Weight loss surgery is quite impressive on how fast it can reduce the amount of body fat that you have. In some ways the speed of the weight loss can be detrimental to keeping the weight off long-term. The reason I say that is that with weight loss surgery only takes months to show a fairly positive effect on your weight. Yet it can take years for your brain to catch up to your body.
Weight loss surgery aftercare.
From the years I’ve been working with people that have gone through weight loss surgery the one thing I’ve noticed is the inconsistency to aftercare. That is helping those that have gone through this surgery start to build the habits so that they can be successful with their weight loss as well as successful with maintaining that weight loss.
For many people the successful nature of bariatric surgery can lull them into a false sense of success. That first year after surgery you really don’t have to do a great deal to lose a large percentage of body fat, but if you don’t look at this surgery as helping you build a new lifestyle, that success is short-lived. Building a new lifestyle is not an easy thing and it starts as soon as you come out of surgery.
Some of that lifestyle it’s forced upon you with a reduction of your stomach size, some of it you have to consciously put effort into in order for it to work. And it’s the latter but I want to talk about more.
Do you need to exercise after weight loss surgery?
Yes. This one question has a lot of contention in the world and I don’t know why. Just because you’ve had weight loss surgery does it mean that you don’t have to exercise . As a matter of fact exercise becomes doubly important after weight loss surgery just to help you maintain or at least slow down the amount of muscle mass loss that comes with this procedure. But to maintain your weight loss in the long term, exercise has to be an important aspect of your life. Building this habit from the beginning of your post-op life will set you up to be more successful ,with less chance of weight regain.
If you’re reading this thinking about going into weight loss surgery, exercise might seem miserable to you and you maybe right. Movement when you are obese isn’t an enjoyable thing. But I want you to not make the decision about exercise using your current state as a reason not to. I want you to think about how you are going to feel 6 months + post op. When the weight isn’t a big, when the joint and back pain is as bad (or completely gone). Think about how exercise and movement will be much less of a chore.
If you’re reading this years after surgery having gained weight there’s no reason you can’t start now. It might be a little bit more difficult now that you’ve put back on weight but you still can do it. But you know the rules that come with this procedure. You know what you can and can’t eat. And if you don’t please reach out and I will be happy to talk with you about all of that and more. You are not alone with this.
Setting up a good eating habit.
When you are just out of surgery the amount of food you can eat is tiny. But as you probably know your stomach will expand and you will be able to eat more. If you don’t try to put into place good habits around you’re eating in this case your quantity you’re going to gain weight in the future.
Never believe your eyes when it comes to the amount of food that’s on your plate. Some of the most successful bariatric clients that I’ve known have never given up the habit of measuring the volume of their food. What this has done is slowed the rate that their pouch increases in size giving them the opportunity to feel fuller sooner and reducing a lot of excess calories.
Getting the intangible habits under control.
Most of the things I’ve talked about it till now you can think of as from the ears down. This section is from the ears up it’s all about your mental state. Questions you need to ask yourself like do you eat when your stressful, bored, happy, all of the above,. What does food mean to you? How does your social life affect your weight gain or weight maintenance? What other subtle triggers get you to eat?
These are just a few questions that pop up when you start thinking about the mental aspect of this weight loss journey. This is probably the most important and most difficult parts to work on. It’s important because just because you have lost fat doesn’t mean you have lost your fat mind. It’s important because this is a new life and new lives need new mindsets. Adjusting old habits, hurts and fears is a long process to undertake. But it’s a process with a genuine desire to improve you will be successful.
I know I just briefly touched on some of the aspects of weight maintenance and I hope it’s at least get you thinking about how you can be both successful at losing weight with bariatric surgery as well as maintaining that weight loss for the rest of your life. Bariatric surgery is not a shortcut; its just as difficult of a process as any other weight loss program, and in some cases it’s more difficult. But it is something you can do. When people call this a weight loss Journey that’s exactly what it is.It’s a long process, there’s a lot of work involved but the rewards you get for that work are unlike anything else in life.
Geof has been working with bariatric surgery clients for over a decade. His goal with Phoenix Fitness is to give you the tools to make your weight loss successful for the long term.