Updated 10/17/2019 to provide you with a consistently awesome experience here at Stop Weighting, Start Doing!
Staying motivated during the lengthy pre-op process can be hard. Luckily, one of your pre-op requirements is nutrition classes. At your nutrition classes before bariatric surgery, you’ll stay motivated to continue on the weight loss path because they hold you accountable. You’ll set goals and weigh in each month, so you’ll be able to track your progress. You learn new skills to help you before and after surgery. Being surrounded by like-minded people is energizing and encouraging. At your nutrition classes before bariatric surgery, you learn the life-long skills you’ll need to be successful.
Nutrition Classes Before Bariatric Surgery
As I’ve said before, not all bariatric programs are the same. My particular program required six pre-op nutrition classes. Since my insurance required a six-month waiting period, I took one class per month. These classes were really one of the best ways I stayed motivated during my pre-op process. Learning proper nutrition for before and after surgery can help you lose weight, stay motivated and keep you accountable.
At my six classes we covered the following topics:
- SMART Goals – SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. At each class, we set SMART goals to achieve for the following class.
- Nutrition Before Surgery – We learned what our daily calorie goals should be and what foods we should be eating to lose weight before surgery. We also learned how to slow down when we eat and start to savor our food.
- Exercise – Exercise is such a vital component of bariatric surgery, and this class taught us what our requirements will be, exercises to get started and encouragement to make exercise a habit.
- Nutrition After Surgery – This class was all about the diet bariatric patients progress through after surgery. From clear liquids to a regular bariatric diet, we covered all the bases.
- Vitamin Supplementation – This class was a one-on-one consultation with the nutritionist about our vitamin needs after surgery.
- Pre-Op Diet – We learned all about our 10-day pre-op diet and the final requirements before surgery.
UCLA has a great PDF that covers the topics that are shown at their nutrition classes. You can check it out here.
When you first learn the wait time from your first appointment to surgery, you can feel overwhelmed. You have so much to accomplish in that time, and it can be hard to believe that you have to wait that long or that soon, depending on your situation. For me, six months felt like forever. I was concerned about being accountable during that time though. I knew I had 50 pounds to lose before surgery, and I am a notorious, “Give up after three months” kind of person. Going to the nutrition classes kept me on track by holding me accountable. I knew they would weigh me there, and I wanted to prove to them that I was serious about this commitment to lose weight. Knowing that I had that accountability helped keep me going through my pre-surgical program.
The classes can also hold you accountable because they ask you to write down how far into the program you are, which pre-op clearances you have completed and if you achieved the SMART goals you set at the last class. We also had homework to do after each class. We had to hand in three days worth of food journals, watch a pre-op video series, take a quiz and answer reflection questions. The classes not only hold you accountable for your weight loss but also for your requirements too. It was so nice to have a monthly check-in of my progress. It helped with accountability so much.
Keeps the End Goal in Mind
Six months seems like a long time to wait. It can be hard to stay focused on your goal when you have to wait half a year to get there. Life happens, I get that. You still have to work, take care of the kids, clean up the house, pay your bills and all the other things that are dying for your attention. It can be easy to put weight loss surgery in the back of your mind when you have so many other things trying to take up your head-space and time. Going to the nutrition classes before bariatric surgery puts a fresh reminder of why you are putting in all of this work. It reminds you of where you want to be and how much you have to do to get there.
I always left the classes with mixed emotions. Sometimes, I was overwhelmed at the thought of all I had to do yet and knowing that the hardest part was yet to come. Yet, I always left class reinvigorated towards my goal. It reminded me that what I am doing and all that I am sacrificing is worth it. I am worth it, and so are you. Surgery is just another step in this crazy life that I am so excited to take, and going to my nutrition classes before bariatric surgery reminds me of my self worth every time.
Getting Back on Track
Somewhere between the positivity of leaving my nutrition class and waiting another month to go to my next one, I always stumbled somewhere along the way. Maybe I needed a break from working out, or I stopped tracking my food for a few days. I usually reminded myself that I have to lose weight to get surgery, but there have been a few classes that I went to where I felt completely off track. These classes helped me get back on track by teaching me new information about nutrition and exercise.
We all stumble and make mistakes along the way. We’re human, and no one can expect us to be perfect 100 percent of the time. When truly matters is when you do stumble, you brush off the dirt and stand back up. Don’t let one stumble keep you from reaching your goal. It’s a lesson I learned after surgery too.
One of My Many Stumbles
I can remember one time I was feeling quite low. Having just received a few new diagnoses (sleep apnea, PCOS, exercise-induced asthma and stomach ulcers), I felt so depressed. I struggled for a few weeks just to get up and go to work each day, much less track my food and exercise daily.
I went to a nutrition class about three weeks later, and I remember truly laughing for the first time in a long time. We were learning about exercise, and as a group, we did a chair exercise video. We sat in our chairs, marched in place and moved our arms. It was a very early 90’s video, and the whole thing made me laugh. I left that class feeling positive, and it helped me get back on track. I knew I couldn’t give up.
Being Surrounded by Like-Minded People
You are going to find on your journey that some people are not going to support you. They will think, and maybe even tell you, that if you just ate better and exercised more, you would lose the weight without surgery. Don’t let those people into your head. One of the best ways to get those people out of your head is by going to your nutrition classes before bariatric surgery. There you are surrounded by like-minded people, those who are also going through the surgical weight loss journey. Your shared experience for such a life-altering event can make you friends. They understand what you are going through and can even provide resources for you.
It’s one of the things that I love most about going to nutrition classes. Being surrounded by people who just get it. They get the sacrifice and the work that you are putting into this surgery. They get how frustrating it can be to go through so many hoops to improve your health. The companionship and empathy towards one another cannot be matched. Plus, your nutritionist or dietitian is always so positive and encouraging. They are there to help you and answer any questions you have. There’s truly nothing like entering a room full of people who understand the process you are going through.
Attend Your Nutrition Classes Before Bariatric Surgery
If nutrition education is part of your pre-op requirements, it’s so important to make these appointments. They’ll hold you accountable and make sure you’re on track to have your surgery. You’ll learn so much about goal setting, nutrition, vitamins and exercise. The energy and support from others will encourage and motivate you. And if you’ve fallen off track, it can be great to recommit yourself to your lifestyle. At your nutrition classes before bariatric surgery, you’ll learn the life-long skills you’ll need to be successful. Attending these classes will most definitely encourage you and keep you focused on your end goal.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free eBook with the 10 Habits to Change Before Bariatric Surgery, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
You’ll get weighed and review your progress in the bariatric surgery program. You will set goals for the next class and learn about nutrition, exercise, vitamins and your diet before and after surgery. The classes are encouraging and will leave you feeling energized towards the bariatric process.