, Sweet n Low, Splenda
Fast Food RestaurantsA food establishment preparing food quickly and serving patrons quickly, or offering ready-made food items.McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Carl’s Jr, Pizza restaurants
Empty CaloriesFood offering calories, without any nutrients, or very little nutrients. Often culminating a blood sugar spike, or not feeling satisfied or additional cravings throughout the day.

Chips, Crackers, Cookies, Cakes, Pastries, Donuts Sodas, Energy drinks, high fat foods with butter or oils. 

Alcohol 

High fat meats; sausage and hot dogs

Foods including; Msg, high fat oils and added sugarsFound in establishments like chain restaurants or foods with ingredients like canola, corn or soybean oil, saturated fat, and deep fried foodsChinese food, Mexican food, Italian restaurants or typical American restaurants.

It will also be crucial to incorporate regular physical activity, after bariatric surgery.

Movement should become a priority and put on the calendar each week. By activating different muscles daily, more calories will be burned, definition and toning of the body will take place. Further progress of overall health and wellness will start to shape.

Tools for Long-Term Success After Weight Loss Surgery

To fully become prepared for weight loss through bariatric surgery, acquiring the items listed below can play a significant role in one’s success. Every item serves a purpose and can help make behavior modification easier. Choose any brand or manufacturer you prefer, just be sure to have these tools to utilize.

  1. Blender – Make use of the blender most days by preparing protein shakes. Be sure the blender is strong enough to crush ice. (The blender will be useful beyond post-op phase 3 and 4, trust me)
  2. Food Scale – Purchase a food scale that is user friendly. Leave the scale out on the kitchen counter to remind yourself to measure out all portions of foods. A digital glass scale can be helpful when portioning out lean proteins like Chicken, Turkey or Fish. (1 serving lean protein = 4 ounces)
  3. Kitchen Measuring Tools – Purchase kitchen measuring tools that properly measure tablespoons, ounces and cups. With every meal and snack, you will be reaching for these measuring tools. Purchase 2 sets of each, that way a clean set will be ready to use when needed.
  4. Water Bottle – This will be your new best friend. Fill your water bottle up multiple times a day and bring it everywhere. You must be sipping water throughout each day, to prevent dehydration. Water is one of the most important constants in a healthy lifestyle. Having a water bottle handy everywhere you go, will remind you to stay hydrated.
  5. Protein Shake Bottle – Having a protein shake bottle can be a time saver and assist with busy schedules. It is as simple as; pour ingredients into the bottle, shake until dissolved, and go.
  6. Activity/Step Tracker – Whether investing in a Pedometer, Fitbit or a Smart Watch, either one will help monitor your activity. Many of these products can be synced to your personal device like a phone or a tablet. Set it up so that you can check your status throughout the day, to see if you have reached your goals. By diligently tracking activity each day, you can set forth reachable and attainable goals at your own pace.
  7. Download Food Tracker App – Tracking food and diet is a significant way to monitor accountability. It can also provide awareness surrounding nutrition and portion control, two concepts that need to be practiced and honed, for continued weight loss or weight maintenance.

Tips for Maintaining Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery

  • Dieting is a thing of the past. Choosing bariatric surgery, is also choosing a complete lifestyle change. Make nutrition and physical activity a cornerstone, throughout life.
  • Becoming aware and following body cues, will be the center of eating. Over time developing a strong connection with your own body, will enhance confidence encompassing; food, portion control, meal prep and planning and overall healthy choices.
  • Find a hobby, to take the focus off food. Try incorporating a new activity; something to enrich life further. Try taking a new class to increase knowledge to promote your new lifestyle like; a cooking or fitness class, hire a personal trainer, take up hiking, biking, swimming or a fun outdoor activity.
  • Calendar exercise into a routine, eventually it will create a habit. Start by setting reachable goals. Once mastered increase the duration, frequency or intensity.
  • Find a support group or see a psychologist. High stress situations can lead to snacking and overeating. Invest time and effort breaking old habits and cycles that lead to weight gain. Lean on people who support you and want you to be successful. Learning healthy ways to relieve stress can help create a powerful foundation that reinforces behavior modification.
  • Preparation is key. Invest time researching the benefits, process and management after bariatric surgery. It will help provide a realistic approach and outlook on how to prepare for bariatric surgery.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our editorial team strives to present both sides of the argument with in-depth analysis and links to resources.

This article contains scientific and health-related references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.