Losing Weight Before Surgery

How to prepare and lose weight Before Bariatric or Body Contouring Surgery

Making the decision to undergo bariatric surgery or Body Surgery is big. One important aspect to consider is losing weight before your procedure.

Before surgery, you’ll likely be asked to shed some weight. You won’t be doing this alone. There are dedicated experts who specialise in guiding individuals through the nutritional and psychological aspects of major lifestyle changes, especially when it involves surgeries like gastric sleeves or gastric banding.

It’s important to understand that bariatric surgery, while effective, typically removes only around 70% of the excess weight. This means that approximately 30% of the excess weight may still remain post-surgery unless you take steps to lose some of it beforehand.

For many patients, a weight loss of 10 to 15 kilograms before undergoing plastic or gastric surgery (as a treatment for obesity) can have several reasons. This not only contributes to better surgical outcomes but also changes your overall health.

Insider Tips to Losing Weight Before Surgery

Discover the strategies recommended by experienced nutritionists who are dedicated to helping clients shed excess weight before bariatric or post-gastric banding body surgery. The following tips can assist you on your weight loss journey as you prepare for your surgery.

11 Tips To Help You Lose Weight Before Your Gastric Surgery

1. Know the Numbers

To gauge the expected weight loss from your upcoming bariatric surgery, you can follow these calculations:

  • Initial Calculation: Start by knowing your current weight; let’s say it’s 75 kilograms. Then, subtract your wanted body weight, which is 61.36 kilograms, resulting in a difference of 13.63 kilograms.
  • Expected Surgery Weight Loss: Now, take 70% of this difference to estimate the weight you can expect to lose after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. In this example, that would be approximately 9.54 kilograms.
  • Your Personal Goal: Recognise that you may need to aim to lose the remaining weight on your own before surgery. In this case, it’s approximately 4 kilograms.

To explain with a different scenario, let’s say your starting weight is 150 kilograms, and your wanted body weight is 62 kilograms. That implies you need to lose 88 kilograms, but the surgery is estimated to help you shed about 61.6 kilograms. In this case, you would want to lose approximately 26.4 kilograms on your own.

Understanding these calculations provides you with a clear perspective on the weight loss objectives associated with your bariatric surgery journey.

2. Consult with your General Practitioner and/or Surgeon

It’s crucial to engage in open discussions with both your General Practitioner (GP) and surgeon to ensure a well-informed and supported weight loss journey before your weight-loss surgery. Here’s what to consider:

  • Nutritional Guidance: Your surgeon or General Practitioner (GP) might recommend a liquid-based nutritional plan or an adjusted eating regimen tailored to your specific needs.
    • Such guidance can aid in your weight loss efforts before surgery. Don’t hesitate to request the support you require, as knowing that medical professionals are behind you can make the process feel less daunting.
  • Exercise Recommendations: To complement your dietary changes, incorporating exercise into your routine is essential. Seek advice from professionals who can provide guidance on suitable exercise routines that align with your abilities.
    • This not only supports your weight loss but also minimises the risk of potential injuries.

By maintaining an open line of communication with your medical team, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your weight loss journey and prepare for a successful weight-loss surgery.

3. Plate Size Reduction

Begin the process of downsizing your meal portions gradually. Consider this as a way to simulate the post-gastric surgery experience when your stomach’s capacity will be reduced to just one cup. Here’s how to approach it:

Imagine that your future meals, following gastric surgery, should not exceed the volume of one cup. This includes your protein, vegetables, bread, and dessert. This practice may not only contributes to weight loss but also aids in preparing you psychologically for the adjustment to smaller portion sizes.

By making these changes ahead of time, you can ease into the transition and ensure a smoother journey toward your surgical goals.

4. Cut out/ Reduce Sugar intake

Consider significantly reducing or eliminating sugar from your daily dietary intake. This approach can be effective for weight loss and can help curb sugar cravings. Here’s why it works:

Many people may not be aware that approximately 1 to 1.5 hours after consuming sugary foods, additional cravings for both food and sugar tend to emerge. This is due to the blood sugar response triggered by sugar consumption.

By minimising your sugar intake, you may avoid these spikes in blood sugar and the subsequent cravings, making it easier to maintain a healthier diet and keep up with your weight loss goals.

5. Learn about Glycemic Index (GI) and Digestive Responses

Educate yourself about the Glycemic Index (GI) and its impact on digestive responses. High-GI foods can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, making weight management challenging. Surprisingly, many of these high-GI foods include wheat-based products that have undergone genetic modifications over the years.

To promote weight loss and overall well-being, consider eliminating high-GI foods from your diet. This may initially require a significant adjustment, as you’ll need to replace these items with leafy vegetables and other low-GI options. These dietary changes can be particularly beneficial because genetic modifications in wheat have contributed to insulin resistance in some individuals.

Experiment with a low-GI diet for a few weeks by excluding high-GI foods from your meal plan. You may be surprised by the impact on your weight and overall health, motivating you to continue with this healthier eating pattern.

6. Identify and Eliminate Foods That Trigger Allergies

If you suspect allergies to certain foods, even if they don’t manifest as severe reactions, it’s advisable to eliminate them from your diet. This step can be beneficial for your overall well-being. Allergies can trigger inflammation in your body, which can have a detrimental effect on your health.

It’s essential to recognize that allergic reactions occur on a cellular level and may not always result in obvious symptoms like skin rashes or digestive issues. Inflammation induced by food allergies can contribute to water weight retention and other health complications. Therefore, avoiding foods that your body doesn’t tolerate well can be a step in your weight loss journey before surgery.

7. Stay hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated is vital for weight loss. Water plays a crucial role in the breakdown of fat, making it an essential component of your weight loss journey. Aim to consume a minimum of two liters of water each day to support your efforts to shed excess weight.

8. Prioritize Protein Intake

To effectively manage your weight loss, ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein.

Your daily protein intake should be your body weight divided by two = the number of grams of protein needed for the day.

A general guideline is to aim for at least 25 grams of protein per meal. When you meet your protein requirements, you’ll notice reduced cravings for high-carb foods, making it easier to stick to your weight loss goals.

9. Ensure Adequate Nutrient intake?

Evaluate your vitamin and mineral supplement regimen to ensure it meets your body’s needs. Consulting a knowledgeable nutritionist can provide valuable guidance in this regard.

Nutrients function synergistically in the body, so deficiencies can disrupt various processes. For instance, insufficient zinc, niacin, or chromium can affect blood sugar metabolism, while inadequate B vitamins can lead to energy depletion and difficulties digesting proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Prioritise a well-rounded intake of essential nutrients to support your overall health and weight loss journey.

10. Eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Drinks

High fructose corn syrup-laden beverages and food items can contribute to rapid weight gain and potentially lead to liver issues. It’s imperative to eliminate these HFCS-laden drinks from your diet immediately. Replace them with water, a calorie-free and nutritious alternative devoid of questionable chemicals. Making this switch will not only promote weight loss but also your overall well-being.

11. Implement an Early Evening Eating Cutoff

Extending the duration between your last meal of the day and your breakfast, effectively fasting during the evening, can alter your body’s weight loss capabilities.

Solely relying on the procedure is insufficient. Post-gastric surgery, you may want body surgery to address excess skin and fat.

To be a suitable candidate for body surgery, maintaining a stable weight is essential. Therefore, mastering healthy eating habits that align with your body’s needs can greatly contribute to a healthier, more balanced physique over time. Even when considering gastric banding or gastric sleeve surgery for obesity treatment, modifying your lifestyle and eating patterns before surgery, not just after, is crucial for weight loss and minimising surgical risks.

When you have a stable weight, we’re here to assist you further with post-bariatric body surgery to reduce excess skin.

Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.

Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.

Furthermore, he is experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.

How can we help?

Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 9 AM – 5 PM on Weekdays.

Phone (03) 8849 1400 Or Email us.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday on (03) 8849 1400.

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Briggs’ Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is essential (as of the 1st July 2023).
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery to book your consultation.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.