8 Tips on How to Prepare Mentally for Bariatric Surgery

Medically Reviewed by Katelyn J. Mock, US-Registered Dietician (R.D.)

Mental preparation for bariatric surgery involves developing a strong emotional state to avoid stress after surgery. Here are a few tips that might come in handy while learning how to deal with the impact of bariatric surgery.

Get Prepared for Weight Loss Surgery

Acquire knowledge

The first step towards preparing mentally for bariatric surgery is to collect information regarding it. It is essential to read articles, watch bariatric surgery testimonials, or join support groups to know about the different types of procedures, their benefits, associated issues, and required lifestyle changes.

Discuss with your family

Talk to your close ones about bariatric surgery and the changes they will have to imbibe along with you. Involve them in the entire process and communicate the progress to them at regular intervals.

Establish milestones

Set a target within a specified timeframe and then benchmarks. Having tangible, realistic goals after bariatric surgery provides much-needed motivation to carry on with the challenging journey. You may start a journal to record your milestones.

Mental Preparation for WLS
Mental Preparation for WLS

Be pragmatic

Bariatric surgery is a tool for weight loss that works well with diet and exercise. It may take months for you to achieve your desired goals. In fact, it is absolutely normal to witness weight loss stalls after bariatric surgery as well. Therefore, be realistic and accept the fact that you won’t wake up skinny the next day after surgery.

Take your PCP in confidence

If you’re planning weight loss surgery abroad, try to have your Primary Care Physician (PCP) in confidence before the trip. This is what we advise our clients who are visiting Mexico for bariatric procedures as well. It is important to find a PCP who supports your decision and agrees to see you even after this surgery. With your PCP by your side, you will also feel more confident and secure in your decision.

Identify addictions

Excess intake of alcohol or tobacco can complicate the surgical procedure. Food addictions or emotional eating will be harmful once the size of the stomach pouch is reduced. Hence, identify such cravings and deal with them before you go under the knife.

Foods to avoid Acid Reflux Post WLS
Things to Avoid Before and After WLS

Start a weight loss program

Prepare yourself for weight loss surgery by introducing gradual changes in your way of living. Track your diet and measure your body’s reaction to it. You may visit a nutritionist who will plan a pre-surgery diet and exercise regimen for you.

Don’t go back to old habits

Keep reminding yourself that bariatric surgery is for your own good and following mindful habits will only augment the weight loss process. Going back to old habits is easy, but hazardous.

Sharing Weight Loss Journey after Bariatric Surgery

Question – How do I share my weight loss journey post-bariatric surgery with strangers, co-workers, and old friends?

Katelyn Mock (U.S. based Bariatric Dietitian) says:-

“Informing your boss, co-workers, family, friends, and even strangers can be a little tricky, depending on your relationship with them. It is always up to you how much you want to share with others about the surgical process and whether you had surgery or not. If the conversation about surgery does come up and you want to share, it is good to remind others that surgery is not the easy way out. You could say something like – “I have had a weight loss surgery, and it helped me lose weight. But staying healthy and maintaining my weight is a decision that I made, and I work hard every day.”

“Do not hesitate to remind people that there is nothing easy about losing weight. If you can not avoid discussing your weight loss but do not want to share with someone that you have had surgery, that is completely fine and 100% up to you. Saying something like- “I am working really hard, watching what I eat, and exercising to be healthier,” and just leave it at that.”

It is always advisable to follow the proper post-op diet and make healthy lifestyle changes in order to maintain the positive results of your Bariatric surgery.

This post addresses

  • Psychological preparation for weight loss surgery
  • Emotional readiness for bariatric surgery
  • Things you can do to get ready mentally for WLS
  • State of mind before gastric sleeve
  • How do I feel mentally ready for gastric bypass surgery?


  1. How to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery.” wikiHow,
  2. Digestive Health Team. “5 Best Tips to Help You Mentally Prepare for Bariatric Surgery.Cleveland Clinic, 2016,

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Acquire knowledge
Discuss with your family
Establish milestones
Be pragmatic
Take your PCP in confidence
Identify addictions
Start a weight loss program
Don’t go back to old habits”,
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