If you have a BMI of 30 or greater, then it’s reasonable to consider bariatric surgery, especially if other methods of weight loss have failed.
Be sure that the surgeon you choose has experience performing bariatric surgeries and is board certified by the ACS and ASMBS. The surgeon should also be comfortable discussing the risks and complications of your surgery with you, as it is the perfect time to have your individual questions and concerns addressed.
Your work up before surgery will most likely take anywhere from three weeks to three months, depending on your procedure and your current health condition. Pre-surgery tests appropriate for your age and health will be ordered and reviewed by your surgeon to ensure the best possible outcomes after surgery.
This is also a time when behavioral needs can be addressed. It’s the perfect time to look at your own life challenges and set goals to help you succeed after your surgery. Patients state that having bariatric surgery has provided them with a fresh start at life. Realizing that you have to make changes will propel you forward in your journey. Changing the way you think and feel about food and exercise plays a major role in your success.
The tool of bariatric surgery will help you lose your excess body weight, but you are an important part of the functionality of that tool. If you question whether you can make important life changes, don’t let that stop you. Part of the process is to sincerely consider the changes you will need to make in your life.
As you begin to lose weight, you will feel empowered to continue or enhance the process by adding physical activity or even become a patient advocate so that others can benefit from your experience. Things like blogging, documenting your progress or finding a weight loss partner to share with, will add positive accountability aspects to your progress. Successful patients are engaged in their process.
You will begin your process with a nutrition evaluation, which will also highlight making changes in your food selections. You will also have additional nutrition education before and after surgery to help you understand food and the role it plays in your health. Before surgery you will be encouraged to go through your pantry and refrigerator to eliminate foods that are high in calorie, sugar and/or processed.
There is no time like the present to make sure that food items that are a big temptation are no longer there to hinder your progress. This is the time to invest in yourself and to set goals for success! You will learn to properly read nutrition labels and to make wise choices regarding foods that will provide you with good energy and keep your body healthy.
Going to the grocery store can be a little scary after a bariatric procedure, that’s why it’s good to be prepared. Most stores have fresh foods on all the outer exteriors walls of the store. Produce, fresh meat and dairy and that’s where you should do most of your shopping. Sections with foods that are processed, boxed meals and the snack isle should be avoided, especially right after.
This is the time to be really good to your self. Remember it’s a fresh start on a better you, so fresh foods and movement are a part of that too. After experiencing many diets throughout your life, a lot of the things you learn will be things you already know but have not been able to sustain for any length of time. With the help of your bariatric surgery or procedure tool, these pieces will help you long term.