The New Year’s Resolutions are past, it is now back to the grind.
I am now over ten years into my weight loss journey and have taken pause to think about what I would tell someone just beginning this journey.
- First and foremost, the surgery you have is really just a tool that allows you to make a fundamental lifestyle change. If you will remember to remind yourself of that frequently your personal success and satisfaction will be greater than if you depend on the surgery to do the work for you. This is easy to forget. When we first have surgery we are highly inspired, tend to follow the teaching and instructions we have received and look forward to each weigh in and visit. After time we become what I call veterans of weight loss surgery, this is the most dangerous time, if we have not really made those fundamental changes and continue to depend on our surgery to do all the work we will stagnate and eventually become frustrated, even occasionally regaining weight.
- Second, it isn’t just about the calorie restriction, we have to remain constantly vigilant about what type of calories we are consuming. I am not saying that everyone has to do everything perfect every single day, but habits form insidiously and rapidly, it is important to reflect occasionally on what we are actually doing. I have to find myself convicted in this regard. I had maintained the same weight for several years. I was not all the way to the goal I originally set but was reasonably happy with the way I felt. I was exercising three days a week at least, was doing a fairly good job of avoiding simple carbs and sweets, life was good. I then had to have a hip surgery, well then the exercise stopped and never got restarted, the carbs started slipping back into the diet, the holidays rolled around and the sweets showed up, guess what, here came 8 pounds that I hadn’t seen in years, OMG, this stupid surgery isn’t working anymore!
- WRONG! The surgery is still there, I was not staying focused.
- To identify the problem I took a picture of everything I ate or drank for one week, I then sat down and looked, I was aghast, the amount of CRAP I was consuming was embarrassing, at that point I vowed to get back to basics, eliminate sweets and empty carbs, exercise three times a week, increase my water intake, avoid easy to eat “slider foods”.
It is never easy to convict yourself but is occasionally necessary if we want to have a long term outcome.
You can do it,Look at what you are doing, challenge yourself for one month to make believe you just had surgery and do all those things you were taught to do in the beginning, you will not only feel the physical benefits but you will gain the personal satisfaction that in fact you are in control of your destiny, the surgery was just a tool you chose to use to get there. If you need help, go to a support group, follow up with the surgeon or dietitian or both, get a partner to go with you to the gym or the walking trail, share with somebody else what you are doing.
Good Luck,Dr. Adam SmithLapBand patient and surgeon of Fort Worth LapBand