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Bariatric Surgery

Preparing for your surgery: Making healthy changes before bariatric surgery

Here are some things you can do to improve your weight and health before you have surgery.

Eat healthy

Eating fewer calories can help you manage your weight. Tips to help you eat fewer calories include:

  • Read food labels so you know how many calories are in your food and drinks.
  • Choose smaller amounts of food (portions) and use a smaller plate.
  • Limit higher-fat foods and added fats.
  • Limit sweets and extra foods, such as candy, desserts, and snack foods like chips.
  • Choose water and low-fat milk most often.
  • Cut back on drinks with added sugar and fat.
  • Choose a healthy snack if you have a long wait between meals.

To help you feel full with smaller portions:

  • Choose foods with protein at meals and snacks.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit at each meal.

Choose foods with fibre, like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

See Learn about healthy eating for more information and tips.

Be active every day

Make a plan to be active every day. If you aren’t active now, start doing physical activity 10 minutes at a time. You can use a pedometer to measure how many steps you take each day. Record your number of steps in your journal.

Learn more about getting and staying active.

Manage stress

If you use food to cope with stress (also called emotional eating) it’s important to learn new skills to help you manage these feelings before you have bariatric surgery. This is especially important because after you have surgery, you may not be able to eat some of the foods that you used for comfort before surgery. And you may not be able to eat as much of these foods as you could before.

Instead of eating when you feel stress, you could try:

  • going for a walk
  • spending time with a friend
  • reading a book
  • doing a hobby you enjoy

You may find it helpful to:

  • talk to your doctor, dietitian, mental health care provider, or the healthcare team at the bariatric clinic
  • read information about how to manage stress and emotional eating
  • take classes through the Alberta Healthy Living Program to help manage emotional eating

Find out more about emotional eating.

Find out more about managing stress.

Quit smoking

If you smoke, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to help you quit. You can’t have bariatric surgery if you smoke.

To learn more about quitting smoking, visit AlbertaQuits.

Get good sleep

Getting the right amount and good quality sleep is important for your health. Learn what you can do to sleep better.

Keep a journal

People who use a journal to track their progress are more likely to make changes that last longer. Track the following in your journal:

  • what and how much you eat and drink
  • your physical activity
  • your moods or thoughts
  • how many hours of sleep you had
  • your weight (once a week, for example)

You can get a MyHealth Records account to track your food, exercise, mood, sleep, and weight.​​​​​

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