Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

UW Health bariatric surgeons know that surgery is only one of many "tools" you will need to lose weight and keep the weight off. Our team is going to gauge your ability to adopt the recommended lifestyle changes well before you head to surgery. We encourage you to learn and read as much as you can about weight loss or bariatric surgery. You can start making healthy lifestyle changes today.
Suggestions for Healthy Lifestyle Changes 
  • Identify the barriers to making changes in your life. One of the greatest obstacles to change is not people's intentions but their ability to enact them. List the factors that might make it difficult for you to enact change in your life.
  • If you smoke or use tobacco, quit now. UW Health requires no tobacco use three months prior to bariatric surgery.
  • Keep a daily health journal to track your positive behavior changes.
  • Learn how to set realistic goals.
  • Begin a physical activity routine (there is no substitute for movement).
  • Begin to adopt healthy eating choices and behaviors.
  • Surround yourself with individuals who are encouraging and motivating.
  • Develop alternative coping skills (relaxation techniques, positive self-statements).
  • Participate in a bariatric Internet chat room or our discussion board. 
Our Health Psychology Assessment 
  • Evaluates your psychological and emotional fitness for surgery and ability to conform to necessary lifestyle changes.
  • Diagnoses previously undiagnosed problems such as depression, bulimia or other eating disorders.
  • Identifies behaviors that may interfere with life-long weight loss success.
  • Aids in preparation for life after substantial weight loss.
  • Uses this information to tailor treatment plans and recommendations to your specific needs and to optimize the care you receive. 
Nutrition Overview
It is necessary to establish a healthy diet after surgery. All of the food choices you made that contributed to your weight struggle need to be evaluated and changed. The main principles to follow are low fat, low sugar and high fiber.
You will be given information to help you to make these changes as you go along in the program.
Some eating strategies that would be useful to begin adopting now include:
  • Chew your food thoroughly
  • Eat slowly
  • Be mindful of what you are eating and tasting 
Every patient is expected to start a high-protein liquid diet two weeks prior to surgery. This diet better prepares patients for surgery by facilitating weight loss, reducing the size of the liver and preparing patients for the post-operative diet. You will learn more about this at our nutrition class prior to surgery.