The total time from “Hey, Doc, I want to explore weight loss surgery” to the operating table was 6 months. That’s really not all that long, considering how stubborn insurance companies can be. Then there is the work to prepare for the surgery itself.

Class comes first. You attend a seminar where everything is laid out in detail. You will go on a special diet that runs from 2 weeks before surgery to 2 weeks after, then another diet for 2 weeks after that.

I’ll pause here to say that all this happening for me during the holidays is just… how it worked out. It certainly wasn’t on purpose. But I wasn’t about to delay things just so I could eat lots of holiday food! Besides, if I could do this and weigh less on January 2 than I did the day before Thanksgiving, I would be thoroughly equipped to conquer future holidays and their large meals. 😁

Now about those diets…..

For the last 2 weeks before surgery, you go on an all-liquid, liver-shrinking diet. The liver basically rests over the stomach, and obese people generally carry fatty livers. This diet will reduce the fat – and by extension, the size – of the liver, so it is easier for the surgeon to work on the stomach. So you drink protein shakes for meals, and you can have water, Crystal Light, bone broth and other liquids. This will continue for 2 weeks after surgery to give your new stomach time to heal.

You then proceed to soft foods – pureed veggies, eggs, and the like. You have 2 weeks of this before you finally arrive at the place where there are no restrictions – other than what your new stomach dictates, that is.

Some things naturally stretch the stomach, inviting weight gain, and should be avoided permanently, carbonated water chief among them (so long, beer and soda), and in many people, lettuce. Foods high in carbs, like bread, are not banned but are likely to cause cravings for more, doing more harm than good. Protein is the permanent #1 on the nutrient list; the more, the better.

Regardless of what you eat, most critical is how much you eat. You must be closely in tune with your new stomach, and STOP eating when it’s full. This is where the long-term success will happen.