St. Luke's B.E.S.T.

If You are Overweight Prior to Surgery

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If you are overweight, losing weight prior to surgery is the healthy thing to do. Making small changes to your eating and exercise habits can make a big difference. It can help you shed enough excess weight in the weeks or months before your surgery to make a difference in your recovery. And, you don’t necessarily need to achieve your ideal body weight right away. Losing even a portion of your excess body weight may lower your risk of complications during or after surgery. If your BMI is above 27, we recommend that you consider losing 3-5% of your current weight.

General tips:

  • Eat at least 3 times a day.
  • Pay attention to your body. When you feel you have had enough to eat, stop. Quit before you feel full.
  • If you still feel hungry, wait 15 minutes before you have more food. If not true hunger, cravings will go away.
  • Drink plenty of calorie free drinks or choose to just drink water.
  • Focus on adequate protein: Choose lean meats, fish, and seafood, low or non-fat cheese, fat free milk products or soy milk, Greek yogurt, beans/peas/lentils, ¼ cup nuts or 2 Tbsp. nut butter
  • Try a protein bar with more than 7 grams of protein/serving and less than 150 calories/snack (meal <300 calories).
  • Choose ample fiber: vegetables, fruits and whole grains are good sources.
  • Reduce sugar.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Keep all food in the kitchen, only eat in a chosen place, and keep food on the stove to avoid unnecessary seconds.
  • Prepare meals without added fat and sugar.

How can you minimize muscle mass loss?

  • Add more physical activity to your day.
  • Eat a varied and healthy diet with adequate lean protein.

The goal is to lose 1-2 lbs. of weight per week leading up to surgery unless otherwise directed by your physician.