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Pre-Op Weight Loss Surgery Prep: Some Heavy Stuff

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Once you choose your surgeon, you should be confident that you’re in good hands. Still, your surgeon is only partly responsible for your weight loss surgery success. YOU have the greatest share of responsibility. Here’s what you can do before surgery to make surgery safer, make recovery easier, and lose weight faster – and it’s not just sitting back and waiting for your surgery date to arrive!

Pre-Op Diet

The pre-op diet has a few purposes. The critical one is to shrink your liver so it’s not blocking your surgeon’s view of your insides during surgery. That makes your operation easier and safer.

The pre-op diet also helps you lose weight. That may be surprising since you’re expecting to start your weight loss after surgery, but it’s actually a good idea to start losing weight beforehand. In fact, the more you lose before surgery, the safer surgery will be, and the better you’ll feel afterwards.

Different surgeons suggest different pre-op diets. The diet has about 1,000 calories. It could depend on lean Proteins and other nutrient-rich foods, or it could be a liquid diet with Protein Shakes. Or, it could be a combination of the two, with each day including two Protein shakes as Meal Replacements plus one meal with vegetables and protein.

The pre-op diet can last from a few days to several weeks or even months. In general, the longer you’re on it, the better. You’ll lose more weight, shrink your liver more, and gain confidence that you’ll be able to continue a strict eating program long-term after surgery.

Get in Shape

Why exercise before surgery? One reason is that, like with a good diet, it can make surgery safer. In this case, it’s because exercising can strengthen your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Of course, exercise also burns calories and can help you lose a little extra weight before surgery.

Another reason to get in shape before surgery is because it will make recovery easier. Many weight loss surgery patients find that walking around the house and then the neighborhood is their best tool for fighting post-op pain. If you’re used to being active before surgery, you’ll have an easier time walking after surgery.

You don’t need to go crazy on your pre-op exercise regimen. If you’re not used to exercising, start small. As long as your doctor approves you to be active, just find a few minutes each day to walk at a comfortable pace.

Clean and Stock the Kitchen

Fact: you can’t eat food that’s not there.

So, clean out your kitchen. Get rid of sugary Desserts, starchy Snacks, and fatty meats and cheeses. Anything you know you shouldn’t be eating shouldn’t be in your kitchen. Get rid of it before surgery because for weeks after surgery, you won’t be physically able to carry out heavy trash bags filled with forbidden foods.

Once your kitchen is cleaned out, stock it up! At least get the protein shakes and powders you’ll need for weeks or more after surgery. Consider getting some flavored water in case you’re unable to tolerate Water post-op. You can also stock up on non-perishable staples, such as canned chicken and tuna, frozen fruit and vegetables, and instant oatmeal packets.

Take Your Nutritional Supplements

You know you’ll be taking nutritional supplements post-op. If you have the sleeve or bypass, you’ll be taking them for life. With the band, you’ll need supplements for months, years, or life. Did you know you shouldn’t wait until after surgery to start taking your supplements?

At a minimum, take a Multivitamin beginning when you start your pre-op diet. Even if you’re eating a balanced diet, the supplement helps make sure your body has the nutrients it needs to heal your surgery wound. Also, it’s an insurance policy so that if you have trouble eating and swallowing supplements for a few weeks after surgery, your body will still have a good store of nutrients in reserve.

Practice Your Healthy Eating Habits

Consider the pre-op period practice for the post-op diet. That includes eating slowly, measuring portions, and choosing nutrient-dense instead of processed, high-calorie foods. Also consider making exercise a habit now, so it’s easier to get back to it after surgery.

You cannot guarantee an easy surgery, but you can certainly do a few things to improve your chances. Use these tips to take control of your pre-op prep as soon as you’re ready to lose weight and get healthy!

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Good info

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Great article Alex. I am currently on Day 5 of my Pre-Op diet and all of this information has been very helpful!

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