Updated 8/1/2019 to provide you with a consistently awesome experience here at Stop Weighting, Start Doing!
The bariatric pre-visit paperwork can be intimidating. It may be the first time you have an honest look at your exercise and eating habits. It starts with basic information but progresses into more personal information about your lifestyle, eating habits and past diet history. You also have the chance to create goals. Honesty is key when filling out these forms. It helps your team make decisions for your weight loss surgery in order to ensure your success. Honestly answering the questions on your bariatric pre-visit paperwork will help your doctor better support you through the weight loss surgery process.
Purpose of the Bariatric Pre-Visit Paperwork
Filling out the bariatric pre-visit paperwork was the second step in my weight loss surgery journey. I received this pack of papers in my folder at the information session. My surgeon instructed our group to complete these forms prior to our initial visit. You should know that I am somewhat of a nerd and filling out paperwork gives me a cheap thrill. There’s just something comforting and oddly fun about filling out a piece of paper in my prettiest handwriting.
However, this paperwork didn’t give me the thrill I love so much. It was so detailed and personal, and I never had to face some of these questions before. It filled me with such anxiety to actually face the demons that caused my obesity. However, I think it’s good to do so, and I believe there are a few reasons for filling out this paperwork.
Three Reasons for Answering Honestly
First, it helps your doctor understand a little more about you. The more he or she knows and the more your medical team knows, the better they can help you through the weight loss surgery process.
Second, it helps you realize how much your weight affects you. Listing your past diets and answering honest questions about your eating habits makes you realize how much food controls your life. Setting goals for the future helps you realize it doesn’t have to be this way. So while the questions may get uncomfortable, facing them is the first step to overcoming them.
Third, the bariatric pre-visit paperwork helps set the foundation for insurance approval for surgery. Showing a list of past diet attempts, personal and family history for obesity-related diseases, and your commitment to improving your health shows your insurance company that surgery is necessary for your health.
What Do the Forms Ask?
It started with your typical demographic information, like your name, address and phone number. The bariatric pre-visit paperwork asked for your current weight and height, medications, your primary care doctor and your surgical history. It also asked about my parent’s, grandparent’s and sibling
A lot of diseases can be hereditary, including ones related to type II diabetes. Since type II diabetes can also be caused by obesity, it’s important to know if you are predisposed to getting the disease. According to diabetes.org, losing weight can delay or prevent your likelihood of developing the disease. Learning your family’s medical history allows your doctor to properly screen you for any potential diseases that could affect the success of your surgery.
Facing My Habits
After the basic information is covered, the forms get more personal. I had to have an honest conversation with myself while filling out the bariatric pre-visit paperwork. It’s really hard to be honest about the habits that caused you to reach morbid obesity, but I knew if I was going to overcome those habits, I had to face them. Being honest on the bariatric pre-visit paperwork allowed my doctor to order the proper pre-op testing to clear me for surgery.
Some of the eating habit questions they asked were:
- Do you have a hearty appetite?
- How often do you eat before going to bed?
- Do you eat for reasons other than hunger?
Yes, frequently and yes. It’s not pleasant to see these answers there in plain black and white. It reminded me how out of control my eating habits had gotten, and even writing this post now makes me uncomfortable thinking about it. I’m rewriting this post at over a year post-op, and it makes me sad to think about how much my habits and weight held me back in life.
Exercise and Food Journal
Some of the exercise questions that the paperwork asked were:
- Do you work out or have an exercise routine?
- If no, why not?
- Do you enjoy exercise?
At that point in time, the answer was no, I didn’t work out, but all of my reasons why felt like excuses. I was thinking it hurts my joints, I’m too busy to work out, I don’t like exercise. But the real reason I didn’t exercise? I was too lazy. There. I said it. No going back now. My doctor and his team know I’m lazy, but I knew I could change that. Little did I know that exercise became my saving grace and replaced emotional eating for me.
I also had to provide them with three days of a food journal. I used another weight loss program where tracking food was an essential part of the program, and it worked well for me. Full confession though: I absolutely hate tracking. It requires measuring, scooping and more dishes that I have to wash. However, I know there’s something magical that happens when you have to write down all of your calories. It makes me eat less because I realize how much I’m eating. So, I sucked it up and tracked my food. To this day, I still track a few days a week to make sure I’m not overdoing it.
The bariatric pre-visit paperwork also asked me to set some goals. If you know me at all, you know I’m goal-driven. I love, love setting goals and smashing them. This paperwork asked me to dive a little deeper and determine how much weight I’d like to lose, why I want to lose weight and what things I’m hoping to come from this journey.
I wrote that I wanted to feel more comfortable in my skin, and I didn’t want to feel self-conscious or that I’m missing out on life because of my weight. Also, I also want to prevent diseases that run in my family from attacking me as much as possible. I just want to live my life, comfortably.
Answer the Bariatric Pre-Visit Paperwork Honestly
So why did I write this post and go into so much detail? Why did I confess to you the reasons why I became morbidly obese? It’s because I want to highlight how important it is to be honest on these forms. I know that it’s tough to answer and might raise your anxiety like it did mine. I want you to know that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel vulnerable and to feel like your life is a little out of control. You’re taking hold of the reigns now and making a positive life change for yourself. Answering these forms honestly helps your doctor help you. Let them.
Therefore, weight loss surgery is the best decision I could have ever made for myself. It allowed me to make other life changes and showed me my self-worth. I finally love myself after spending 30 years hating who I was. It wasn’t the weight loss or the improved appearance either. It was realizing that I am worthy, and I am good enough for myself. No one can take it away from me. Answering these questions allowed me to take a good, hard look at myself and realize that I needed this surgery to save my life. I am so glad I did. You will too.
Facing Your Demons
While it can be hard to face your personal demons on your bariatric pre-visit paperwork, it’s necessary
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1. Demographic information
2. Current weight and height
3. Primary care physician information
4. Surgical and medical history
5. Family medical history
6. Food and exercise habits
7. Mental health habits
8. Goals for bariatric surgery