There are a lot of steps to preparing for bariatric surgery. There are doctor’s appointments, blood labs, tests, pre-op education classes (hopefully), meetings with your dietician and more.

It’s a lot.

But believe me when I tell you that all that prep is for a reason! For most of what you go through with your doctors, the reason, of course, is so that you come through surgery safely. But you should also be doing preparation so that you can hit the ground running with the habits you must practice in order to succeed in post-op life.

What are they? I’m glad you asked! Here are three essential post-op habits you should start working now in order to make your post-op transition go smoothly.

Stop eating and drinking together

This is an almost universal rule for all surgery types. No eating and drinking together! Why?

Well in the beginning you may not be able to eat and drink together. It may actually be painful. It also impedes the amount of both food and water you are taking in. You only have so much room in your stomach and if you try to mix food and liquid together, you don’t get enough of either! But looking to the long-term, drinking and eating together puts you at risk for at increased hunger for two reasons:

  1. Liquids on can push food through your stomach apparatus (pouch, sleeve, etc.) too fast, leaving your stomach empty, and causing you to feel hungry too often. (Note: This may not be a problem in the early days after surgery but eventually it will catch up with you!)
  2. For RNY patients, pushing food through your stoma (the opening between the pouch and your intestines) can widen the stoma. Right after surgery, your stoma is pretty small, which means it takes a while for food to pass through it. That keeps you feeling full and satisfied a long time. A wider stoma means food goes through more quickly and hunger returns before it should.

So bottom line: Pre-ops, stop eating and drinking together. Right now. Today. In fact, practice waiting 30 minutes after you eat to drink again, which is the standard post-op recommendation.

Start following your vitamin regimen

(NOTE: Only do this if your doctor is gives you the ok.)

Taking your vitamins consistently after weight loss surgery will ward off deficiencies and help your body be as healthy as it can be, which also helps the weight loss process.

For folks used to taking prescription medication, the vitamin routine may not be that big of a departure. But if you haven’t had to do that before, it can be hard remembering to take several doses of vitamins every day.

If your medical team is ok with you starting your vitamin routine now, go ahead and start. Doing this gives you a chance to work out a schedule for yourself, try out your bariatric vitamins (keep in mind your tastes may change post-op though), and learn what doses can be taken together and which cannot. But most of all, it just gets you into the routine of taking vitamins several times a day, which you’ll be doing for the rest of your life!

Develop a walking routine

Walking is one of the best exercises you can do. Many people think they have to go hardcore with fitness after weight loss surgery, but a simple walking routine will serve you well, especially during those first few weeks after surgery when your body is recovering.

Figure out a time and a place that works best to go on walks and start to build it into the routine of your days and weeks. Try to think of it as “me time.” Your walking regimen can be a great time to de-stress, think of questions you have for your medical team or other post-ops, and just generally sort out your feelings before you dive head first into this BIG life change.

Make sure you are cleared for walking before starting your routine, then hit the pavement!

Need support prepping for surgery?

Take the Foodie Nation Pre-Op Prep challenge! When you sign up, you’ll get 7 days worth of emails, each with a tip that will help you prepare your household, habits and life for bariatric surgery.

Your medical team does a great job at preparing your body for surgery. Join this challenge and prepare your life!

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