At the Florida Surgical Weight Loss Centers, we recognize that achieving significant weight loss requires you to make several lifestyle changes, as well as learn many new skills. Here are just a few tips to help ease your transition and to more effectively prepare you for bariatric surgery and to sustain your weight loss efforts following surgery.

Helpful Tips Before Surgery

Losing even a small amount of weight before undergoing any type of weight loss surgery can significantly reduce surgical risks, lessen surgical complications and reduce healing time. A study, published in the Archives of Surgery, found that pre-surgical weight loss was especially helpful for people who, in addition to being severely overweight, had serious weight-related medical conditions. Patients who lost 5% or more of their body weight before surgery spent less time in the hospital after surgery than patients who had not lost weight beforehand. Patients who lost 10% or more of their body weight before undergoing weight loss surgery were more than twice as likely to lose 70% of their body weight by one year after surgery when compared to patients who lost up to 5% of their body weight ahead of time.

Replace your normal caffeinated beverage with decaf coffee, decaf tea or a non-caffeinated drink. Patients who stop consuming caffeine suddenly at the time of surgery may experience symptoms of withdrawal, such as intense headaches.
Carbonated beverages, such as sodas/soft drinks, contain compressed gas. When this cold gas reaches your 99.5 degree stomach, your stomach is forced to expand.
Reduce your intake of foods containing refined sugars, such as doughnuts, cakes and candy, as well as products containing sucrose. Introduce more whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, low fat dairy products and lean meats into your daily diet.
Choose sensible portions of nutritious meals that are lower in fat. Also, try not to eat while watching TV, since this can negatively influence how much you eat. Also, start to keep records of your food intake.
Eating slowly gradually reduces your appetite and allows you to eat less without feeling deprived. Plus, you’ll actually enjoy the taste of your food more!
Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Walking is a great exercise! Also, keep records of your physical activity each day.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking lowers the amount of oxygen in your body and negatively affects your blood circulation. In addition to impeding your healing process following surgery, smoking increases your chance of infections, forming painful ulcers, as well as inflammations in your intestines and stomach.
Obesity is caused by many different factors, such as genetics, medical conditions and lifestyle habits. In many cases, psychological and emotional issues influence eating habits and obesity — including boredom, frustration, sadness, depression, loneliness, stress, anxiety and anger. Emotional eating is a common way to sabotage weight loss. Become aware of the situations and emotions that trigger overeating and try to avoid those triggers.
When you have the urge to overeat due to a negative emotion, try to distract yourself by participating in a non-food related activity: take a walk … read a book or magazine … call a family member or friend … work on a craft project … write in a journal. The key is to get your mind off of food.
Many times, you are your own worst critic. Just remember, the fact that you’re reading this demonstrates that you are taking action to improve your quality of life. Negative self-reflection can become so habitual that you accept it as fact. These negative thoughts can limit your opportunities, confidence, relationships and health. Take this weight loss journey as an opportunity to turn your thoughts around. Take the time to practice positive thinking as much as you have practiced self-disapproval. You can do it!
Use at least one of the health tips featured on this page. These include gradually decreasing the amount of caffeine, carbonated beverages, high sugar foods and fatty foods you consume; gradually increasing your physical activity; eating at a slower pace; reducing meal portions and quitting smoking. Remember, only set attainable goals — do not overwhelm yourself by tackling too much at one time. Every bit of effort makes a positive difference.
Every step you take toward achieving your weight loss goals is worthy of self-praise. Reward yourself for becoming one step closer to a happier, healthier you.

Helpful Tips After Surgery

You’ve taken significant steps to achieving a happier, healthier life by undergoing weight loss surgery. But, bariatric surgery is just a tool to jump start weight loss — surgery alone cannot reduce weight. Achieving healthy, long-term weight loss is a life-long commitment. Here are a few tips to help you achieve your weight loss goals after your surgical procedure.

Your surgeon and the Florida Surgical Weight Loss Centers will provide nutritional education and personalized guidelines so that you know what you should eat and drink following your surgical procedure. Following these guidelines will help you achieve healthy weight loss. You should also keep a journal of your food and drink intake.
After your surgical weight loss procedure, you will be faced with the same psychological and emotional issues that may have influenced personal eating habits in the past. To help you better manage stress, find a non-food related activity that helps you relax and unwind. Take a walk … exercise … read a book or magazine … call a family member or friend … work on a craft project … write in a journal. Above all, avoid stress eating. The key is to get your mind off of any food-related temptation. It’s important to recognize stress triggers and differentiate between true hunger and emotional hunger. If you must eat, opt for healthier snack/food options. If your stress triggers are causing you difficulties with your weight loss journey, contact us and attend an upcoming support group meeting.
When it comes to overcoming obesity, you are not alone. Networking with others who share similar experiences enables you to exchange positive reinforcement, emotional support and hope in a positive, non-judgmental environment. You may also learn new coping skills. Florida Surgical Weight Loss Centers offers support groups for postoperative patients. Patient support groups are also available online on such websites as
Your successes at each step of your weight loss journey will continue to motivate you as you strive to reach your long-term weight management goals. Take the time to write, or journal, your achievements and successes.
Undergoing any type of surgery, including bariatric surgery, takes a significant toll on your body. Realize that your brain and body must adjust to a new lack of hunger. Be patient with your rate of weight loss. Remember, every pound counts. Also, surround yourself with supportive friends, family members and bariatric patient groups.
Remember the adage, “to err is human”. From time to time, you may fall back on old, unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits. The key is to recognize these falls as quickly as possible, and to get back on a more positive track to your happier, healthier life.
Having an exercise partner makes the commitment to work out a bit easier to fulfill, helps to keep you accountable to your goals and workout regimen and helps to keep you motivated. Also, having an exercise partner can make working out much more enjoyable and can enhance your workouts by providing valuable moral and technical support. Even a dog can be a great part of your weight loss support system and your exercise program. For many people, spending some time with a furry friend can be a huge stress reliever, while caring for an active dog is a good way to become more active yourself.
If you just can’t seem to find the motivation to exercise regularly to maintain weight loss, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It’s very common for weight loss surgery patients to struggle with the dietary and lifestyle changes that weight loss requires. Going from complete inactivity to exercising on a regular basis is hard for even the healthiest of people, so don’t feel discouraged if you find yourself feeling less than motivated. Don’t let feelings of negativity get you down after weight loss surgery—take control of your thoughts to stay on track with weight loss. If you need more help overcoming such feelings, don’t hesitate to speak with your weight loss support group. Take time to examine why you aren’t motivated to exercise and determine if there is a way to alleviate the issues. And remember, it’s never too late to exercise, even if you’ve skipped a day or a few. And remember, you may experience mild symptoms of discomfort when starting a new exercise, such as mild headaches, nausea, muscle and stomach cramps, etc. — especially if you’ve been out of practice for a while. If you do feel your symptoms are something more serious or are causing your concern about working out again, please contact us.
For some people, chewing gum helps to break the habit of overeating. However, chewing gum after weight loss surgery can result in a few uncomfortable and costly consequences. When chewing gum, air escapes into your digestive tract — which may cause a lot of gas and discomfort. Chewing gum is also known to stimulate the appetite for some people, which could leave you feeling the need for further sustenance. If you chew gum to help combat bad breath, consider sugar-free breath mints or mint strips that dissolve on your tongue. Minted floss also helps promote better breath without involving digestion.
Take advantage of the hot Florida climate and partake in water exercise as part of your workout regime. Water aerobics, swimming and Aqua Zumba are great ways to burn calories, stay on track with your weight loss efforts and stay cool during hot Florida days.
One of the best forms of exercise after weight loss surgery is walking. Get outside and enjoy the beautiful environment that is Florida. Even gardening serves as a good way to promote health and wellness. Gardening helps you to relax, relieve stress, improve your mood, burn calories and improve your nutritional habits with homegrown fruits and vegetables.
When you’re finding foods for your diet after weight loss surgery, color serves as a huge indicator of the nutritional value that a food contains. Many fruits and veggies get their colors from natural pigments that also serve as important nutrients and antioxidants, making color an important factor to consider when balancing nutrition.
  • Orange and yellow fruits/vegetables typically come from plant pigments called carotenoids, which are scientifically proven to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Orange foods contain beta-carotene, which your body naturally converts to vitamin A to help maintain eye and skin health.
  • Red and pink foods, such as tomatoes and watermelon, get their color from lycopene, a carotenoid with powerful antioxidant properties. Foods that contain this pigment are known to reduce the risk of many kinds of cancer, particularly prostate cancer, while fighting off cardiovascular disease and macular (eyesight) degeneration. Other foods in this group, like strawberries, raspberries and rep grapes, are colored by anthocyanin — antioxidants that keep hearts healthy and protect cells from damage.
  • Green fruits and veggies are colored by chlorophyll, the substance that allows plants to perform photosynthesis and convert sunlight into energy. Many of these plants, particularly dark greens, also contain lutein — a carotenoid that plays a part in eye health and reducing the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They also tend to have a lot of folate, an important B vitamin.
  • Blue, purple and white fruits and vegetables can also significantly benefit your health, so incorporate a wide variety of colorful foods to get the most balanced nutrition possible.
Living a healthy lifestyle on weekends and holidays, and during vacations, may seem more challenging as temptations, including barbeques, family get-togethers and restaurants, can sabotage weight loss efforts. Consider pre-packing healthy snacks to have at hand so you won’t be tempted to eat foods that conflict with your goal. A “LAP-BAND® travel pack” can keep you on track: pack protein powder to mix with readily available bottled water; small snacks like nuts, lunch meats and fruit; and protein-rich meal replacement bars. If possible, limit the amount of times you eat out and only choose restaurants with healthy, low calorie options. When planning vacations, find different activities that involve walking, or partake in other forms of physical exercise.
While it doesn’t take a lifetime to lose weight, it will take a lifetime to maintain the healthy habits that will permit you to keep the weight off. Getting the LAP-BAND® provides the momentum you need to begin your weight loss journey — but please keep in mind that it will take time and effort to reach your weight goal and live a healthier lifestyle.

Life is short and our time is precious, especially when it comes to weight loss. We know what it’s like to be super busy — between juggling work, kids and home life, finding the time to exercise can be challenging. But there are many ways to incorporate fitness into your busy schedule:

  • When you’re on the phone, it’s time to tone! Use phone time to stand and walk around. Walking and talking is any easy way to double your calorie-burn. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, sitting burns up to 87 calories an hour, whereas standing burns 134 calories an hour.
  • When you’re in line, tone your behind! While you’re waiting in line, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and squeeze your glutes together. Repeat this move 15 times or at least until the line starts moving.
  • When you’re at a red light, make your tummy tight! Take some time to tone and de-stress when you are in your car. Keep your hands on the steering wheel or on top of your thighs and exhale slowly as you tighten your abdominal muscles — imagine that you are sucking in your belly button towards your spine and hold it for a count of three seconds. Repeat 10 times or until the traffic starts moving. When running errands or walking around the office, get a brisk walk in! Considering a brisk walk can burn up to 300 calories an hour or more, use your errand-running time to get fit.
  • When you’re at a desk, boost your chest! Pushups are a great way to tone and tighten your arms and chest. During your breaks, stand approximately 2 – 3 feet from your desk and lean in, keeping your legs straight. With your hands shoulder-width apart, place them on the edge of your desk with your arms straight. Carefully bend your elbows as your lean your upper body towards the desk and pause when you nearly touch, then push back to starting position. Repeat this mini-workout 10 – 15 times or until your break is finished.
  • Fit in exercise while at work. Take 10 – 15 minute breaks throughout the day to work out. Take a brisk walk around the office, climb stairs or go outside to perform a couple sets of 10 lunges. If space is limited, do jumping jacks.
Nuts are a healthy part of any balanced diet. Though they are high in fat, they contain healthier, unsaturated fats and can reduce the body’s levels of bad cholesterol. Nuts also reduce inflammation in the arteries, helping to lower the risk of heart attack and heart disease. Adding nuts to your diet — in moderation — can even help you lose weight, as they tend to fill you up quickly and are a much healthier alternative to many snack foods. All nuts contain protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, so you shouldn’t hesitate to reach for any kind of nut over a bag of potato chips when you’re feeling the urge to snack. However, pistachios, cashews and almonds are the healthiest choices for weight loss snacking as they contain the lowest caloric and fat content. For any nut, the healthiest option will always be the raw, plain nut. Anything sugar-coated or honey-roasted will pack in empty calories, counteracting the natural healthiness of the nut. Pay attention to the nutritional label of any prepackaged nuts you buy and avoid products that contain high levels of sugar and unhealthy fats.
In addition to eating a healthy diet, exercising more and managing your stress levels, it’s important to incorporate another lifestyle habit that helps to maintain long-term weight goals: sleep. Improper levels of sleep — getting too much sleep and too little sleep — can lead to weight gain. Try to get 6 – 8 hours of sleep every night to promote the healthiest weight level.
Becoming more positive and more optimistic about your overall health can enhance your body’s ability to heal and your immune system’s ability to prevent illness. To promote a more positive outlook on life, try expressing yourself creatively through journaling, painting or other activities you enjoy. Meditation is also a great way to clear your mind and manage stress on a regular basis. Engaging with friends or participating in support group meetings can help boost your outlook.
According to an analysis from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), certain personality traits can cause excessive weight gain, including thrill/excitement seekers, impulsiveness, disorganization, people pleasers and night owls. By recognizing certain personality traits, you may be able to stop them from comprising our health.