Creating Healthy Habits Before Weight Loss Surgery
Now that you’ve decided to have weight loss surgery, it’s time to test drive your new diet and get used to eating differently. Easing your way into new eating habits before surgery will help you focus on healing after your procedure and give your body the chance to lose weight safely.
Step 1. Shopping & Cooking
Read food labels.
Before driving to the grocery store, clean out your pantry and cabinets by getting rid of products containing high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat (saturated fat), trans fat, or bleached white flour. These unhealthy ingredients contribute to heart disease, degenerative diseases, diabetes, and obesity. Fatty and sugary foods also travel quickly through your digestive system and can cause dumping syndrome. The good news is that many healthy substitutes have excellent – if not better – flavor.
Look for whole grain ingredients.
Whole grain products are much healthier and have a higher fiber content than food with bleached white flour and partially processed grains. Be on the lookout for food packaging stamped with the golden-yellow Whole Grains Council’s logo that indicates at least a half serving of whole grains.
Choose organic when possible.
The secret is out. Organic food has more nutrients and fewer pesticides and toxins than the non-organic equivalents. However, buying organic can be expensive. If possible, consider choosing organic meat, eggs, and dairy as well as organic apples, peppers, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, and strawberries. If you choose non-organic products, be sure to wash all food before eating and cook it thoroughly.
Throw out the fryer.
Fried foods add fat to your diet. Healthier cooking options such as steaming, baking, and grilling with a nonstick cooking spray can significantly reduce your fat intake.
Plan menus ahead of time.
Try to sit down during the weekend and plan what you will eat during the week. Then, make a shopping list and buy the ingredients to make your meals. Being prepared will help you avoid spur-of-the-moment poor food choices.
Store tempting foods out of reach and out of sight.
Make use of high cabinet shelves or bottom refrigerator shelves so tempting food will be harder to reach and less obvious.
Step 2. Eating Tips
Choose smaller plates.
Trick your mind by arranging the right portion of food on a smaller plate, so it looks fuller. Furthermore, keep food in the kitchen instead of serving it on the dining room table to prevent yourself from reaching for second helpings.
Take bite-sized pieces.
Take small bites of food, set down your fork or spoon between bites, and chew food completely before swallowing. As a rule of thumb, try chewing each mouthful 30 times to applesauce consistency before swallowing. This will help slow down your eating and prevent food from getting stuck.
Savor your meals.
After weight loss surgery, you will need to get used to the new size of your stomach and how much it will hold. Try taking 30 minutes to eat your meal. By slowing down and savoring what you eat, your brain has time to register how full your stomach is. Also, keep your attention on your food by not watching TV, reading, or talking on the phone while you eat.
Don’t Top Off
You don’t have to be a plate cleaner. Get up and take your plate to the kitchen after that first moment you feel full. Overeating even by 1 bite can cause stomach discomfort and possibly even cause you to get sick.
Sip your drinks.
Drink smaller mouthfuls (15 cc or ½ oz) to prevent overfilling your pouch. Also, some programs recommend not to drink during your meal as well as 30 minutes before up to 30 minutes after your meals to help feel fuller and consume fewer calories. Be sure to follow your program’s guidelines.
Don’t fear food.
Food fuels your body and is necessary to keep it functioning at optimal levels. By eating smaller meals more frequently, you help prevent your metabolism from slowing down which aids weight loss.
Step 3. Exercise & Physical Activity
Make time for daily activity.
Healthy lifestyles and being active go hand in hand. To promote safe weight loss try getting 30 minutes of exercise/activity per day. You can break the 30 minutes into smaller segments throughout the day. Try taking a 10-minute walk before breakfast, a 10-minute walk at lunch, and another 10-minute walk after work. Think about skipping the elevator and taking the stairs. If you are coming off a sedentary lifestyle, start slowly and increase activity as your body becomes used to moving. Remember your weight loss journey isn’t a race.
Research shows that starting a workout program prior to your bariatric procedure actually prepares your body for a faster recovery and an easier transition into an active lifestyle after weight loss surgery. Make this part of changing your eating habits to maximize your results.
Some additional ways to work in extra exercise throughout your day include:
- walk around/pace while you are talking on the phone
- parking your car at the back of the parking lot
- taking the stairs instead of escalator or elevator
- while watching TV or at a computer raise your legs and hold for 10-15 seconds, do as many reps as possible
- do 5 bicep curls with your water bottle every time you go to take a drink (Make sure you alternate arms!)
Step 4. Take Your Vitamins
Don’t forget your vitamins!
Take your vitamins first thing in the morning or right before bed if possible. This makes it easier as your day is just beginning or winding down, nothing can side track you! Taking before bed, or with breakfast can also help with stomach discomfort you may experience from your vitamins. (This is usually due to the iron)
If you have a hard time remembering to take your daily vitamins, try setting the alarm so you won’t forget. You might also consider leaving your vitamins out on a counter, so they are in plain sight.
To get your needed Calcium we suggest getting a variety as you will need to take it 2-3 times a day depending on your requirements. Calcium does not present a flavor so there are lots of options on how to work it in to your day and not be invasive. Example: Our UpCal-D powder form you can add to a protein shake/yogurt, our Sea Salted Caramel Calcium chew for after lunch, then finish off your day with our Dark Chocolate Calcium bar for an after dinner treat. Don’t forget, your calcium needs to be consumed 2 hours apart from your iron supplement or an iron containing multivitamin. This maximizes the absorption of both supplements.
Our Once Daily vitamins address the five complaints most people have about bariatric supplements: size, taste, texture, cost, and dose.
Our Chewable Bariatric Multivitamin is one tablet that can be consumed all at once or broken up to take throughout the day. Our Capsule Bariatric Multivitamin contains no sweeteners or flavoring, and is in a fast dissolve vegetable based capsule. Both of these options are easy to take, affordable at $11.99 for a 1 month supply, and make your life easier because you do not have to juggle handfuls of pills to get all the supplementation your body needs after weight loss surgery!
Not a fan of chalky chewables or pills?
Try taking your vitamin with a teaspoon of applesauce or yogurt. You might also find it helpful to rinse your mouth with a small sip of water before chewing a supplement.
Most chewables can also be crushed to a powder that can then be added to a small amount of soft food, or this makes them easier to take with just a quick drink.
Want to try different supplements forms?
Take your multivitamin in a capsule form and your calcium in a chewable form or vice versa. However, don’t rely on vitamin waters and drinks to get your daily supplements. These liquids are loaded with extra calories and do not have the essential nutrients provided by bariatric specific vitamins.
Step 5. Ask Questions
Join a Support Group
You are not alone on this journey! Every year, more than 140,000 people undergo bariatric surgery. Support groups with people who are in a similar situation as yours can offer advice and emotional support for every stage of your transformation. If you live in an area that has a bariatric surgeon, odds are there’s a support group nearby. If not, you can find an online support group.
ProCare is committed to customer service.
Weight-loss surgery patients are on a journey to optimal health, and we want to help make the path easier. Our customer service team is eager to answer questions, and guide patients to the right products, while making the buying process easy, affordable and stress-free.