As a nurse practitioner here at Tri-State, I see many patients in the various stages of their weight loss journey. One of the most challenging, yet exciting times is the pre-operative stage. So much to do…appointments to make, checklists to review, doctors to see, groups to attend, AND lose weight???
Obviously, the pre-op time can be very challenging. It is our goal at Tri-State to not only help you get through this daunting time, but to help you truly understand how bariatric surgery works, as well as the lifestyle changes that you will need to make in order to achieve all of your weight loss goals.
I tend to think of the pre-op time as practice before the big game. We all know by now, bariatric surgery is a tool, it’s what you do with it that defines how successful you will be. Below are some helpful suggestions that will get you going and keep you on a successful path prior to (as well as after) bariatric surgery.
- Stay organized-At your first visit, you will receive a plethora of checklists, handouts, and educational materials. These materials are wonderful resources and should be kept handy. You will find yourself referring to them many times as your are learning to adapt to your new lifestyle.
- Utilize the staff-You will meet one-on-one with a registered dietitian, nurse practitioner, and surgeon throughout your pre-op period. Use this time to discuss your meals, snacks, protein shakes. Learn how to read food labels. Pay close attention as your dietitian reviews your new way of eating. SLOW is the name of the game. Practice at home until it becomes habit. Ask questions. We realize that this can be a confusing time. We welcome all inquires.
- Support Groups-We offer many support groups at all of our locations. Studies show that people who get support tend to be more successful in meeting their goals. Sometimes the best support can come from someone who is facing the same challenges.
- Physical Activity-the health benefits that are gained from exercise are numerous. Not only will physical activity help you with weight loss, it will improve your mood, give you energy, and help you sleep better at night.
- Learn to differentiate physical hunger from mental hunger- People eat for so many reasons. Aside from hunger, people eat when they are bored, sad, happy, frustrated, and so on. Before you eat, take a moment and ask yourself, “Am I physically hungry”? If the answer is “no”, try and figure out what you are feeling, and think of other activities in which you can engage in order to meet your need. For example, if you are feeling stressed, try going for a walk to clear your head.
- Set goals-set attainable goals and keep track of your progress by journaling.
We realize that the pre-operative period can be very overwhelming, but we are here to support you in any way possible. We are your team and we look forward to helping you through all phases of your weight loss journey.