By Vincenza Garcia, RD, CDN
Taking a physical exam before bariatric surgery ensures your body is healthy enough to withstand the procedure. But according to bariatric practitioners, emotional health is just as important for bariatric patients. It is important to be mentally prepared for the surgery and at TriState Bariatrics, we recommend the following tips for getting ready:
Set realistic goals
Whereas we would all want to lose weight overnight, this is never the case. Since your body accumulates fluid after bariatric surgery, you might actually wake up a bit swollen and weighing more. Do not let this dishearten you. Instead, focus on the fact that your weight loss surgery is your first tool to help you lose weight.
Another thing you should prepare for is the weight loss plateau. You might lose most of your excess weight during the first 6 months. But after that, weight loss will slow down considerably and it may take a year before you achieve your ideal weight loss goal.
Losing weight takes time and effort. Therefore, go into surgery with this realistic expectation in order to avoid disappointments and stay focused.
Surround yourself with a support network
Do you have a support system such as friends, family members or other patients to help you through your weight loss journey? If you don’t, put that on your must-have list before you have surgery.
Most aspects of the weight loss journey can be difficult. If you do it alone, you are likely to lose track on days when things are hard. A support system will keep you focused and get you through difficult times. You can learn more about support groups in this post.
Deal with your food addiction
If you use food to deal with emotional stress, bariatric surgery will not solve this problem. Emotional eating and food addiction will interfere with your weight loss journey because you will be unable to make heathy food choices. some of the ways you can overcome this is by:
- Finding something else to replace eating,
- Looking for factors that motivate you to want to lose weight. For example, an illness that is caused by your weight,
- Joining a support group with people who have dealt with the same problem,
More so, dealing with food addiction is important because:
- After surgery, your food intake will be considerably less. Read this article to read more about portion control.
- You have to eat every meal slowly
- Junk food will not be an option. Your meal plans will only include healthy alternatives.
Deal with your mental attitude
A positive mental attitude is important for a successful weight loss journey. If you are dealing with challenges such as depression, you will lack the emotional energy to stay on track. This will be even worse if you also battling food addiction.
Resolve these issues with your counselor before you go for surgery.
Fight alcohol and tobacco addiction
If you are addicted to tobacco and alcohol, resolve these addictions before weight loss surgery because:
- Alcohol has a high calorie count.
- You are less inhibited while drunk, making you more likely to eat more.
- Alcohol will be more intoxicating once you have a smaller stomach. If you haven’t adjusted this expectation, consuming your normal quantities might be dangerous for your health and driving safety.
- Tobacco increases the likelihood of complications during surgery
- If you smoke after surgery, you are likely to develop ulcers or stomach irritation.
There are many benefits of sustained weight loss, some of which include:
- Improved cardiovascular health,
- Relief from sleep apnea,
- Improved fertility and
- Remission of type 2 diabetes.
Bariatric surgery is the first step in your journey to a healthier you. But for the journey to succeed, you need to adapt your lifestyle to suit your new smaller stomach.