The answer to this question is infinite. Mentally preparing yourself for weight loss surgery requires more than a quick fix answer. Many people like myself have felt confident leading up to the long-awaited date, armed with thoroughly researched knowledge but suddenly felt overwhelmed right after. Mentally preparing for weight loss surgery is truly a personal journey. Experts recommend keeping open lines of communication with your team of medical professionals, preparing a plan with a dietician, and joining a support group. While those recommendations are viable, it’s necessary to remember things don’t always go according to plan.
Along my journey to weight loss surgery, my preparation looked slightly different. I decided to tackle my bad eating habits by swapping out unhealthy items for healthier alternatives like trading in rice for quinoa and white bread to sprouted bread. These changes ultimately empowered me after surgery, I had already begun to change the way I viewed foods prior to surgery making post surgery adjustments a breeze.
A few other adjustments I made:
- Eliminating caffeinated drinks - Switching to decaf made me miserable for the first week but then I got used to it. Dress up your decaf with sugar-free flavors and low-fat creamers.
- Eliminate white sugar - Switch to a stevia-based sweetener but not agave syrup its a slider food.
- Change the way you snack - Snack time once meant chips and chocolate, I traded those in for cottage cheese, fruit, and sugar-free Italian ices.
- Drink more water - Infused water and crystal light made this a breeze.
These simple adjustments prepared me mentally for what life would be after weight loss surgery. Implementing these changes before surgery, eliminated the anxieties I had towards the future experiences of my tastebuds.
We all know that living a healthy life is composed of healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Exercise may not be high on your list of to do’s but it should be. Prior to surgery, I began to think about exercise as appointments. I began to block out time for physical activity. Don’t let this become overwhelming begin with scheduling three thirty-minute workouts a week. Also, change your routine to avoid becoming bored. Try walking one day, biking the next, and maybe take an aerobics class on another occasion, this way your workouts will be different and you may find an activity you genuinely favor.
When creating a workout schedule its important to never miss an appointment. Keep your commitment to yourself by honoring your schedule, the more you show up for yourself the better you’ll feel and the easier it will get. Remember that we are constantly changing and your schedule will also need to be tweaked to better accommodate your lifestyle. Maybe you’ll find morning workouts, are better for certain times during the week or month.
This last one may sound tough but it is true. Expect depression. The fact is everything inside and around you changes after weight loss surgery. I spiraled into depression despite my preparation. Journaling really helped me to make sense of my feelings. I began journaling after my initial consultation, and it provided me with powerful insight as to why I made the decision for surgery in the first place. Those entries allowed me to see my mentality change and further my understanding of my emotions. Without those entries, I wouldn’t have been able to communicate what I was feeling with family and friends.
Weight loss surgery is loaded with unexpected feelings and changes no matter how much you may prepare. However, your mental transition to life post-op can be eased by getting to know yourself and cutting out bad habits before your weight loss surgery date. It’s never too early to build good life habits.