Step Six: Weight Loss | Bariatric Surgery Program | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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Step Six: Weight Loss

Ongoing weight loss is highly encouraged. We have a "no weight gain" policy from program entry.

Some insurers have a specific weight loss requirement prior to approval.

Pre-operative weight loss allows you to enter surgery in a healthier condition and demonstrates your commitment to making nutritional and lifestyle changes.

Tips for weight loss

  • Begin reading labels on food products. Look at the amount of fat, calories, sugar, and carbohydrates in the foods you are eating. Our bodies need a variety of protein, fat, and carbohydrates but any of these nutrients in excess can lead to additional weight gain. Learn more about label-reading from the US Food and Drug Administration, the American Diabetes Association, and lifeclinic.
  • Eliminate or decrease beverages high in sugar, such as regular soda, juice (including "No Sugar Added" juice), and Kool-Aid. Even Gatorade and V-8 are not sugar-free. Begin to try sugar-free products and artificial sweeteners, such as Equal, Sweet-n-Low, or Splenda.
  • Switch to lower-fat products. Avoid fried foods and butter/margarine. Try a nonfat butter spray, such as "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" margarine spray, on vegetables, toast, etc. Cook with small amounts of olive or canola oil, or try a nonfat cooking spray. Be cautious, since a "low-fat" label may not necessarily mean low calorie, such as "low-fat" cookies.
  • Try to eat three regular meals per day, and limit snacks to when you are actually hungry.
  • Keep a record of everything you put in your mouth throughout the day, and then evaluate how frequently and how much you are eating. The fitday website offers a free online membership, which can calculate the amount of calories, fat, protein, carbohydrate, and even some vitamins/minerals you get from the foods you eat.
  • Try smaller portion sizes, using smaller plates, smaller utensils, and taking more time to chew your food. You may find you are actually very satisfied with a smaller portion of food.
  • Decrease food availability. Avoid putting pots of food on the table at a mealtime, which encourages eating without hunger. Put leftovers away before you begin to eat, and only have a second portion if you are actually hungry.
  • Purchasing individual-sized portions or smaller packages of foods can help to control or decrease caloric intake. Avoid bringing more than you need to the table or sitting room when snacking or eating a meal.
  • Increasing activity, as tolerated and directed by your primary care physician (family doctor), can help you lose and maintain weight loss. If you have specific limitations, do what you can. There are different exercises for upper body and lower body, as well as some exercises you can do sitting in a chair. Some activities, like swimming, do not put as much pressure on joints. Find opportunities during your day to be more active, such as parking your car further away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and getting up to change the channel on the TV, instead of using the remote.
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