Congratulations! You have decided to have weight loss surgery. This will be an exciting yet challenging adventure. In my opinion, the pre-op stage is the most critical part of a weight loss surgery journey. This time will be very busy between all of the doctors’ appointments and other things that have do be done prior to surgery. It can be a little overwhelming thinking about all the things that have to be done during this stage, but here are a few things to expect.
You will have a lot of appointments. Insurance companies require a lot of health screening prior to bariatric surgery. Between going to a nutritionist, cardiologist, psychologist and more, it can get exhausting. These appointments are necessary though. They are meant to make sure you are ready for surgery so it is important that you take them seriously. The requirements are different for every insurance company, so make sure you know exactly what is required. For many people, a six-month diet is necessary before you can be approved. My recommendation is to call your insurance company as soon as you decide weight loss surgery is for you. After meeting with your surgeon, schedule the necessary appointments as soon as possible. This will help speed the process up and get you into surgery faster.
Another thing you must do during the pre-op stage is start making changes to the way you eat. During the pre-op stage, you might have desires to have “food funerals.” Food funerals are when you binge on your favorite foods right before having the surgery. As tempting as it sounds, I would highly recommend that you don’t do this. This is mainly because you need to be following the pre-op diet for safety reasons, but I also don’t recommend it because it is not emotionally good for you. Binging on your favorite foods will not make this process easier. It will more than likely make it harder. Use this time to get used to your new way of eating. (more reading on this: Nutrition and Diet After Bariatric Surgery)
Lastly, and what I think might be the most important thing to do during the pre-op stage is to get mentally prepared. Making this drastic of a change can take a toll on you emotionally. During the pre-op stage, it is critical that you prepare your mind for what is about to happen. Use this time to meditate and find support from your family and friends. If you are not mentally prepared, you will not be successful on this journey. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take the time to journal or talk through your feelings with someone. Find support groups so you can connect with other people in the bariatric community. This will be key for your success.
The road to bariatric surgery can be exhausting, but it is worth it. Whenever I felt stressed during the pre-op stage, I just reminded myself of the new life that was ahead of me. It can be overwhelming at times, but just remember to lean on those around you for support. You will make it through all of the appointments, just take it one day at a time. Before you know it, you will be waking up to your new life after surgery!