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The weeks and days prior to this important turning point in your life can make such a positive impact on your health that it is actually the first step in your recovery.
Avoid ‘last supper’ syndrome.
One of the worst things you can do is go crazy eating everything in sight and justify it by telling yourself it will be the last time you get to have it. It is not only a bad idea but it is not safe to gain any weight just prior to having a major surgical procedure. The truth is that that once you have regained your health and are at or near goal weight, you can have a small taste of any food you choose. So many of us look back on our last minute feeding frenzy and realize how ridiculous it was. I wish someone would have told me straight out that after I have weight loss surgery, in due time I would still take pleasure in food and love the taste, that I would enjoy eating in fine restaurants with my husband and that I would still love to cook for my friends and family- the difference is that I now have control and a small taste of something wonderful is very satisfying.
Lose at least a little weight.
Many surgeons require that their surgical candidates lose weight just prior to surgery in an attempt to reduce the fatty composition of the liver. These surgeons usually recommend that you follow the typical post op diet focusing on low carbohydrate and high protein foods. Use this condition of your surgery as an opportunity to start developing good habits and mentally prepare for your surgery. Even if your surgeon does not make this recommendation it is a very good idea to take the initiative.
Start drinking protein now.
Make your protein choices and familiarize yourself with your post op dietary requirements. Use protein shakes to lose weight before your surgery and as a bonus nourish your body. People who are morbidly obese normally have nutritional deficiencies and now would be a good time to eat properly and give your body the protein components it will need to fully heal your wounds after your surgery. Don’t wait until you get home from the hospital to buy protein.
Get into the habit of taking a good multivitamin.
After this surgery, vitamins are not a suggestion, they are mandatory. Get ‘tuned up’ and healthy in preparation for your surgery and start taking vitamins in advance. You will be providing your body with all the nutrients it needs for healing and you want to give yourself every advantage that’s within your power.
Discover any vitamin or mineral deficiencies now.
Make sure your primary care physician does a blood panel that checks both your Vitamin D and Ferritin (stored iron) levels as these are not part of a standard lab workup. It is much easier to correct both Vitamin D and Iron deficiencies before your bariatric surgery as after surgery you will have a restricted food intake, inability to easily take tablets for several months, and dietary difficulties. Deficiencies are more difficult to correct after surgery and are often worsened by the procedure. We are now learning that many of us bring our deficiencies with us into surgery.
Get your mind right… the power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated.
Start thinking of all the exciting things that will unfold for you in exchange for all the hard work and determination. This surgery is not a walk in the park, but you can make the journey less traumatic by making the right choices starting now.