You’ve made one of the most important decisions of your life.
Weight loss surgery (also referred to as bariatric surgery) will transform the very essence of your everyday activities. It will alter facets of your outlook on life, and most importantly, it will save you from the serious health complications associated with obesity.
But sometimes, beginning that journey comes with challenges—challenges we are confident you will meet and overcome with help from our health care team.
Often, one of these challenges is exercising and losing some weight before weight loss surgery. We’ll guide you through how to safely exercise before your bariatric procedure and answer the question “What should I do before weight loss surgery?”
Do I Have to Lose Weight Before Weight Loss Surgery?
The simple answer? Sometimes.
This often depends upon your weight and your health before you start your journey.
You’ll find that on occasion, your insurance company may require that you try a medical weight-loss program before they will approve weight loss surgery. However, because individual policies vary so widely, we recommend that you speak with your insurance representative.
Often, when engaging in a medical weight-loss program, patients do lose some weight.
We also encourage patients to lose weight to reduce the risk of complications during surgery.
Often, those who successfully lose some weight before surgery will be the most successful at reaching their goals after surgery.
However, it’s surprisingly tempting to fall back into unhealthy habits after surgery, particularly among the busyness of everyday life. Therefore, we encourage our patients to start developing a proactive outlook early on in the process.
On average, weight loss patients can lose an average of 70 percent of their body weight, and two years after surgery many only gain 5 percent of their extra body weight back.
How Can I Safely Exercise Before Weight Loss Surgery?
Exercise is an important component of losing weight. We recognize that for some, obesity makes it difficult to exercise. But it is possible to safely develop a workout routine. We’ve outlined a few pointers.
First, realize that regular exercise does not mean running five miles a day. It’s important to start slowly.
The best exercise routine? It’s one that you can do comfortably and regularly. Start with 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity every day and gradually work up to 20 minutes.
The best exercises are those that do not place stress upon your joints, such as walking. Walking is a good exercise, as well as using a stationary or recumbent bike. Swimming or water aerobics can be a big help as well.
Weight training is another useful component of an exercise routine, but it’s important to do it safely. We can work with you to develop the specifics of a weight training plan. You may also want to seek the assistance of an occupational therapist or certified personal trainer.
What Should I Do Before Weight Loss Surgery?
We understand—preparing for surgery can be overwhelming. That’s why our team of physicians and health care professionals will walk you through the process, providing detailed instructions about what to do.
The most useful source of information is our weight loss seminars that are available online. (In-person meetings will depend upon the latest guidelines for remaining safe during COVID-19).
Following are some of our requirements for weight loss surgery:
Attend One of Our Seminars
First, attend (virtually) a weight loss seminar to determine if this is the best option for you.
Work with a Counselor
Afterward, you’ll work closely with a counselor who will help prepare you for the surgery. We want you to speak with a counselor because after weight loss surgery there are strict dietary and lifestyle guidelines you must follow. Sometimes, these can be challenging to keep long-term. These specialists will help you prepare mentally to face the tasks ahead.
Meet with a Dietitian
You’ll also meet with one of our dietitians who will help you make the positive changes to ensure that your post-surgery experience will be a success. You may also have regular weigh-in visits. Some insurance companies require that you meet with your dietitian for several months before surgery.
You must stop smoking for at least six weeks before surgery. This includes eliminating all tobacco products, e-cigarettes and “vaping.”
Smoking is devastating for your health and can lead to complications. It also makes you more likely to experience serious problems such as stroke, heart attacks and lung cancer.
If you smoke, we recommend that you see this as the opportunity to quit forever.
Meet with our Surgical Team
We’ll schedule appointments so you can meet with our physician and members of your surgical team. This enables us to tailor our treatment plan to fit your needs.
Put a Personal Care Team in Place
Likely, you’re going to need some help around the house after surgery. We suggest you have a spouse, family member or trusted friend help you with tasks such as grocery shopping, cleaning, yard work and other similar tasks.
Make Arrangements with Your Employer
While it may vary depending upon your individual situation, most people who have had bariatric surgery can return to work after two to three weeks. However, in certain cases, it may take as long as six weeks.
Examine your company’s policy for taking time off and be sure that your employer is aware of your need for being absent.
Conway Medical Center Is the Regional Leader in Weight Loss Surgery
It’s a simple fact: Weight loss surgery can save and transform lives.
That’s why we’ve assembled the best team in the Horry County, South Carolina area to help you throughout this journey. We implement state-of-the-art techniques, including our robotic surgery technology, in order to help you.
Coupled with compassionate care, we offer the excellence you expect with the caring team you deserve.
Contact us to learn more.