Bariatric surgery can be a powerful tool to help you lose weight and keep it off, but it is also an ordeal for your body. You need to plan accordingly in the weeks (or months) before weight loss surgery so that you can maximize the positive impact of surgery and avoid complications*.
Are You Eligible?
Before weight loss surgery it’s important to test your BMI and go through the BMCC’s online seminar to make sure that you’re a good fit for our program. In order to be eligible for bariatric surgery, your BMI must be over 40, or over 35 if you also have weight-related medical conditions. We strongly encourage you to attend a weight loss surgery seminar, where you’ll learn important information about what surgery entails and what you can expect after surgery.
Once you know that you’re eligible, you need to make sure that you’re medically a good fit for bariatric surgery.
Before bariatric surgery, you will have the opportunity to consult with several members of our team to make sure that bariatric surgery is right for you. Bariatric surgery is one tool in your toolkit, and needs to be combined with exercise and a strict diet; it is not a cure-all on its own. Because weight loss surgery is a life-long journey, we want to make sure that you’re prepared for what this entails.
Prospective patients should undergo a series of consultations:
- Initial surgical consultation
- Psychological (behavioralist) evaluation
- Physical activity and fitness consultation (to create a pre- and post-surgery exercise plan)
- Dietitian consultation
- Physician consultation (physician should discuss your current medicines and which ones may cause problems with bariatric surgery)
- Preoperative visit with your surgeon
Your surgeon will also give you an information binder specific to the surgery that you chose, so that you can learn more about the procedure and what to expect.
Bariatric surgery can be a big shock to your body. If you have certain medical conditions, bariatric surgery could be dangerous; so we’ll either recommend a different mechanism for weight loss, or recommend steps that you can take to prematurely deal with possible complications*.
As a prospective patient, you should gain the following relevant medical clearances:
- Cardiac consultation
- Pulmonary consultation
- Sleep study
- Internal medicine consultation
- Gastroenterology consultation
Pre-Bariatric Surgery Diet and Behavior
After bariatric surgery, your diet will change dramatically. It’s important to adapt your body to these switches by adopting a healthy pre-bariatric surgery diet. In addition, you’ll need to refrain from certain foods and behaviors before surgery to ensure a smooth surgery. Here is the dietary regime you should begin following before surgery:
- No smoking for 3-6 months before surgery
- No caffeinated beverages before surgery
- No carbonated beverages before surgery
- Liquid diet for 1 week before surgery
- Take daily vitamins (multivitamin, calcium citrate, vitamin D3, iron, vitamin B12, and B complex)
You should also eat 3 meals per day without snacking or grazing. Avoid nocturnal eating and avoid soda and caffeine. At this stage, getting down the behavior—3 regular meals per day, with no snacking—is more important than counting calories. If you are motivated to count calories, though, there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ll help you select and set goals that work for you.
We also offer a once-a-month medically supervised weight loss class, with different curricula each month, which we require patients to attend for six months before surgery.
Following Up After Surgery
Weight loss is a journey, and we’re dedicated to helping our patients every step of the way. As such, we provide ongoing classes to help you achieve the healthiest lifestyle.
We also require 5 years of follow-up: 2 weeks after surgery; 6 weeks after surgery; 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after surgery; and then once annually for five years. Patients find that this follow-up helps them to stay motivated and provides valuable ongoing resources to help them maximize their weight loss*.
Additionally, we require patients to undergo a follow-up with our dietitian and counselor after surgery.
Finally, we encourage patients to join ongoing support groups of other BMCC patients. You are not alone in your journey, and our support groups offer patients a strong system of help, motivation, and additional resources. We’ll also do events with each group, such as a guided group grocery store tour to help you craft a low-fat, protein-rich diet that will enable you to maximize your health.