Before Surgery

The Mental Preparation Needed for Weight Loss Surgery

by Brenda Hoehn on Aug 23, 2023

The Mental Preparation Needed for Weight Loss Surgery

The Mental Preparation Needed for Weight Loss Surgery

If you are a candidate for weight loss surgery (WLS), your emotional well-being is just as important as your physical health for a successful operation and the weight loss that will follow. Undergoing a mental makeover will help you break your old habits and prepare you for adopting a real lifestyle change.

Before your surgery, prepare correctly by following this mental checklist designed for success and helping you achieve weight loss goals.

Start with Realistic Expectations

Having information and setting realistic expectations will help motivate you along your journey, and if you have weight loss challenges. Your doctor and healthcare team are great resources to help you have a clear understanding of your goals and what to expect.

Even though we would like to lose weight overnight, you won’t wake up from your surgery magically thin. You may leave the hospital weighing more because of accumulated fluids resulting from the operation. Don’t be discouraged. Give yourself time to heal and remember that bariatric surgery is a tool on your weight-loss journey (see Weight Loss is Not a Miracle Cure for Obesity).

Also, prepare for plateaus. It may take up to six months to lose half of your excess weight. Then, the weight loss may stop or slow for a period. Know that your weight loss is a journey that will take effort and time. When plateaus occur, follow the dietary guidelines your dietitian and bariatric care team prescribed to stay on track.

Get Support

Don’t try to embark on your weight-loss journey alone. Many parts of the weight-loss journey can be difficult. Having a support system in place to encourage you will help when things are hard and will help you prepare mentally for weight loss surgery (WLS).

Talk to your close family and friends about the procedure and the lifestyle changes you will be making. Tell them why you’re trying to eat healthily and how they can help you stay on track. Your support system will also be there to celebrate milestones.

Consider joining a weight-loss support group or connect with other patients who have been through the surgery, reached their goals, and are living healthier lives. They can be a source of inspiration and will have advice if challenges come up. There are several online support groups for bariatric patients. If you prefer face-to-face interaction, most bariatric programs have support groups or meetings that you can attend. Some may require that you attend before you have surgery. You can also look at churches, colleges, or universities for in-person support. (See Find Your Support Systems

Recognize and Confront Food Addiction

If you use food as a crutch to deal with stress, boredom, or other emotions, weight loss surgery (WLS) will not fix this problem. In fact, food addictions and emotional eating may pose significant problems after surgery when your stomach pouch is smaller. You will also have to eat slowly, and junk food will sabotage your ability to lose weight. Learning to manage food and identify cravings/addictions and triggers for emotional eating before surgery is imperative. That way, you will be better prepared to make healthy food choices after surgery.

Tackle Your Depression

Even though weight loss surgery (WLS) is around 80% effective, it takes time and effort to keep the weight off.

After surgery, your body is recovering, and your eating is restricted. You won’t eat solid foods for a while, and it’ll likely take six months or longer for your diet to return to normal. If you struggle with depression and food addiction, it can be hard to remain focused and on track.

Work with your doctor or therapist to maintain a positive attitude about what you are experiencing. A positive outlook can increase motivation and the energy necessary keep you focused on weight loss goals.

Tackle Your Depression

Fight Other Addictions

It’s essential to understand the risks that alcohol and tobacco addictions can have on your progress after weight loss surgery (WLS). (See Awareness of Addictions)

Alcohol is high in calories and loosens your inhibitions, which can contribute to overeating. Typically, drinking is not recommended at all after surgery. The carbonation, sugars, and empty calories can cause problems and discomfort. In addition, your body handles the alcohol differently. You can become inebriated quicker and your tolerance will be lower. If you do decide to drink after surgery, make sure the first few times are around those you trust and in an environment where you are safe and comfortable.

Tobacco use increases the risks of surgical complications like infection, respiratory problems, or ulcers. Generally, doctors will require that patients quit smoking for some time before weight loss surgery (WLS) and remain tobacco-free six months to a year after the procedure. 

Believe in Yourself

Weight loss surgery (WLS) is the first step in your journey to a healthier you. For your journey to succeed, you must prepare mentally for your new lifestyle that will suit your smaller stomach. Realize that your weight loss goals will take time to achieve, and you’ll get there one milestone at a time.

ProCare Health is Here to Assist You in Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

At ProCare Health, your health is important to us, and we are ready to help you on your weight-loss journey.

We’ve specially designed our once-daily vitamin for people who have undergone bariatric surgery. Our multivitamin uses easy to absorb ingredients so you can be confident you are getting the absorption and nutrients needed to stay healthy. Please contact us today with questions, to get a free sample, or to place an order.

Please note: the information contained within this article is in no way to be considered medical advice nor is it meant to replace your medical team’s recommendations. This article’s purpose is to educate and allow the reader to make informed decisions with the help of his or her medical team.