Bariatric surgery is a life changing decision that takes many people years to make.
It is the most effective way to lose weight long-term and will drastically change your life physically, mentally, and emotionally. In order to prepare for the changes you will face along your journey, there are many essential steps you can take. Knowing that your commitment begins well before surgery will help you be that much more successful!
With the help of our past patients we gathered 10 ways you can start preparing for weight loss surgery in Kansas City today:
1. Research: Visit our website, read books and articles, come to our support group meetings, join our closed support group on Facebook and ask questions to our past patients. Our community of patients online can help answer questions you may have and they will give you real, honest, experienced feedback.
- Talked with others that had the surgery, asked about their ups and downs. -Jessica
- Tried to find WLS patients and their success stories on social media. – Nicole
- I also watched a ton of youtube videos from patients on what their experience was like (warning: this can be good and bad). – Kristen **be careful as not all information is valid
- I attended the support group meetings prior to surgery and it helped me SO much. – Amanda
- Research went to several seminars on the subject and picked bariatric center because they had the best presentation and all the surgeons were there my first night visiting I was so impressed with them. – Rexanna
- I join the Facebook group and asked questions to patients that already had surgery. That was really helpful. – Karla
- I looked up stories of others that have had the surgery and saw their before and afters. – Shawn
- The monthly group support classes at the Bariatric Center help. – Peggy
- I researched it and talked to my physician about it…. Was given 3 recommendations and checked them all out…. Attended seminar and just confirmed KC Bariatrics was the place to go -Don
2. Make Changes to your Diet: Try to minimize snacking and focus on getting three protein centered meals throughout the day. You can also reduce or eliminate high carbohydrate foods, fast foods, carbonation, caffeine, and sugar.
- I ate clean and lean, cut out processed sugars, soda and coffee. -Chane
- I immediately changed my eating habits so I could be strong for the recovery. -Jessica
- We started eating (mostly) like we would afterward, cutting way down on carbs, eating protein first. I made sure we had plenty of protein shakes, Jell-O, sugar free Popsicles and Bomb Pops, broth, and other phase-appropriate foods so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting them later. – Roger
- I focused on getting in enough protein. -Lisa
- Cleaned out my kitchen! – Stephanie
- I stopped sugar the year before and stopped eating a lot of carbs. – Rexanna
3. Understand your Insurance Policy: While we are in network with most major insurance plans, not all insurance plans cover weight loss surgery and the pre- and post-operative clinic visits. Insurance companies can have requirements for BMI, comorbities associated with weight, completion of a supervised diet, and more.
- Calling my insurance really cleared things up for me. I felt more informed about the costs and, more importantly, why I was paying certain costs. -Megan
- I called my insurance because I wanted to know more about the BMI requirements. – Dan
4. If you smoke or use tobacco/nicotine products, quit: Smoking and the use of tobacco and nicotine products affects how the body handles surgery. It has also been proven to dramatically increase the risk of complications during and after bariatric surgery. Additionally, smoking makes it harder for your body to heal after surgery because it decreases the amount of oxygen available to your cells.
- When I found out that smoking can increase my chance of a complication I quit right away, it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I am so glad I did. -James
5. Begin tracking your food and water: Keeping a record of your food and water intake can be very eye opening and give you a better understanding of your current eating habits. This will hold you accountable and help you reach your goals. There are many phone apps out there that can help you do this.
- I already downloaded the Baritastic app (love that app!) and started tracking my food. – Nicole
6. Drink more water: This is something many patients struggle with after surgery. Focus on trying to drink 64 ounces of water every day and make sure you aren’t drinking empty calories. Limit high calorie beverages, alcohol, juice, and energy drinks. Eliminate caffeinated and carbonated beverages. Stop drinking liquids with your meals and wait 30 minutes after a meal before drinking.
- I bought an insulated water bottle to keep my water nice and cold and made sure it was big enough too. I don’t like warm water and knew if I had to refill it a lot I would struggle with drinking my daily intake. – Eli
- I was not a regular water drinker prior to surgery, so I really tried to drink 64 ounces of water everyday before dinner. – Sam
- I cut out all soda and sugar and cut back on caffeine. – Stephanie
7. Find an exercise plan that works for you: If you don’t currently exercise, start small and create a workout routine that works with your level of fitness and physical ability. You can take a walk, walk up and down your stairs at home, do chair exercises, do arm workouts while watching tv, etc. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy doing and stay consistent.
- I went on a walk every day and worked my way up to 3 miles. -Chase
- I took walks with my dog 5 days a week. – David
- I started going to the gym every day to get into the habit. – Becky
8. Commit to not gaining additional weight: Some of our past patients have expressed that they overate before their surgery. They knew they were getting the weight loss surgery but didn’t try to lose or maintain before their operation. Try to avoid binge eating and eating bad unhealthy foods “for the last time.”
- Learn from my mistake – I overate in the months prior to my surgery because my insurance didn’t require any supervised dieting. I now know how unhealthy that was and wish I would have started my healthy eating habits before my surgery. – Carris
9. Change your relationship with food: Learn to stop eating your feelings, do not think of food as a reward or a punishment. Think of eating as fuel for your body. Our body needs nutritious wholesome food in order to have enough energy to do day-to-day tasks. Make sure to eat mindfully and focus on eating slowly and chewing your food.
- I sat down with the foods and had put me in the poor condition I was in and told them it was time to say goodbye. I made a small ceremony of it. It had to be official. I also made a point to make my kitchen more accommodating for healthier eating (got rid of large dishes and made a permanent spot for my new scale). I cleaned out my entire food supply and stocked it with things that are within the new dietary guidelines. – Eli
- I started to ask myself “why?”. Why am I eating this to feel better? Why do I eat desserts when I am sad? Why am I not eating food that is fueling my body? -Cynthia
- I had the 6 mo insurance approval time , so I implemented almost all my post OP rules (lifestyle) preop. I lost 50# prior to surgery! I also replaced 1hr of TV time with walking. – Wendy
10. Focus on your mental and emotional health: Make sure you are emotionally and mentally ready to make this change in your life. Ask yourself why you want to have weight loss surgery or what factors have contributed to your weight? You may also want to create a support system for yourself that will help you make positive healthy decisions. Find new hobbies that you enjoy that don’t involve food – check out this blog: “Fork Free Hobbies“. Set some goals for yourself and remember – small steps lead to big victories!
- I also limited myself from negative people I knew against having surgery. While I appreciated all feedback in the end I’m the only one walking in my shoes not them. – Chane
- Found support in (close) family members and friends that I knew who would understand why I needed to take the journey. PRAYED, A LOT, for strength and understanding. – Jessica
- Mentally visualized my goals and wrote down why I was doing this. – Amanda
- Saw an eating disorders therapist, practiced chewing a lot and following the drinking around meals rules. – Deena
- Therapy! I saw Dr. Coker like 4 times and then I saw a therapist from February- November of 2018. Surgery was in July 2018. It helped me manage my emotions before and after.
- It really came down to wiping out everything I knew that caused this weight issue and taking in new habits that made my new lifestyle easy to maintain. -Eli
- I shared with friends and family my plan for Bariatric surgery. That gave me extra support and accountability. – Stephanie
If you are ready to take the next step toward the future you click here to sign up for our free informational weight loss seminar! If you would like to speak to someone about our program please call 913-676-8492 and Katie will be able to answer any questions you may have.