4 Healthy Habits Before & After Weight Loss Surgery
Written By: Emma Squillace
When you have bariatric surgery, your life changes. Some changes are exciting like seeing the weight drop off, feeling more energy, and hearing ‘you look great’. And some changes are hard work. You’ll have to eat differently, maybe cook more than you used to, plan food ahead of time, and figure out how to manage the inevitable hard times you’ll run into. Today we’ll give you some tips for managing the weight loss journey, that can make your life feel more routine – in a good way. These tips are also great for our patients who have not yet had surgery, or are still considering all their options.
You may not know how much water you drink every day, but if you’re like most people, you’re probably not drinking the minimum of 64 ounces that many healthcare providers recommend. Upping your water intake can be an easy first step in managing your health. The key to drinking enough water is to always have some with you. Water promotes health digestion, can give us energy, and may help us feel less hungry (sometimes it’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger). Drinking plenty of water is also very important for our gastric balloon patients, because it allows the balloons to function at their best. After some procedures, we’ll recommend that you do not drink water with your meals, however, so please make sure to follow your dietitian’s advice carefully.
Before you worry about restricting what you eat, first start tracking it. It’s easier to make informed decisions about how to eat if you have a good idea of exactly where your calories and nutrients are coming from. Some people prefer the old-fashioned pencil & paper method of tracking, but there are also several free phone apps that will let you track your food quickly. Make sure to track every single bite you take, at least for a few weeks, even if it’s a quick taste of your kids’ meals. This will make sure you are accountable for all your food choices, and may help you identify hidden sources of calories.
Add More of the Good
Instead of focusing a lot on what you “can’t” eat, try focusing on what you should be consuming more of. This can help reset your food choices as more of a positive change than a restriction. Keys are lean protein, vegetables, and fiber. If you’re committed to getting more of these into your daily meals, there won’t be as much room for the less nutritious choices that may be high in sugar or carbs.
Do you snack at night? So many of us do, but it really can derail an otherwise great day of eating. Try to set a time that you’ll be done eating for the night – 7pm for example. Some people find it helpful to brush their teeth at that time, as a signal to their body that they’re finished with food for the night. Another option is to have a hot cup of tea after your eating time is finished. Although it can be hard at first, once your body is used to your new habit, you’ll find it will get easier and easier to not eat later at night.
Bariatric surgeries such as the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve, and non-surgical procedures like the balloons, are incredible tools for losing weight. The key though, is that these tools work their best when you commit to the lifestyles changes that will support your surgery or balloon. Although it can seem daunting, we are here to support you through every change and every step of your journey. Many of the changes that our surgery and balloon patients make, are changes anyone can implement into their lives to work towards a healthier weight. Please reach out to us if there is anything we can answer for you about bariatric surgery or the process to get started. We can be reached at (855) 690-0565.