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How did you prepare for life after surgery?



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Hello!

How did you prepare for life after surgery?

Do you meal prep?

What were your workouts like before surgery and what are they like after?

Do you do a combination of strength and cardio or do you focus on one?

I’m trying to find my footing and I’m curious what your experiences have been.

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Yes - I meal prepped post op and still do along with measuring/weighing. I have a ton of 1/2 cup (4 oz.) containers.

Water aerobics (combo of cardio & strength) 3 to 4 days/week after surgery once cleared by surgeon.

I used a treadmill before surgery but got bored so I tried water aerobics after and love it.

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On 01/21/2021 at 14:41, km13118 said:



Yes - I meal prepped post op and still do along with measuring/weighing. I have a ton of 1/2 cup (4 oz.) containers.




Water aerobics (combo of cardio & strength) 3 to 4 days/week after surgery once cleared by surgeon.




I used a treadmill before surgery but got bored so I tried Water aerobics after and love it.


Thank you for replying! I currently get walks in. I bought an elliptical to switch it up when I get bored. I also have a home gym to help with strength training. It is winter in Minnesota in the middle of a pandemic so I’m trying to bring variety.

My endocrinologist said I have to work out harder and differently since my obesity is medically complex. That kind of makes me uneasy.

How much did you workout before surgery?

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also interested in seeing the answers here, I want to hear first-hand experiences before I decide to do the surgery

Edited by Numbheart

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Well...

For me the preparation was mostly mental, in the sense that I had to wrap my head around the idea that I would be eating differently for the rest of my life. I learned to just take it one day at a time and not get overwhelmed by what "might" happen a month--or even a week--down the road. That helped me get through the liquid, puree and soft food phases.

I'm not much of a cook, so my meals in the first few months were simple and very repetitive. To be honest, I wasn't really hungry and was just looking for ways to get the necessary Protein as easily as possible.

As for exercise: I did essentially none (except walking) during the weight loss phase, and I still don't. I followed my doctor's food plan as closely as possible, and my weight came off fairly easily. I do acknowledge that exercise is beneficial for strength and overall fitness, but I don't think it's a critical component of weight loss.

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On 01/21/2021 at 17:43, Recidivist said:



Well...




For me the preparation was mostly mental, in the sense that I had to wrap my head around the idea that I would be eating differently for the rest of my life. I learned to just take it one day at a time and not get overwhelmed by what "might" happen a month--or even a week--down the road. That helped me get through the liquid, puree and soft food phases.




I'm not much of a cook, so my meals in the first few months were simple and very repetitive. To be honest, I wasn't really hungry and was just looking for ways to get the necessary Protein as easily as possible.




As for exercise: I did essentially none (except walking) during the weight loss phase, and I still don't. I followed my doctor's food plan as closely as possible, and my weight came off fairly easily. I do acknowledge that exercise is beneficial for strength and overall fitness, but I don't think it's a critical component of weight loss.


Thanks for sharing your experience. I enjoy cooking and I meal prep somewhat now. I know I will struggle with the various phases: liquid, puréed, and soft food. As I mentioned earlier, my endocrinologist advised me that I really have to workout so I was curious what others’ workouts look like then and now.

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I’m with @Recidivist. My diet was pretty repetitive, still is to be honest. Some of that was because I would freeze a lot of single serves of what I cooked. Still do - have multi serves of Soup, bolognese, slices of corned beef, roast lamb, chicken tenders, steak, all cooked, in my freezer at the moment. (I love zip lock bags.) I found it meant I wasn’t focussed as much on food if all I had to do was have a lucky dip out of my freezer for a meal, pop it in the microwave & prep vegetables.

I also don’t exercise. I know shocking! I walked on my treadmill for the first few months but gave up because of very low energy. Then I was using resistance bands. I agree exercise has its benefits but it contributes very little to actual weight loss - only about 20% of your actual weight loss apparently. I lost plenty without it but that’s been my experience. I have stairs in my house & I literally run up & down them a few times a day doing chores so I’m not totally sedentary - lol. And I do a few minutes of stretching each day. Honestly I find exercising tedious. I’ve never felt that high people say you get from exercising which motivates them.

Good luck with your surgery.

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I prepared in basically the same way as I prepared for life without surgery, as our long term post op lifestyle should be a basic healthy diet with moderate or more activity.

I started when my wife was leading up to her WLS (and was intending to get mine shortly thereafter) and we had to do the semi-typical 6 month insurance diet and exercise program to qualify. Our intent was to move our diet toward what it should be five or ten years on - basically what an RD will usually direct you for a healthy life -leaner meats, more fruits and veg (preferably fresh), whole grains in preference to refined white flour products, minimize the sugars and cut down/out the junky foods (high calorie/low nutrition stuff, whether those calories come from carbohydrates or fats.) We shifted the diet over to the extent that we could - it wasn't perfect, but it was sustainable, which is a key factor - this is your forever diet (though it can, and should, evolve.)

It turned out the I lost about a third of my excess weight in those six months or so, and questioned the need to go with the surgery, at least at that time (my wife went ahead with it as she was much more in need of it) so I just continued, making tweaks to the diet to get it closer to a tolerated ideal. I lost a bit more here and there but maintained that original loss over several years before deciding to go ahead with the surgery to finish the job (the VSG had become accepted and insurable in that interim time, which it wasn't at the beginning - the DS that I was considering originally would have been overkill after my life changes.

Over that same time, we joined the Y to get more active (it stuck with my a lot better than with her!) and I took up swimming again, which I had done before in younger days, and started playing with some weight training which became part of my routine - you need to find something that you will continue to do long term. fifteen years later, and I am still at it (though COVID has gotten in the way this past year, so things evolved again.)

When I had the VSG done, I made relatively few changes to accommodate the transition. Protein is a bigger emphasis during that phase when you can't eat much, but I always still made an homage to my fundamentally healthy, balanced diet in the non-protein side of the diet, and the exercise was cut back during the healing phase, but ramped back up again, and beyond, as the weight came off.

The net result is that my diet and lifestyle is little different than it was before, and this is an important factor as on of the most difficult things for those who follow the fad diets to "help" their WLS is the same thing as those who follow fad diets without surgery- the transition to "normal" once they're done dieting, as they never learned how to eat sustainably before.

Even before COVID, I did not work as hard at the gym as I had earlier on, as we had gotten back into dogs, and with two pointers that need their daily exercise (they run, I hike) that has taken over some of my prior gym time - so things have evolved, but the activity is still there. I used to average an hour or so at the gym, alternating days in the pool and in the weight room, and with the dogs, it's more like a half hour, or sometimes it's entirely dog time if we do a longer hike in the morning.

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Most of my preparations for life after surgery were about the pre-surgery diet and the first couple of months post-op (liquids, purees, and soft foods). For the pre-surgery diet and post-op liquid diet, I purchased a bunch of samples of Protein powders (different flavors and brands) because I never used protein powders before and wasn't sure what I would like. I also got ready-to-drink Protein Shakes, protein Water, Bone Broth, protein Soup mixes, unflavored Protein Powder, sugar-free popsicles, and sugar-free Jello.

For the pureed stage, I bought unsweetened applesauce, sugar-free pudding, protein oatmeal, fat free refried Beans, Laughing Cow cheese, and yogurt. I made some pureed black bean soup and froze it in individual portions. I bought way too much food for the pureed stage because it was only a week (actually, I stuck to purees for an extra couple of weeks before I worked up the nerve to move on to soft foods) and I was only eating a couple of ounces at a time (half of an individual pudding or applesauce). I still have quite a bit of this stuff 6 months later!

I don't really do a lot of hardcore "meal prep," but since I live alone and eat tiny portions, any time I cook a regular-sized recipe, it is a lot of portions, so I freeze it in individual servings. I made a turkey meat sauce recipe the other day (https://www.panningtheglobe.com/quick-turkey-ragu/) that came out to 28 portions, which I froze in disposable 2-ounce cups. I also have a lot of 4-ounce glass containers that I use to freeze individual portions.

I didn't really work out before surgery. I started after surgery, doing Leslie Sansone Walk at Home videos (available on YouTube). I started with 15-minute videos and worked my way up to 30-50 minutes per day. I try to get at least 10,000 steps per day. I do strength training with resistance bands 2-3 times per week. I also use 3-pound weights when I do the walk at home videos.

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In terms of prepping, I basically looked at my 4 weeks of liquid/puréed/soft solids/soft solids II and shopped once a week for each phase. It went by super fast.

Now that I'm back to work, I go with a more general plan:

  • I have a standard shopping list with my online grocery store with my basics (chicken, veggies, Icelandic skyr, coffee etc.)
  • I have WLS friendly Snacks in my cupboards and in my desk at work, just to make sure.
  • I have Protein supplements aplenty

I've never been a big breakfast guy, so I've found a pre-mixed Protein Shake that I like, which is now my Breakfast. I stock up when it's on sale.

Lunch at work is about making the right choices. There's always some kind of lean meat and good salads.

Dinner is what I feel like. I just have to have options in the fridge/freezer. We're talking anything from protein crackers with low fat cheese (the boring days), to soft whole-grain taco shells with lean meats, low-fat dressing and fresh veggies (less boring!)

As for exercise, I did do a longer walk once or twice a week pre-surgery. I'm getting in 30-60 minutes of brisk walking a day now, and I can't wait to more intensive aerobic exercise (in about 20-30 lbs) like squash, tennis etc. I plan on adding strength training at the gym when they re-open in a month or two, but I'm honestly not sure about this yet.

I think the best thing is I really want to exercise. I can't tell you where this comes from, as I've been on diets a million times before, none of which elicited the same kind of 'hey, let's go for a walk!' response as the post op life is.

The biggest change from any ol' diet is that it's, obviously, far easier to stick to. Like really easy. Yet it's also that I really do want to exercise, and I think the whole 'set point' idea is the difference: my body wants to be active and lose weight. Which is the major difference from before, I think.

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Yes I meal prepped and I kept drinking 1 Protein replacement l l put I have never measured or weighed my food I just prepared 6 small small meals the first 6 months one of the meals were a Protein Drink and lots of Water now I still do the same 17 years post

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