Preparation for your hospital stay and getting ready for an operation

Do as much moderate exercise as your pain will allow, but in particular make sure that you do the pre-surgery exercises you have been given. Click Video links below to see exercises.

Stop smoking – your chest needs to be clear for your anaesthetic.

Drink alcohol only in moderation.

Good nutrition will improve your recovery and will be part of your treatment whilst in hospital. Eating a varied, healthy and balanced diet will ensure that your nutritional needs are met. This is essential both before and after your operation.

Healthy eating

If you are overweight and your consultant has recommended that you lose weight before your operation it is best to eat a varied healthy diet. This will help maintain your vitamin, mineral and protein levels which is ideal for an operation.

If you want more detailed information please see the NHS Choices website or ask your GP to refer you to a community dietician.

General healthy eating advice

Eat more fruit, vegetables and cereals. Fruit, vegetables and cereals are all rich in vitamins and fibre (roughage). All fruits, vegetables and salads are beneficial and you should try and have five portions a day. Wholemeal/ wholegrain foods like wholemeal bread/pasta/rice, porridge, Weetabix and other high fibre cereals, beans, lentils and oats are also good for you to try and keep healthy.

Eat less fat

Grill, poach, bake or steam food, instead of frying or roasting. Eat more fish and poultry (remove the skin). Choose lean cuts of meat and trim off all the fat you can. Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and try low-fat yoghurt and margarine. Avoid high fat ‘take-aways’ for example; burgers, fish and chips, sausages and oily Indian foods. Avoid crisps chocolate, and biscuits as these are also high in fat.

Cut down on sugar

Sugar contains no useful nutrients apart from energy and we can get all the energy we need from other foods. Reduce your intake of sweets and limit adding sugar to foods and drinks. Reduce sugar containing drinks.


Limit the amount of alcohol to 14 Units for women and 21 units for men a week and try and have 2 days free on alcohol in each week. Alcohol contains calories and having too much can cause more health problems.

For information on what a unit is please ask any health care professional.

Build up advice for those not eating well or with a low body weight

During an illness or debilitation you may require additional nutrients. In such an event, a high protein and energy diet is required to maintain weight and muscle mass, rather than a low-fat diet.

If you have lost weight recently, please ask your nurse for a ‘Have you got a small appetite?’ leaflet for help and advice.

Your dietician or doctor may prescribe nutritional drinks for you if you have a low body weight or are not eating well. Please ask for a referral to a dietician if you have any concerns.