The gastric sleeve is a great tool. You should notice that after just 6 weeks post-op you’ve lost a significant amount of body fat. Depending on where you started and what you need to lose, that weight loss number could be anywhere from 20 to 60 pounds! That’s significant, especially in only 6 weeks. Yet this pace of weight loss will not continue for too long and I’m sure the logical part of your brain understands this. Yet I’m writing this for your emotional part of your brain. You know the part that is really excited to see this weight loss and if you can keep it going then you’ll be at your goal weight in no time!!!
This is true whether you are losing weight or gaining weight. Of course bariatric surgery is the exception to the rule but even with the tool it can take months to shed the pounds, and it takes longer for you to gain the muscular and cardiovascular strength you need to be healthy. I know that for many people it can become frustrating and demotivating when you put in the work and don’t see the changes you expect.
But let’s look at this going the other way, gaining weight. You didn’t go bed at your ideal weight and woke up not being able to fit into your pants. The slow progress of gaining body fat took years to accomplish. It took a lifestyle change that had you being less active. It took a change to your diet to help promote your weight gain. Of course stress and big life changes may have helped to keep you motivated in your weight gain progress. The difference is that you
Exercise takes a while
It’s no different with the improvements that come with exercise. It’s discouraging to not see the change you want after a few months. The difference with weight gain is it’s mostly done behind the scenes. You really aren’t working on gaining weight, it’s just happening because of the reasons mentioned above. With the gastric sleeve and exercise you have to be more mindful of what you are doing, more goal oriented, and focused. This is what makes it feel like it takes longer to lose weight and gain muscle.
When it comes to exercising after weight loss surgery it’s really no different. The gastric sleeve is an aggressive procedure. It can take longer to see the positive changes in muscle growth and cardiovascular strength. Even when you start working out you are going to be losing muscle mass albeit at a slower rate. If you have to lose a large amount of weight or have joint pain, then cardio work may be delayed until there is a more of a loss in weight. For many there can also be a learning curve with form, balance and becoming more confident in how to move. There are some
New habits take time to establish
Because of these factors it could be a year after your gastric sleeve surgery before you see the changes you want. That is a point where habits have become more ingrained into your life. From that point it’s going to take a couple years to really see the healthy changes that you are looking for.
This is not to discourage you, instead give you a realistic view of your weight loss journey. Knowing this frees you up from feeling frustrated when you aren’t seeing the changes that you thought you should after a few months. Since habits are built through trial and error, knowing you have this time gives you the freedom that you need to build and set the new habits you need to be successful. Remember you are building a new life and that takes a lot of time. So be patient with the pace of change and be patient with yourself when it feels like nothing is happening. If you are doing the work in any way good things are happening.
Yet if you want to improve the time it takes to set these habits check out our 3 Month Jump (re)start program. It’s set up to address building these habits.
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.