Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN
Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, providing education and support prior to and following weight loss surgery.
When it comes to bariatric surgery, there’s no one right way to prepare. And preparedness is everything if you want to be successful. You need to be prepared mentally, physically, and be on the straight and narrow with your nutrition habits. Along with information provided by your surgery center, there are countless resources you can use to get started, helping you make changes and form healthier habits. These resources can include apps, books, videos, podcasts, and more! It can be difficult trying to find out what best suits you, so you'll have to do a little experimenting mixed with trial and error.
For my clients, I recommend starting with research. In the beginning, you may not find the things that really work for you, but you eventually will if you keep looking. Think about what it is you want to learn more about and improve on, and take an organized approach to prepare. I like to focus on three areas which you will find recommendations for below: mindfulness, exercise, and nutrition. These resources can play a huge role in helping to keep your mind focused on the exciting journey ahead of you!
1) Mindfulness. What is mindfulness? I like to define mindfulness as being aware of what you do, when you do it, how you do it, why you do it... You get the point. Practicing mindfulness is crucial. I prioritize this one because if your mind isn’t in the right place, nothing will be. If you’re not aware of where you have room for improvement, you’re going to have a rough road ahead of you. Inner behavior issues can really sneak up after surgery if you don’t take the time to address addictions and poor habits beforehand. Mindfulness can also include taking the time to prioritize yourself. Be mindful of the need to put yourself first. You’ll need to find ways to decompress, alleviate stress, and stay in a good headspace. Check these resources out to create more mindful habits.
- Apps: Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, MyLife Meditation, The Mindfulness App, Smiling Mind
- Books: Atomic Habits, Eating Mindfully, Food Triggers, Weight Loss Surgery Does Not Treat Food Addiction, New Stomach Old Brain
- Podcasts: The Champion Mindset, The Mindset Mile, The School of Greatness, Daily Meditation Podcast
2) Exercise. Exercise is an absolute must following surgery if you want to reach your weight loss goals. Finding what works for you might be challenging. You may have physical limitations or perhaps just an aversion to exercise in general. But there’s something out there for everyone! Give these a try!
- Apps: FitOn, Peloton, Track Yoga, Beach Body on Demand, Couch25K, SilverSneakersGo, Pilates Anytime, Boho Beautiful Official (Yoga, Meditation, Lifestyle)
- Books: Bariatric Fitness for Your New Life
- YouTube/Amazon Prime: There are way too many choices here... Let’s make it simple. Whatever you want to try or whatever you are thinking, type those topics into the search bar.
- Use the following as examples:
- “Beginner strength training exercises”
- “Pool exercises”
- “Chair exercises”
- “Zumba for seniors”
- “30-day beginner fitness challenge”
- “Beginners Pilates/Yoga”
- “Daily stretch routines”
3) Nutrition. Yeah, yeah, we all know a healthy diet is necessary for weight loss success. But usually, most people know what to eat... It’s the whole "making the time to plan and be intentional about food choices" that trips patients up. There must be some level of meal planning and meal prepping with your new lifestyle. Without it, you’ll be flying by the seat of your pants, falling into poor habits, poor choices, and having too many or too little calories to sustain weight loss. Try these resources to help with accountability, food education, and building healthy meal planning habits.
- Apps: Yuka, Baritastic, Fooducate
- Books: The Complete Bariatric Cookbook, Bariatric Bible, Fresh Start Bariatric Cookbook, Bariatric Meal Prep
- YouTube: My Level 10 Life, Bariatric Tidbits
Resources are everything. Support is everything. These things exist to help you succeed in multiple settings of your life, not just bariatric surgery. Many of the suggestions previously mentioned are not bariatric specific but can be applied to the simple fact that success takes work, and to achieve success, you have to start with a game plan, stay motivated, and care for the mind and body. You are in control of this journey. Get started now!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.