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Do I need to lose weight before weight loss surgery?

July 1st, 2011 - Posted by Jeremy Korman, MD to Weight Loss

Weight loss surgery is a valuable tool to help obese people lose excess fat, but the patient’s eating and exercise habits really make the difference in the long run.

The operation, whichever one the patient and physician settle on, can make it much easier and more effective to limit the intake of excess calories. It’s a good idea to begin the weight-loss process even before the operation, so you can hit the ground running once the surgical adjustment is in place.

Following habits that encourage weight loss before you undergo a bariatric operation will make the transition easier and less sudden. Your body will likely react more positively if you’ve begun the process and gotten used to eating smaller, well-planned meals.

Medically, it can make it easier and safer to perform the operation if the patient has begun a reduced-calorie diet and begun seriously working to lose weight. One reason is that a high-protein, low-calorie diet can help the liver get smaller; this aids the ease of the operation and recovery time. Also, if the patient has been eating a balanced diet, the body will be primed to recover faster from surgery than if the patient had been eating too many saturated fats, refined starches, and sugars.

In fact, many doctors require that patients lose a small percentage of their body weight before surgery can be performed. Usually, this is accomplished by beginning a high-protein diet; liquid protein supplements can be used. Often, the guidelines are 800 to 1,500 calories, including 70 to 120 grams of protein, each day.

Dietary Guidelines

Foods that are often recommended include:

  • Lean meats and poultry
  • Fresh vegetables, prepared healthily (steaming, baking))
  • Fresh fruit
  • Protein and vitamin supplements, to ensure you have enough of these vital nutrients

Your dietitian will help you work out a pre-surgery diet when you consult with her before the surgery.

Find Out More

If you’re interested in weight loss surgery, you should know that achieving your goals takes hard work, focus, and dedication. Losing some weight before surgery can help you get ready for the changes that will happen in your life, and can help you get the maximum benefit from the operation. Schedule a one-on-one appointmentat Marina Del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles to learn more about bariatric surgery.

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