5 Best Tips When Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

After meeting your surgeon and learning more about bariatric surgery, you are likely excited and maybe a little nervous. It is exciting! Surgery is a powerful tool that will help improve your health and quality of life as you gain control over your weight. When you use the time between consultation and surgery to prepare, you’ll feel more confident and ease those pre-surgery jitters.

What to Do Before Bariatric Surgery?

Taking 5 simple steps as you prepare for bariatric surgery will help you implement a lifestyle that enables you to reach and maintain a healthy weight after bariatric surgery.

Tip 1 ) Take Vitamin Supplements

Preparing for bariatric surgery should include vitamin supplementation. After all, even the healthiest eaters rarely choose a daily diet with all of the vitamin and minerals they need. You will want to include multi-vitamin, calcium citrate, and vitamin D3 supplements.


Start with a multi-vitamin. After surgery, this will be in chewable form – at least for several weeks. The most popular supplements are Flintstones Complete or Centrum Chewable. Multi-vitamins made explicitly for bariatric surgery are also available. Look online for companies such as Celebrate Vitamins, Bariatric Advantage, Bariatric Fusion, and others. Before weight loss surgery, you can try out a chewable supplement or take a multi-vitamin in pill form.

Please note that gummy multi-vitamins are NOT recommended. They are missing essential B vitamins that your body needs.

Calcium Citrate

Many people do not meet their body’s need for bone-building calcium. If you consume 3 cups of low-fat milk or yogurt daily, you’re getting enough. If not, you may want to start a calcium citrate supplement (1500 mg). Tip: calcium citrate pills are large, you may prefer a chewable supplement, and in this case, gummies are okay. Look for the citrate form of calcium (it’s better absorbed after surgery) and keep added sugar to 2 grams or less per serving.

Vitamin D3

Many calcium citrate supplements also contain vitamin D3. Check the label. If not, you can get a separate vitamin D3 supplement. Look for 1000-2000 IU or International Units and take daily.

To prepare for bariatric surgery, take a complete multi-vitamin/mineral supplement (pill or chewable, but not gummy), calcium citrate (1500 mg), and vitamin D3 (1000-2000 IU).

   Tip 2) Increase Your Activity

Regular exercise is crucial for good health before and after surgery. Even if you have physical limitations, there are safe ways to increase activity. Check with your primary care physician before starting an exercise program. Your doctor may even be able to refer you to a physical therapist if you have particular concerns, such as a bad back or injured knee. It is tempting to wait until after surgery to increase your activity, but starting an exercise routine before surgery has many benefits.

  • Exercise raises the “feel good” hormones – dopamine and serotonin. It also lowers stress hormones. Feeling better and less stressed can decrease food cravings and help you make better food choices.
  • Increasing activity will get your heart and lungs in the best shape for surgery.
  • Exercise can help you shed a few pounds prior to surgery.
  • You will establish a healthy routine that will help you reach and maintain your weight goal.

Work time into your daily schedule for exercise – a consistent time works best for most. Start slowly from a comfortable exertion level and build from there. Increase time or exertion in small increments. Avoid strenuous exercises that may cause injury.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Walk to better health. Track steps to get a baseline of your current step count, then work to build in more steps throughout your day. Tailor your step goal to your fitness level. You aren’t competing with anyone else, just getting in your best shape.
  • Hop in the water. The buoyancy of water cushions your body and adds resistance for a dynamite workout. Check with your local school district, YMCA, or health club for a water aerobics class or swimming opportunities near you.
  • Search for chair exercise videos online.
  • Dance, clean, mow the lawn, walk to the store -just get moving.

Tip 3) Eat Six Small Meals

Eating small frequent meals throughout the day has many benefits.

  • If healthy food choices are made, this eating pattern can promote pre-surgery weight loss – getting you that much closer to a healthy weight.
  • This eating pattern helps blood sugar levels stay even throughout the day—keeping your energy high and preventing mood swings.
  • Appetite is kept in check—allowing for satisfaction with smaller portions.
  • Metabolism is enhanced.
  • Having healthy snacks available minimizes trips to the vending machine and stops at the convenience store.
  • A healthy habit is developed that will be beneficial post-surgery—one more thing you already have in place.

How Do I Eat Six Small Meals?  

The easiest way to eat six small meals is to take meals and snacks with you. You will save money and studies show that you will eat better.

Start with the Barix Clinics Meal Planning Guidelines. It’s balanced to includes all food groups. Increase portions before surgery to prevent hunger. Use the planning guide to develop your own personal meal plan like this sample. Don’t expect perfection – you can tweak your meal plan as you go along.

Tip 4) Avoid Added Sugars

After surgery, it is recommended that you limit added sugars to prevent dumping syndrome (flu-like symptoms) with gastric bypass surgery.  Limiting added sugars also helps maximize weight loss with any bariatric surgery. Learning to recognize foods and beverages with more than 2 grams of added sugar and finding alternatives is a healthy lifestyle habit that you can start now.

What Are Added Sugars?

Added sugars don’t occur naturally in a food or beverage but are added for sweetness. Look for these added sugars on the ingredient list:

  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • sucrose
  • brown sugar
  • dextrose
  • maple syrup
  • honey
  • cane juice
  • rice syrup
  • brown rice syrup
  • invert sugar
  • molasses
  • sorghum molasses or syrup
  • turbinado sugar
  • raw sugar

New food labels make it even easier. Now there is a separate line for added sugars. Choose foods and drinks with 2 grams of added sugar or less.

Naturally Occurring Sugars are Different

The sugars naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are generally well tolerated after all kinds of bariatric surgery. They typically do not impact blood sugar levels to the same degree as added sugars.

Sugar Substitutes

Enjoying an occasional sweet-tasting treat is easy. Look for no-added-sugar cookies, pies, and candy, or replace the sugar in your favorite recipes with a sugar substitute. Keep in mind that no-added-sugar or sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie-free. Favorite sweeteners include monk fruit sweetener, Stevia, Splenda, and erythritol.

Tip 5) Choose the Right Fluids

What to Drink

Most beverages should be calorie-free and non-carbonated. There are many options beyond simple water – Gatorade Zero, Powerade Zero, Mio, Crystal Light, Vitamin Water Zero, Bai Water, and iced tea (zero or unsweetened) – just to name a few.

You may also like to infuse water with fruit, vegetables, or spices. Protein drinks, milk, or fruit smoothies count as a meal/snack.

How to Drink

A smaller stomach means that beverages need to be sipped rather than gulped. Sipping throughout the day works best to ensure you get in enough fluid. Prepare for bariatric surgery by getting into the habit of carrying a drink bottle. Strive to drink 64 ounces of liquid each day.

When to Drink

To keep from overfilling the small stomach created with gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, you’ll want to drink between meals rather than with meals.

Beverages to Avoid

Drinking carbonated beverages can be uncomfortable after surgery. Gas bubbles in a small pouch or sleeve can cause a lot of pressure. Let diet pop go flat or wait at least six months after surgery before trying it.

Limit caffeine for the first few weeks immediately after surgery.  Caffeine can pull fluid out of your system, increasing the chance that you may become dehydrated. If you are drinking at least 64 ounces of fluid, you can add caffeinated products back into your diet after a few weeks.

As you prepare for bariatric surgery, start to enjoy calorie-free non-carbonated beverage options.

Other Things to Do Before Bariatric Surgery

  • Once you’ve attended a consultation at Barix Clinics, be sure to join our Facebook Support Group.
  • Tobacco use increases the risk of surgical complications. If you smoke, stop.
  • Take pictures and measurements. The scale won’t show progress every day. Having other measures of success will be very motivating.
  • Plan for time off from work to recover – discuss the time you’ll need with your surgeon. Arrange for childcare during and after surgery.

Use these 5 tips as you prepare for bariatric surgery. You’ll feel confident and ready with a lifestyle that, along with weight loss surgery, will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

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5 Steps to Beat Stress and Reclaim Peace

 It may seem that you just can’t catch a break, and stress is overpowering you. These five steps can help you learn to manage the stress in your life and come through feeling more peaceful and in control.

Download Healthful Tips: 5 Steps to Beat Stress and Reclaim Peace

Step 1: Identify

List all of the stressors in your life. Family, work, money, living conditions, and the state or direction of our country are typical stressors. Don’t forget to dig a little deeper and look for how your behaviors and thoughts contribute.

You may want to keep a log before making your list to identify stress patterns. You can track:

  • The cause of stress.
  • How it made you feel.
  • How you responded.
  • What you did do to feel better.

Step 2: Avoid

It is surprising how many stressors you can simply eliminate. You may be surprised how many stressors can simply be eliminated. A friend who always brings unnecessary drama – don’t answer the text and cut back on time spent with them. An awful work commute – plan to find a job closer to home or one that allows you to work from home.  The news can be downright scary – turn it off. Too much on your plate – say no to things that don’t have to be done or increase stress.

Step 3: Alter

If avoiding a stressful situation isn’t possible, you may be able to alter it.

The drama-filled friend – answer the text with a positive message and refuse to get caught up. Alter your work commute – go in 30 minutes early to miss the rush. Do a quick scan of the news headlines – don’t delve into the specifics. To free up more time, set tighter boundaries – I only have 10 minutes; what can we get done in that time.

Be proactive about building a balanced life with time for the things that matter. Learn to express your needs in a clear, calm manner and allow others to do the same.

Step 4: Adapt

When it isn’t possible to avoid or adapt to a stressor, it may help to change your expectations and perspective.

Take a step back and look at your friend’s drama as her drama – not your drama. Use your work commute to listen to some uplifting tunes, an audiobook, or an inspiring podcast. Before scanning the news headlines, remind yourself that the media uses shock to raise ratings. And that busy life – be grateful you have a family, a job, and can contribute to society.

Step 5: Accept

When a stressor is out of your control, the best way to cope may be to just accept it for what it is. You cannot control the weather, the behavior of others, the death of loved ones, a diagnosis of severe disease, the economy, or war. Nothing is helped when we stress over things beyond our control, but our physical and mental health suffers.

As you work to maintain a peaceful outlook amid a stressful situation, it may help to talk to someone about your feelings, forgive and let go of anger and resentments, look for any potential upside, and keep your focus on those things in your control.

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You Can Beat Stress in 10 Easy Moves

Stress is a part of life. In short spurts, it can boost alertness and performance. But constant stress can have a significant downside. Luckily, there is an easy natural way to beat stress through exercise.

Download On Track with Barix: You Can Beat Stress in 10 Easy Moves

Exercise is, in fact, one of the best ways to combat stress and improve your mood. It works by:

  • Increasing blood flow and the body’s ability to use oxygen.
  • Producing more endorphins – giving you a natural mood boost.
  • Enhancing quality sleep – vital for replenishing your body.
  • Taking your mind off your worries.
  • Improving your health, fitness, and confidence – giving you fewer reasons to stress.

How Much Exercise?

Set an exercise goal that works for you, and then adjust it. Things to consider when you create your goals:

  • Take into account current fitness level, physical limitations, injuries, or other restrictions.
  • Start small, be consistent, and build slowly.
  • As you lose weight, it takes less work to move your body. That means the same exercise uses fewer calories. You’ll want to continuously bump up your effort to account for a shrinking body weight during the weight loss phase.
  • The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week and at least two well-rounded strength training sessions.
  • Tracking steps can also be an effective way to ensure enough overall movement in your day. Build to a daily goal of 10,000 steps a day or more.

10 Moves to Meet Your Weekly Exercise Target

Any exercise can reduce your stress. It’s always best to choose an activity you enjoy. Working out with a friend or family member can also add stress-busting benefits. After all, if you’re having fun, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. If you enjoyable and exercise don’t seem to work in the same sentence, branch out to some new activities. You’re sure to find something doable.

Move 1

Brisk Walking. It’s simple, flexible, and almost everyone can do it. Even a quick 10-minute walk can restore calm. Take frequent walks throughout your day or go for one longer walk – both strategies work. Whenever possible, get out in nature to multiply the benefits.

Move 2

Swimming or Water Aerobics. Easy on joints, swimming provides a soothing full-body workout. For added social fun, try a water aerobics class.


Move 3

Dancing. You can do it in your living room, take a class, or head out for a night of music and dancing- what a great way to enjoy life and get into relaxation mode.

Move 4

Cycling. Indoors or out, bike riding is a joint-friendly workout. Recumbent bikes offer a comfortable seat and back support. Combine indoor cycling with some great music or lose yourself in a drama-packed movie. Outdoors, enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as you work out the stress.

Move 5

Yoga. The stretching and breathing combination in yoga practice is an incredibly effective stress zapper. You can warm it up with hothouse yoga, get intense with aerobic yoga, or opt for a gentle approach. 

Move 6

Tai Chi. Slow, purposeful movements and breathing provide a mind-body connection in tai chi. It’s an exercise that almost everyone can do.

Move 7

Gardening. Think of all the movements you make when gardening – stretching, bending, digging, lifting, and carrying. It works a full range of muscles. You can produce food or beautify your environment and regain calm simultaneously.

Move 8

Boxing. Boxing is a great way to burn off stress while getting a heart-pumping workout. Hang a boxing bag in your basement or garage, or find a nearby class to learn the basics.

Move 9

Strength Training. The rhythmic motion of weight lifting is soothing. The fast results help you feel strong and in control.

Move 10

Non-Exercise Techniques. Exercise is necessary for a healthy body and great for stress reduction. Combine it with other calming habits for even better results.

  • Get organized. If you are constantly running late and feeling overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list, get organized. Cut out non-essential activities and have a daily plan for your time.
  • Prioritize sleep. Sleep is your body’s time to recover. Getting a healthy dose of sleep each night can help you better tackle stress.
  • Eat right. Limit highly processed foods; instead, opt for whole, fresh foods, including lean protein sources, fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. Eating right helps you have the nutrients and pep to feel your best each day.
  • Include a daily meditation practice. You may want to start with a guided meditation – there are many to choose from on the internet. Also, consider breathing exercises – very helpful for in-the-moment stress reduction.
  • Connect with others. The human connection triggers hormones that both calm and lift us up. Make time to be with others who make you feel safe and understood.
  • Have fun. Carve out time to simply relax and have fun. Nourishing yourself in this way will put you in a better place to handle the stress that comes your way.
  • Be grateful. Take time each day to focus on all of the good in your life. It’s easy to get so caught up in the things that are wrong that we lose sight of all of the things that are right.

Bottom Line

Keep your overall ability to fight stress with a good daily exercise routine. Practice a variety of stress management techniques. Then when stress hits, you’ll be able to stay cool and calm by using the tools that work best in that situation.

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How to Qualify for Bariatric Surgery

How to Qualify for Bariatric Surgery

If you’re considering a surgical procedure for weight loss, you might be curious about how to qualify for bariatric surgery. Doctors consider many factors when recommending different weight loss surgeries to patients. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose and meet certain other criteria, bariatric surgery could be a life-changing decision that helps lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life. In fact, in many cases, it can be a life-saving measure.

Understanding the factors that influence a doctor’s decision to recommend bariatric surgery can help you identify whether you’re a good candidate for a weight loss procedure. If you’ve tried other non-surgical interventions or a number of diets over the years with no luck, then you might be asking yourself, should I get bariatric surgery? We’ll address this and a number of other common questions when considering bariatric surgery.

Top Questions About Bariatric Surgery

Is my weight high enough for me to be considering bariatric surgery?

Most physicians will address this question by looking at your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a calculation based on the ratio between your height and weight. BMI calculations place people into categories of underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity. Candidates for weight loss surgery have BMIs that place them in the obesity category.
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery lists more specific criteria to qualify for bariatric surgery based on BMI. These benchmarks include:

  • A BMI >40
  • A BMI >35 with accompanying health issues such as high blood pressure, degenerative joint disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, or high cholesterol

In general, people with obesity are at a higher risk of developing associated health conditions that impact or shorten their lives, like heart disease, stroke, respiratory issues, diabetes, and cancer. Bariatric surgery can be an effective intervention to reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases in patients who can’t achieve weight loss by non-surgical methods.

Are there other factors to help me understand how to qualify for bariatric surgery?

In addition to your BMI category, there are other factors you and your doctor may discuss when considering bariatric surgery. Some of these factors include age, past attempts at weight loss, your commitment to lifestyle changes (diet, exercise), and any other medical conditions you might have.

Ideal candidates for bariatric surgery should also be willing to commit to making long-term lifestyle changes post-surgery involving healthy eating habits and regular exercise. A highly trained nutrition team can help with this.

Should I get weight loss surgery?

Each person will need to answer the question, “Should I get weight loss surgery?” for themselves. No one knows you — your past attempts at weight loss, your goals, your expectations — like you do. Weight loss surgery can significantly impact your physical and mental health, so thoughtfully discussing your case with your physician can help you decide whether weight loss surgery is right for you.

What is the difference between weight loss surgery and bariatric surgery?

Weight loss surgery and bariatric surgery are two terms that refer to the same thing. The term “bariatric” means relating to or specializing in the treatment of obesity. Bariatric surgery involves specialized procedures that aim to help patients lose weight. There are many different types of procedures, and each case is unique.

What are my next steps?

To move forward with bariatric surgery, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of the surgery, the risks, prospective outcomes, and whether you’re a good candidate. The best way to establish this is to schedule a consultation with a specialist who can address your particular medical history, diet and weight history, risk factors, and options. Your surgeon will take the time to answer all your questions and help prepare you for any further steps along the way.

The Barix Team is Here for You

At Barix Clinics, we have an entire team of experts dedicated to helping you. If you’re considering bariatric surgery, the next step is to schedule a consultation to get all of your questions answered and visit our BMI calculation page. Here you can find your BMI for yourself as well as other helpful information and guidance on how you can continue this journey toward a healthier life.

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Food Prep to Eat Better and Simplify Your Life

Do you have room for improvement when it comes to healthy eating? If so, food prep may help get you there. Start small, learn the ropes, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

There are lots of ways to work ahead to minimize your daily meal prep effort. Use these ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Download On Track with Barix: Food Prep to Eat Better and Simplify Your Life

  • Make-ahead meals. Prepare and cook complete meals, then store in bulk to reheat.
  • Put single-serving snack, lunch, or dinner portions in containers for grab-and-go convenience.
  • Meals for one. Prepare and portion entire meals into single-serving containers.
  • Assemble meals (don’t cook), refrigerate or freeze to cook later.
  • Ingredient prep. Chop vegetables, marinate meat, and portion out spices to minimize daily cooking time.
  • Cook once and make several different meals. Lean ground beef can be spaghetti sauce Monday night, tacos on Tuesday, and chili on Wednesday.

The benefits to food preparation are numerous:

  • It puts you in control of the foods you cook. You can limit salt, added sugars, and saturated fat and serve right-sized portions.
  • You’ll save money. Preparing food at home minimizes more costly meals out. By planning and prepping, you will waste less food.
  • You’ll save time. There’s no need to wait in a drive-thru line. Cooking is a breeze when you’ve planned and prepped.
  • You’ll be less stressed. One less thing on your plate – tell me that doesn’t sound good?
  • You’ll eat better. Having healthy foods readily available makes it easy to make a good choice. After all, we all tend to do what is easiest at the moment.
  • It appears that all of this healthy home eating is good for the entire family. Teens that eat at home with their families are less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs. They also get higher grades and have better-eating habits as adults. Younger children are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Woman making tasty vegetarian lunch, close up

How to start:

To garner the benefits of food prep, start with a meal plan, a shopping list, food storage containers, and a couple of hours each week.

It can be overwhelming to go from winging it to planning all your meals and snacks. You may want to start with one meal first. You’ll undoubtedly get benefits by taking this first step and then building on your successes. Keeping it simple will also help. Repeat meals, use tried-and-true recipes or simple recipes without many ingredients.

Step 1: Meal Planning

Pencil in meals on your calendar (or find an app to use), gather recipes and make a list of ingredients needed week-by-week for an entire month. You may want to use the Barix Clinics Meal Planning Guidelines to make a meal plan. Once you do this, it is easy to tweak from month to month to accommodate seasonal foods and add variety.

Step 2: Stock up on Food Storage Containers

Food storage containers come in various sizes, shapes, and materials. Find the right containers for your food prep style.

  • The sizes you select will depend on your needs.
  • Are you prepping meals for one or a large family?
  • Do you plan to portion out snacks or buy single-serving containers?
  • What shapes do you want? Round containers work well for soups. Rectangle containers fit more compactly into the fridge or freezer.
  • If you have limited storage spaces, look for empty containers that nest for storage?
  • Some food prep containers come with dividers to keep foods separate.
  • Food storage containers are typically made of plastic or glass. Plastic containers are lighter and don’t break easily. They are not typically recommended for the microwave. If you are going with glass, ensure the containers are freezer and microwave safe. Containers should have leak-proof lids.
  • Food storage bags can be a good option. They work great if you like to buy in bulk and then portion nuts and other snack foods into single servings. Freezer bags are thicker and help to keep frozen foods fresh longer.
  • Vacuum sealed. Food exposed to air oxidizes and does not stay fresh. A vacuum sealer removes air, creates a tight seal, and keeps foods fresh longer. Both bags and containers come in vacuum seal versions. Bags are typically not reusable; containers are.

Step 3: Grocery Shop

Once you have a meal plan in place, it’s easy to put together a shopping list. With a list in tow, you can minimize impulse buying. Ordering online for pick-up or delivery can also help you stick to your grocery list.

Step 4: Weekly Meal Prep

You have a plan, containers, and groceries. Now it’s time to prep. Make it fun by cranking up the tunes and enlisting the help of family or friends.

You don’t have to make an entire week’s worth of meals at one time. Instead, you may want to do an extensive prep on the weekend and a smaller prep halfway through the week. Most foods keep safely in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

If you want to start slower, chop vegetables and cook a batch of chicken in the slow cooker. Even these simple steps will ease your work week load.

If you decide to go all-out, you can:

  • Pre-cook breakfast for the week (egg bites or protein pancakes, for example)
  • Portion out (but not assemble) deli meat, bread, and toppings for lunch sandwiches
  • Portion out snacks, and prepare dinners to reheat

Once you get in the groove, meal prep is definitely doable. Start big or start small – just start.

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