Easing into Change before Weight Loss Surgery

Easing into Change before Weight Loss SurgeryWhile most candidates for weight loss surgery accept that there will be many changes to be made after their bariatric surgery, few recognize that beginning those changes before surgery will greatly assist in the transition to their new life.  By starting the transition process right now, you can gradually make adjustments in your diet, exercise and way of thinking that will make any radical adjustments because of your surgery unnecessary.

Lifestyle Changes and Weight Loss Surgery

Your lifestyle refers to your daily habits. The activities you choose to engage in and your overarching attitude. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates healthier eating strategies is different from going on a weight loss diet. Most diets are looked at as temporary, but the changes you make in your life after weight loss surgery are permanent.

Making behavioral changes and developing healthier habits will help you create a healthier way of life for yourself, which encourages long-term weight loss success. Prior to your weight loss surgery date, try incorporating as many of these changes as possible into your lifestyle.

Behaviors and Dietary Habits

In addition to changing the foods you eat by making healthier choices, it will help you to make changes to the way you think about and interact with food. You can start working on this long before your surgical date so that you are mentally prepared for the dietary changes that come after weight loss surgery.

Make changes to your dietary habits by:

  • Keeping a food journal
  • Being more deliberate in your food choices and eliminating mindless eating or snacking
  • Paying more attention to how you feel before and after a meal
  • Recognizing your hunger cues
  • Addressing weaknesses such as social eating or snacking while bored

Behaviors and Exercise Habits

Exercise doesn’t always happen at the gym. How often you move around is much more connected to your behavioral habits than your fitness routine. While planning to exercise for 30 minutes a day is great, you can incorporate more activity into your life by making changes in your behavioral habits.

This may include things like:

  • Try walking and standing more than you sit
  • Move around while you are watching TV
  • Bring your family to the park instead of going to watch a movie
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Develop a new hobby that will keep you active, such as gardening or golfing

Many people take activity shortcuts without thinking about it by sitting down as often as they can, or taking the bus or driving to a destination instead of walking. Small changes like those listed above can be a big boost to your exercise habits without always feeling like exercise.

Other Behavioral Habits

There are other healthy habits you can develop to keep yourself alert and mentally ready to focus on your health and weight loss goals.

These include:

  • Sleeping approximately eight hours every night
  • Practicing good stress-management techniques
  • Staying properly hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day

One of the best ways to encourage healthy behaviors is to plan ahead. Just as you are planning ahead for weight loss surgery by making changes in your behavior now, you can plan ahead day by day to stick to your healthier lifestyle.

Start with quick healthy meals that don’t keep you in the kitchen for long periods of time. Keep resistance bands and hand weights in your home so you can get used to using them in spare moments – even while sitting and watching television.

Planning ahead and starting early are keys to success when it comes to preparing for your weight loss surgery.


Barclay, L, M.D. (2012, July 15). Moderately intense exercise improves fitness in most bariatric patients.

Ratini, M, DO, (2012, May 29) MS. Preparing for weight loss surgery.

Barclay, L, M.D. (2008, October 17). Weight loss before bariatric surgery improves outcomes in high-risk patients.