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How to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

You’re ready to take the first step toward a healthier life with bariatric surgery, but what comes next? The weight loss experts at Alabama Surgical Associates in Huntsville are here to guide you through every step of this journey. There are several things you can do to increase your chances of weight loss success and make a smooth transition to life after weight loss surgery.

Take The First Step

A consultation appointment with a bariatric surgeon is the first action step in the bariatric surgery process. Choose an experienced weight loss surgeon who is board-certified and will discuss your health and medical history to determine if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery. If you feel nervous about scheduling your appointment, consider attending a bariatric surgery seminar. At Alabama Surgical Associates, we offer these free seminars to give patients an overview of the bariatric surgery process, answer frequently asked questions, and give you a chance to get to know Dr. Doucette.

Feel Confident About Your Choice

Most patients who choose bariatric surgery have already spent years being disappointed by diets and weight loss programs, and they may mistakenly blame themselves for “failing” at weight loss. The fact is that diet and exercise alone rarely produce successful long-term results. Bariatric surgery, such as gastric sleeve, has been clinically proven to help patients lose an average of 66% of excess body weight.1 Bariatric surgery is not the easy way out, but it is a powerful tool to help patients jumpstart a lifetime of healthier habits. Going into your procedure with a positive attitude and pride in your choice can help you along your journey.

Confirm Your Health Insurance or Self-Pay Plan

When you fill out a free health insurance check form, our team will help determine if you have insurance coverage for bariatric surgery. Some insurance plans require a mandatory waiting period or a physician-supervised diet prior to surgery. We will help guide you through all the insurance requirements. If you are having surgery without insurance, we have special pricing packages and financing options available for self-pay patients.

Start Your Lifestyle Changes as Soon as Possible

Some bariatric surgery patients are tempted to “live it up” before surgery and indulge in the habits that contributed to their initial weight gain, but this approach can backfire and make it more difficult to adjust to your new life after surgery. Try to incorporate as many of these habits as possible BEFORE your weight loss surgery:

  • Stop drinking alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid processed snacks, fried foods, desserts, and soda.
  • Build meals around fresh vegetables and lean proteins.
  • Carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Start a low-impact exercise routine, such as daily walks, or bolster your existing exercise routine with weight training.
  • If you currently eat out of boredom or to cope with emotions, try to build better-coping techniques now.

The team at Alabama Surgical Associates is here to support our patients in making a successful transition to a healthy lifestyle. Our doctor and dietitians can provide you with guidance and tips to make the changes that are right for you.

Have a Support System in Place

A strong support system can be an important factor in weight loss success. Before your procedure, talk to your family about how your diet and habits will change after surgery and encourage them to join you in committing to healthier meals. Ask your friends to be your workout buddies or keep them involved in your healthy lifestyle by planning activities that aren’t focused on food or drinking. If you want to connect with people who are on a similar journey, seek out bariatric surgery support groups in your area.

Manage Your Expectations

Talk to your surgeon about what you can expect after surgery so you have a realistic expectation of life after weight loss. Patients typically lose most of the weight in the first 6 months to 1 year after surgery, after which point many patients hit a plateau or experience a much slower rate of weight loss. Bariatric surgery does not result in instant weight loss and patients should be committed to lifelong lifestyle changes.

Understand the Importance of Your Pre-Surgery Diet

As your surgery date approaches, it is critical to follow all instructions from your bariatric team. You will be given a pre-surgery diet to follow. This low-sugar diet is intended to shrink your liver before surgery to make your procedure safer. It is critical that you adhere to the liver shrinking diet and any other pre-surgical instructions. See our step-by-step guide to get a sense of the typical bariatric surgery timeline.

Take “Before” Photos

Many people who live with obesity avoid the camera, and therefore they don’t have many photos of themselves. Before your surgery, be sure to get some full-body photos of yourself even if you worry that they will be unflattering. Those photos can be very motivating when you are further along on your weight loss journey and it can feel good to see your progress.

Jennie's Weight Loss Transformation

Contact Alabama Surgical Associates

The team at Alabama Surgical Associates has helped many patients from the Huntsville area, as well as patients who travel here for our personalized service. We are dedicated to helping you live the life you want. If you have any questions about bariatric surgery or non-surgical weight loss procedures, we’re happy to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment.

1 Journal of Minimal Access Surgery. 2016 Jul-Sep; 12(3): 220–225