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Preparing Your Body For Surgery

For patients who are having an elective procedure, such as one to treat GERD, achalasia or a hiatal hernia, it is important that they are physically prepared for their surgery. Preparing your body for surgery is like preparing for a marathon. It takes hard work and discipline to achieve great outcomes.

Going Into Surgery, It Is Important That You:

  • Have an optimal body mass index.
  • Are in good cardiovascular shape.
  • Have reduced behaviors that are harmful to your health.

Dr. Sharona Ross recommends the following dietary and nutrition guidelines to prepare for surgery and maintain optimal health.

Your body primarily uses carbohydrates and fats for energy. When you do not provide your body with these, it will begin to mobilize fats that have been stored up over the years. The longer you deprive your body these substances, the more it will use up its own fat for energy. Therefore, the basic principle of weight loss is to consume fewer carbohydrates and fats and increase protein consumption. Look at the labels on the back of food, you may be surprised at how much fat and sugar is in even the foods considered the healthiest options.

In addition, keep in mind that the more you exercise, the more energy your body requires. The more energy it requires, the more fat it will burn.

Good Food Options to Include in Your Diet:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Egg Whites/Egg Beaters
  • High-fiber vegetables
  • Fat-free dairy products skim milk
  • Steamed rice
  • Pasta (sauce should be tomato-based, have no meat, and contain less than 4 grams of fat)
  • Baked potato (without butter, sour cream, bacon or other high-fat toppings)
  • Low-fat salad dressings (such as balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil)

Remove From Your Diet:

  • Cookies, cakes, ice cream, candy, chocolate (these foods have tons of fat and no nutritional benefit)
  • Peanuts and nuts in general
  • Red meat (steaks, burgers, hot dogs, etc. have high fat content)
  • Pork products (bacon, ham, pork chops, etc.)
  • Cream or meat-based pasta sauces (or any sauce that has more than 4 grams of fat)
  • Fried rice, mashed potatoes (if made with butter or margarine)
  • Regular dairy products (loads of fat)
  • Fatty salad dressings (Ranch, Thousand Island, Bleu Cheese, etc. - read labels)
  • Whole eggs (egg yolks and filled with fat and cholesterol)

Remove All Fried Food From Your Diet.

Exercise. Cardiac exercise helps burn fat quickly. Walking, jogging, swimming and biking are all great ways to work out. Start slow and build up a little every day. Remember the more you exercise, the more energy your body requires and the more energy it requires, the more energy it will burn. More exercise = less fat.

Stop smoking. Studies have shown that if you stop smoking, your risk of complications after surgery will be greatly reduced. Even just a few weeks after you stop smoking, your body will be stronger and more prepared for the physical stress of surgery.