Readiness for Change with Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery alters your body and provides you with a chance to make changes to your lifestyle that will help you control your weight permanently. Understanding the changes that lay ahead during your weight loss journey will help you become better prepared for bariatric surgery.
Weight loss surgery will prompt change in several areas of your life, including:
- Your diet and eating habits
- Your exercise habits
- Your self-esteem and confidence level
- Your health
Prior to having weight loss surgery, you will meet with your weight loss surgeon and talk to several other weight loss professionals about your decision. During these meetings you will review the variety of ways that bariatric surgery may impact your life.
You can prepare for change by adopting certain lifestyle changes:
The dietary changes you’ll be asked to make will depend on the type of weight loss operation you choose. Review the specific guidelines for the post-bariatric diet plan for your particular operation in the guide section on dietary changes.
In addition to changing what you eat, you will be required to change how you eat following bariatric surgery:
- Portion sizes will be greatly reduced.
- You’ll need to plan for regularly scheduled meals and possibly snack throughout the day
- You’ll have to drink water regularly to stay hydrated and only take small sips.
- During your meals, you will be instructed to consume protein first so your body receives the nutrients it needs before your stomach gets full.
To promote your weight loss efforts, you will be required to take part in physical activity every day. At first, this will include mild to moderate exercises like walking, swimming and stretching, but as you lose weight, you can expand your physical activity to include any exercise you are interested in.
There are three primary forms of exercise. Try to include all three in your workout routine:
- Cardiovascular or aerobic activity
- Strength training or muscle building activities
- Flexibility training or stretching
Changes to your Health
Following weight loss surgery, you are at a greater likelihood of overcoming or preventing obesity related diseases.
- Type 2 diabetes is resolved in about 83% of patients
- Obstructive sleep apnea is resolved in up to 98% of patients
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is resolved in up to 98% of patients
- Hypertension or high blood pressure is resolved in up to 76% of patients
- Arthritis is resolved in up to 76% of patients
Shortly after undergoing weight loss surgery, many people are able to completely discontinue taking medications for certain health conditions, especially high blood pressure.
For many people who pursue weight loss surgery, food is more than just sustenance—it is a crutch that helps them cope with negative emotions and stress. Following weight loss surgery, you will need to develop new coping strategies to handle stress and stop turning to former bad habits like emotional eating.
Losing weight can also cause changes to develop in relationships, including those at work, with your friends, family members and even your spouse. This can be a stressful experience, but holding true to your diet and exercise strategy during this time can help you stay on track and improve your health.
Developing a support network of others with similar experiences to yours can help you overcome the psychological stress that often develops during the weight loss process.
Each of these factors should be understood prior to weight loss surgery. These factors are not meant to dissuade anyone from pursuing weight loss surgery, but are reminders of the many changes that losing weight through bariatric surgery can bring.
Seibert, A. (2012, February 5). What to expect after weight loss surgery.