Learning About How to Prepare for Weight-Loss (Bariatric) Surgery

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How can you prepare for weight-loss surgery?

You can prepare for surgery by having a plan. Your plan may include your goals for losing weight and how to make changes in your diet, activity, and lifestyle to help raise your chances of success.

One way to prepare for surgery is to think about why you want to reach a weight that's healthy for you. Do you want to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar? Do you want to be able to sleep better, play with your kids, or walk farther without getting as tired? Think of a reason that matters to you. It can help you stay with your plan and meet your goals.

You'll have a weight-loss team that you can talk to about your plans and goals. The team will help you get ready for surgery. After surgery, the team can help you make changes so you can reach and maintain a weight that's healthy for you.

How will weight-loss surgery affect your life?

You may wonder how weight-loss surgery could affect your life—how you will eat, how your body will look, or how you'll feel. You probably will lose weight very quickly in the first few months after surgery. But over time your weight loss will slow down. How much weight you lose depends on what type of surgery you had and how well your new eating and activity plans are working for you. There will be many changes. These may include:

  • A new way of eating.

    Being able to reach and stay at a weight that's healthy for you depends on making lifelong changes in how you eat. After surgery, you're more likely to succeed if you:

    • Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
    • Eat very slowly and chew your food to mush.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol and sugary drinks.
    • Avoid foods that are high in fat or sugar.
    • Take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life.
  • Better health.

    Weight-loss surgery can have some real health benefits. Problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea may go away or become easier to manage.

  • A more active lifestyle.

    After surgery, being active on most days of the week can improve your health and help you reach and maintain a weight that's healthy for you.

  • Extra skin.

    When you lose weight quickly, it's common to have a lot of extra skin. You may be able to have surgery to remove the extra skin if it bothers you.

There may be some ups and downs while you get used to these changes. So try to connect with people who can support you, such as friends and family. It can be helpful to join a support group for people who have had the surgery. They may know what you're going through. You will also get support from your health care team, both before and after surgery.

Another way you can help yourself is to have a plan. This can help you focus on losing weight and living a healthy life. Try setting small goals. Learn more about how the surgery can affect your life. Think about who you could reach out to for support. It might help to write down your plan.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.