How to make it through the pre-op diet!

How to make it through the pre-op diet!
How to make it through the pre-op diet!

Following the pre-surgery Optifast™ or Optislim™ diet is a significant dietary change and can be quite difficult! As we know, the pre-op diet is critical for the liver to shrink down in size, and allow your surgeon to perform the operation more safely. While this reasoning is important, we appreciate that this does not necessarily make the diet easy to follow!

Following the pre-surgery Optifast™ or Optislim™ diet is a significant dietary change and can be quite difficult! As we know, the pre-op diet is critical for the liver to shrink down in size, and allow your surgeon to perform the operation more safely. While this reasoning is important, we appreciate that this does not necessarily make the diet easy to follow!

We aim to make it as smooth of a transition as possible, so read below for our list of tips and answers to frequently asked questions. Hopefully these will help you manage some of the common concerns that arise during this time.

Top tips for Optifast™/Optislim™ success!

  1. Expect the first few days to be the worst.
    Unfortunately as your body switches into fat burning mode it can leave you feeling pretty lousy for a few days. Headaches, fatigue, irritability and moodiness are all common, but usually subside after a few days.
  2. Try a variety of the Optifast™/Optislim™ products.
    Mix it up and try the shakes, soups, bars and desserts and give the different flavours a go as well to keep it interesting!
  3. Make shakes with ice cold water
    Much nicer and less sweet with ice-cold water as opposed to tap water.
  4. Keep up your fluids
    Aim for 2L a day as normal. You can enjoy plain mineral water, tea and coffee (with a splash of skim milk, and artificial sweetener), diet cordial, and diet soft drink too. All of these count in your 2L a day aim
  5. Keep in close contact with your dietitian
    We are here to help! We will give you a call around 5 days into the program to make sure things are going well, but if anything else comes up in between do not hesitate to give us a call!
  6. Vary your low starch vegetables! Check out our Pinterest page
    (https://www.pinterest.com/melbweightloss/) for lots of great recipe ideas with low starch vegetables.

Frequently asked questions:

  1. I have not told my co-workers about my decision to have surgery. What can I have for lunch at work without them noticing?
    This is quite a common one actually. To manage this we suggest having an Optifast™/Optislim™ bar, along with a large salad made with low-starch veg. This way you can still sit down and enjoy your lunch with your co-workers, and feel like you are having a proper meal. If you need to, you can even have the bar back at your desk, or just unwrap it before you sit down to eat, if you are concerned about people noticing the packaging.
  2. I am feeling very hungry on the diet. What can I do?
    Firstly, the first few days on the program tend to be the worst in terms of hunger. This occurs while your body is switching to an alternative metabolic pathway that burns fat, called ketosis. One of the side effects of ketosis is a decrease in appetite, so hopefully you will find that your appetite reduces after a few days.

    If you find you are hungry past this point, there are a few tips and tricks we can do to manage this. The first one is fairly obvious, however it is important to keep your fluids up. Sometimes our body can signal feelings of hunger, when we are in fact thirsty. Try having a glass of water, or cup of tea and see if that makes a difference.

    Next up are your low-starch veggies. Having plenty of these while on the plan will help fill you up, due to their high fibre content. The 2 cups a day guideline is a minimum, so feel free to have more as long as you stick to low-starch options.

    Lastly, experimenting with the timing of your meal replacements can help. You do not necessarily have to stick to a breakfast, lunch and dinner meal replacement. If you are used to having morning and afternoon snacks the below sample meal plan may help.

    Breakfast: Optifast™/Optislim™ shake

    Morning Snack: ½ an Optifast™/Optislim™ bar

    Lunch: Salad or soup made with low-starch vegetables

    Afternoon Tea: ½ an Optifast™/Optislim™ bar

    Dinner: Optifast™/Optislim™ soup, with a side salad (made with low-starch vegetables).

    Supper: Diet jelly

  3. The Optifast™/Optislim™ products have made me constipated. What should I do?
    This can be quite common, as a result of a significant dietary change. If this happens give your dietitian a call to receive personalised advice on how to manage this. Generally a daily fibre supplement, such as Metamucil™ or Benefibre™, and ensuring you are drinking around 2L of fluid a day is quite effective in managing constipation.

Hopefully these tips and tricks are helpful! The main thing is just to focus on the reward at the end and keep your goals in sight. The Facebook group is a fantastic resource during this time also, as you can share your own tips and tricks with each other. As always if you have any questions or concerns while on this program, please do not hesitate to get in touch with you dietitian. We are here to help!

  • Australian Medical Association
  • Royal Australian College of Surgeons
  • University of Oxford
  • Alpha Omega Alpha