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How To Prepare and Lose Weight Before Bariatric or Body Contouring Surgery

Making the decision to undergo bariatric surgery or body surgery is a significant decision. One important aspect to consider is losing weight before the procedure.

Before surgery, you’ll likely be asked to shed some weight. You won’t be doing this alone. There are dedicated experts who specialise in guiding individuals through the nutritional and psychological aspects of major lifestyle changes, especially when it involves surgeries like gastric sleeves or gastric banding.

It’s important to understand that bariatric surgery, while effective, typically removes only around 70% of the excess weight. This means that approximately 30% of the excess weight may still remain post-surgery unless you take steps to lose some of it beforehand.

For many patients, a weight loss of 10 to 15 kilograms before undergoing plastic or gastric surgery (as a treatment for obesity) can have numerous advantages. This not only contributes to better surgical outcomes but also changes your overall health.

Insider tips for losing weight before surgery

Discover the strategies recommended by experienced nutritionists dedicated to helping clients shed excess weight before bariatric or post-gastric banding body surgery. The following tips can assist you on your weight loss journey as you prepare for surgery.

Tips to help you lose weight before your gastric surgery

1. Know the Numbers

To gauge the expected weight loss from your upcoming bariatric surgery, you can follow these calculations:

  • Initial Calculation: Start by knowing your current weight. Let’s say it’s 75 kilograms. Then, subtract your wanted body weight, which is 61.36 kilograms, resulting in a difference of 13.63 kilograms.
  • Expected Surgery Weight Loss: Now, take 70% of this difference to estimate the weight you can expect to lose after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. In this example, that would be approximately 9.54 kilograms.
  • Your Personal Goal: Recognise that you may need to aim to lose the remaining weight before surgery. In this case, it’s approximately 4 kilograms.

To explain with a different scenario, let’s say your starting weight is 150 kilograms, and your desired body weight is 62 kilograms. That implies you need to lose 88 kilograms, but the surgery is estimated to help you shed about 61.6 kilograms. In this case, you would want to lose approximately 26.4 kilograms on your own.

Understanding these calculations provides you with a clear perspective on the weight loss objectives associated with your bariatric surgery journey.

2. Consult with your General Practitioner and/or Surgeon

It’s crucial to engage in open discussions with both your General Practitioner (GP) and surgeon to ensure a well-informed and supported weight-loss journey before weight-loss surgery. Here’s what to consider:

  • Nutritional Guidance: Your surgeon or General Practitioner (GP) might recommend a liquid-based nutritional plan or an adjusted eating regimen tailored to your needs.
    • Such guidance can aid in your weight loss efforts before surgery. Don’t hesitate to request the support you require, as knowing that medical professionals are behind you can make the process feel less daunting.
  • Exercise Recommendations: To complement your dietary changes, incorporating exercise into your routine is essential. Seek advice from professionals who can provide guidance on suitable exercise routines that align with your abilities.
    • This not only supports your weight loss but also minimises the risk of potential injuries.

Maintaining an open line of communication with your medical team, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your weight-loss journey and prepare for a successful weight-loss surgery.

3. Plate Size Reduction

Begin the process of downsizing your meal portions gradually. Consider this to simulate the post-gastric surgery experience when your stomach’s capacity will be reduced to just one cup. Here’s how to approach it:

Imagine that your future meals following gastric surgery, should not exceed the volume of one cup. This includes your protein, vegetables, bread, and dessert. This practice may not only contribute to weight loss but also aid in preparing you psychologically for the adjustment to smaller portion sizes.

By making these changes ahead of time, you can ease into the transition and ensure a smoother journey toward your surgical goals.

4. Cut out/ Reduce Sugar intake

Consider significantly reducing or eliminating sugar from your daily dietary intake. This approach can be effective for weight loss and help curb sugar cravings. Here’s why it works:

Many people may not be aware that approximately 1 to 1.5 hours after consuming sugary foods, additional cravings for food and sugar tend to emerge. This is due to the blood sugar response triggered by sugar consumption.

By minimising your sugar intake, you may avoid these spikes in blood sugar and subsequent cravings, making it easier to maintain a healthier diet and keep up with your weight loss goals.

5. Learn about Glycemic Index (GI) and Digestive Responses

Educate yourself about the Glycemic Index (GI) and its impact on digestive responses. High-GI foods can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, making weight management challenging. Surprisingly, many of these high-GI foods include wheat-based products that have undergone genetic modifications over the years.

To promote weight loss and overall well-being, consider eliminating high-GI foods from your diet. This may require a significant adjustment, as you’ll need to replace these items with leafy vegetables and other low-GI options. These dietary changes can be particularly beneficial because genetic modifications in wheat have contributed to insulin resistance in some individuals.

Experiment with a low-GI diet for a few weeks by excluding high-GI foods from your meal plan. You may be surprised by the impact on your weight and overall health, motivating you to continue with this healthier eating pattern.

6. Identify and Eliminate Foods That Trigger Allergies

If you suspect allergies to certain foods, even if they don’t manifest as severe reactions, it’s advisable to eliminate them from your diet. This step can be beneficial for your overall well-being. Allergies can trigger inflammation in your body, which can have a detrimental effect on your health.

It’s essential to recognise that allergic reactions occur on a cellular level and may not always result in obvious symptoms like skin rashes or digestive issues. Inflammation induced by food allergies can contribute to water weight retention and other health complications. Therefore, avoiding foods that your body doesn’t tolerate well can be a step in your weight loss journey before surgery.

7. Stay hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated is vital for weight loss. Water plays a crucial role in the breakdown of fat, making it an essential component of your weight loss journey. Aim to consume a minimum of two litres of water each day to support your efforts to shed excess weight.

8. Prioritise Protein Intake

To effectively manage your weight loss, ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein.

Your daily protein intake should be your body weight divided by two = the number of grams of protein needed for the day.

A general guideline is to aim for at least 25 grams of protein per meal. When you meet your protein requirements, you’ll notice reduced cravings for high-carb foods, making it easier to stick to your weight loss goals.

9. Ensure Adequate Nutrient intake

Evaluate your vitamin and mineral supplement regimen to ensure it meets your body’s needs. Consulting a knowledgeable nutritionist can provide valuable guidance in this regard.

Nutrients function synergistically in the body, so deficiencies can disrupt various processes. For instance, insufficient zinc, niacin, or chromium can affect blood sugar metabolism, while inadequate B vitamins can lead to energy depletion and difficulties digesting proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Prioritise a well-rounded intake of essential nutrients to support your overall health and weight loss journey.

10. Eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Drinks

High fructose corn syrup-laden beverages and food items can contribute to rapid weight gain and potentially lead to liver issues. It’s imperative to eliminate these HFCS-laden drinks from your diet immediately. Replace them with water, a calorie-free and nutritious alternative devoid of questionable chemicals. Making this switch will not only promote weight loss but also your overall well-being.

11. Implement an Early Evening Eating Cutoff

Extending the duration between your last meal of the day and your breakfast, effectively fasting during the evening, can alter your body’s weight loss capabilities.

Solely relying on the procedure is insufficient. Post-gastric surgery, you may want body surgery to address excess skin and fat.

To be a suitable candidate for body surgery, maintaining a stable weight is essential. Therefore, mastering healthy eating habits that align with your body’s needs can greatly contribute to a healthier, more balanced physique over time. Even when considering gastric banding or gastric sleeve surgery for obesity treatment, modifying your lifestyle and eating patterns before surgery, not just after, is crucial for weight loss and minimising surgical risks.

When you have a stable weight, we’re here to assist you further with post-bariatric body surgery to reduce excess skin.

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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