Before Surgery

Going through the process to have bariatric surgery can be overwhelming as there are multiple appointments and clearances that need to be completed prior to getting a surgery date. There is also a lot of important paperwork involved that you are responsible to keep track of and turn in. Staying as organized as possible can reduce stress and help things run smoothly. Using a calendar or reminder app on your phone or a physical planner is one of the best tools you can use to stay organized. There’s nothing worse than accidentally forgetting about an appointment or having the wrong day/time! It can also be helpful to create a log in for your electronic health record (Garnet Health uses MyChart) so you can quickly check when your next appointment is and see test results. 

Once you get a surgery date, get that planner out and grab a pen so you can add in some very important dates. The first one being the day you start your pre-op diet! This will be 15 days before your surgery date. You will follow the pre-op diet for 2 weeks, and then the day before surgery you will be drinking clear liquids only. Don’t worry - your bariatric dietitian will be explaining this in detail with you at your nutrition appointment! You can then review the post-op diet handbook and write in the dates that you will progress through the different stages, and write in any follow up appointments you may have with your surgeon or other physicians. 

Give Your Kitchen and Pantry a Healthy Make Over! 

Take some time to get rid of any trigger foods (donate what you can) that may be tempting after surgery that will not be part of your healthy eating plan. Stock up on bariatric friendly items that you will be able to enjoy after surgery so you have a variety to choose from and feel prepared. Giving yourself the most variety within the limitations of the post-op diet can help prevent flavor fatigue and repetition.  Typically you will find a wider variety of bariatric friendly products online, as the selection in grocery stores can be limited. It can be really freeing and motivating to remove all the junk food from your kitchen and set yourself up for post-op success!  

Do Some Taste Testing

Make sure you TRY the foods you will be able to have BEFORE surgery if you are not familiar with them so that you know what tastes good to you and can find a replacement brand/flavor that you know you will like.  Browse the grocery store aisles for products you may want to try like frozen mashed cauliflower, sugar free BBQ sauce, or high protein Greek yogurt.  (Note:  Your taste buds may change a bit after bariatric surgery, so be mindful of this and avoid buying anything in bulk – like protein shakes, until AFTER surgery when you’ve had a chance to try them again post-op.)  
Don’t forget about other items like measuring cups, a food scale, or a tape measure to track your weight loss progress. If you feel that the scale is getting stuck, you may actually be losing inches and a tape measure can be a great way to track this. (Hint: the Baritastic app has a measurement tracker and an area for progress photos!) 

Pre Surgery Checklist

  • Research and purchase appropriate chewable vitamins for post-op (recommendations listed in the post-op diet handbook)
  • Sign up to access your electronic health records through MyChart to check appointments and blood work results
  • Download the Baritastic app on your smart phone or tablet and enter “before” pictures and measurements and reminders to take vitamins
  • Review recommended protein supplement list and try different brands and flavors
  • Experiment with bariatric friendly recipes to get an idea of things you can make after surgery 
  • Create a shopping list of items to buy to have on hand for after surgery (broth, sugar free jell-o and drinks, yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, etc.) and purchase items ahead of time
  • Write in the dates that you can advance through the different stages of the diet in your planner or calendar so you know exactly what you should be doing and when
  • Sign up for bariatric surgery support groups to help you along the way! 


Carley Baulick MS, RDN, CDN
By Carley Baulick MS, RDN, CDN
Bariatric Dietitian Educator

Carley Baulick, MS, RDN, CDN is Garnet Health Medical Center’s Bariatric Dietitian Educator. She received her Bachelor’s and Master of Science Degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics from the State University of New York College at Oneonta. She is a Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist, holds an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management, and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Carley is passionate about nutrition and helping others reach their health and wellness goals through individualized counseling and nutrition education. Carley can be reached at (845) 333-2830 or

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