Pre-Bariatric Surgery Diet
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Bariatric Surgery Diet: Pre-Surgery

It's not uncommon to adopt "the last hurrah" mentality before surgery. That's the mindset that says, "I need to eat anything and everything I can get my hands on before I have the surgery, because I'll never be able to eat those foods again." This thinking can last days and weeks for many of my patients!

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Can you relate?

Dump that mentality!

If you want to enjoy lifelong weight loss, you need to change how you think about food. Avoiding this "last supper" kind of thinking in your pre-bariatric surgery diet is an opportunity to practice your new, healthy relationship with food. Why not start out on a good note?!

The downfall of overeating prior to surgery is of course, weight gain. And as you gain more weight, more fat may be deposited in your liver. A fatty liver is a big liver, and big livers are particularly bad news pre-surgery.


Your stomach and liver are near each other, and a big liver can interfere with the surgery - making it harder to get in and work on the stomach. (For instance, it can make it difficult for your surgeon to put the lap band in its proper place.) This increases the chance of having your surgery performed as an open procedure rather than a laproscopic one.

Think, "Big scar." Think, "Longer healing time."

Know that one big meal won't make or break you, but a pattern of overeating pre-surgery most certainly will lead to weight gain and a bigger liver.

The physician group I've worked with has been known to stop mid-surgery and cancel/reschedule if the liver is too big and swollen!

What's the take home message?

Avoid overeating in the days and weeks leading to your weight loss surgery. A pre-bariatric surgery diet doesn't consist of treating every meal as if it's to be your last!

Some insurance companies require prospective surgery patients to show they can follow a diet. Some surgeons require their patients to lose weight prior to bariatric surgery in order to "prove" commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

Be sure to follow your doctor's recommendations.

The doctor I've worked with asks patients to start following a low calorie diet at least 2 weeks prior to surgery.

My recommendations for a pre-bariatric surgery diet?

One of two things:

1. Follow an "official" pre weight loss surgery protein shake diet. It's simple and easy and takes all the guesswork out of what and how much to eat for 1 week - 3 months prior to surgery.

You get all of your high protein meal replacements and protein supplements as well as daily meal plans, lifestyle guides, maintenance plan, grocery lists and telephone and email support.

Many medical professionals believe that increasing the intake of good quality protein and limiting the amount of carbohydrates and calories during the period just before bariatric surgery improves overall success rate.

Following a pre-surgery diet such as this one assures adequate protein and reduced carb and calorie intake. It's a no-brainer!

2. Another option is to simply drink 2 high protein shakes/day and eat 1 sensible meal. You can choose whether to use pre made shakes or make your own.

Protein shakes. See the pink box near the top of this page to find out more about protein shakes.

Read more about the bariatric surgery diet.

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