This week I have been pleased and heartened to see so many messages that report that funding has been approved; dates have been set; and decisions have been made for weight-loss or bariatric surgery. For many this has been a long wait (funding is a long process), for others it has been the culmination of a long decision process to make the investment in themselves for a better future. I wish each and every one of them great success!
For this reason I have compiled 5 brief goals to try and set yourself before surgery – the same 5 that helped me almost 5 years ago before I embarked on my gastric bypass journey. I hope they will help others who are considering making this very important decision …
Bariatric surgery could well be the best decision you ever make when it comes to your on-going health. It will undoubtedly also be one of the hardest because it involves major changes with your lifestyle if it is to be a success.
Making the decision also means making the commitment to a huge adjustment otherwise results will be compromised. To prepare yourself for such dramatic changes in lifestyle there are perhaps 5 goals that you should set for yourself before the surgery itself. Once you are satisfied with your commitment to these goals then you should feel more confident about your decision and its outcome.
- Keep a diary. If you can measure it then you can manage it. So make notes of your food choices, exercise routines, body measurements and even feelings. Try to be specific and also truthful. It’s good to look back at this so that you can see the progress you make as well as when and why you err so that you can make changes. Doing this before your surgery helps to put things in focus and check the things that need to change so that you have time to find and develop some solutions.
- Make changes to your diet. Start now by making protein your priority and making selections that are low in fat and low in sugar. Try to cut down on your regular portion size so that you are used to seeing a much smaller amount on your plate. Also don’t drink during meals and practise chewing your food much more than you have in the past. Start to look at food labels and arm yourself with more information for making wise choices after your surgery. When your op date gets nearer consider putting some meals away in the freezer for when you come home to lessen the load when you might not feel like cooking. Check out recipe websites and support group forums before your surgery for on-going help and support and possible friendship with those embarking on the same journey.
- Get physical and start to move more now. Even if it’s just a gentle stroll around the block, a leisurely splash in the pool or a dance around the kitchen, get moving so that it doesn’t come as a shock later. A fitter body is also one that is easier to operate on and recovers faster so you will reap the benefits.
- Consider the timing of your op. There really are good, bad and better times to schedule your surgery. Just before Christmas, a special holiday or when work is very demanding and at a peak might not be the best time. Consider too recuperation times and build them into your schedule with family and friends. Check out at work when would be the best time if this might be problematic – it’s better to have everyone on side if at all possible. If you have children also consider extra childcare help for the early days when home as well as when in hospital.
- Plan and create a new manageable routine. Shopping, eating out, socialising, exercising and working activities are bound to change with this new lifestyle choice. Take a sensible look at what changes you can make now so that you can implement them easily later. For example, if your plan is to go to the gym 3 times a week after your op then try it out now and see if its manageable. If shopping is a chore now it will most likely be later when there is an increased need to shop more frequently for fresh foods rather than ready-made, so why not check out delivery services or on-line shopping services before your op so that you are happy with them afterwards. Checking these things out before surgery makes sense and if you can make them part of your everyday routine prior to surgery then you are setting yourself up for success further down the road after your op.