Learning About How to Prepare for Weight-Loss Surgery

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How can you prepare for weight-loss surgery?

Having weight-loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery) is a big step. You can prepare for surgery by having a plan. Your plan may include your goals for losing weight and how to makes changes in your diet, activity, and lifestyle to help raise your chances of success.

One way to prepare for surgery is to think about your goal or reason why you want to reach a healthy weight. Do you want to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar? Do you want to be able to sleep better, play with your kids, or walk around the block? Having a reason can help you stay with your plan and meet your goals.

Your weight-loss surgery team can help you meet your goals and get ready for surgery. You'll work with a team that's trained to help you lose weight and make healthy changes in your life. This team may include:

  • A medical doctor or nurse to help manage your care and schedule tests before surgery.
  • A surgeon who specializes in weight-loss surgery.
  • A registered dietitian to help you plan meals and make changes in the way you eat.
  • An exercise specialist to help you be more active and get stronger.
  • A therapist or counsellor to help you learn why you eat and teach you ways to deal with stress and your emotions.

Your team will also be there to help you prepare for life after surgery. They will help you adjust to new ways of eating and changes to your body.

How will weight-loss surgery affect your life?

You have likely thought a lot about how surgery may affect your life—how you will eat, how your body will look, or how you will feel. Some people feel overwhelmed with these changes. But planning can help you prepare for the changes and meet your weight-loss goals.

One important step in your plan is to learn about the ways surgery will affect your life. These may include:

  • A slimmer you. You probably will lose weight very quickly in the first few months after surgery. As time goes on, your weight loss will slow down. How much weight you lose depends on what type of surgery you had and how well your new eating and activity plans are working for you.
  • A new way of eating. Success in reaching and keeping a healthy weight depends on making lifelong changes in how you eat. After surgery, you raise your chances of success if you:
    • Eat a small amount of food at a time.
    • Eat very slowly and chew your food to mush.
    • Don't drink for 30 minutes before you eat, during your meal, and for 30 minutes after you eat.
    • Are careful about drinking alcohol.
    • Avoid foods that are high in fat or sugar.
    • Avoid carbonated beverages.
    • Take vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • A healthier you. Weight-loss surgery can have some real health benefits. Problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea may go away—or at least become easier to manage.
  • A more active you. After surgery, being active on most days of the week will help you reach your weight goal and avoid gaining back the weight you lose.
  • A lot of extra skin. When you lose weight quickly, you may have a lot of extra skin. That's normal. You can have surgery to remove the extra skin if it bothers you.

There are going to be some ups and downs while you get used to these changes. So another way to adjust is to identify who can help support you. Getting support from friends and family can help. And joining a support group for people who have had the surgery can be a big help too, because they know what you're going through.

As you know, it's a big decision to have weight-loss surgery. But when you have a plan, you can focus on losing weight and living a healthier life. So what steps can you take to prepare for weight-loss surgery? Will you set some goals? Will you learn about how surgery can affect your life? How about asking family or friends for help? Write out your plan. Then get ready.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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