More than 100,000 bariatric surgeries are performed annually in the United States. If you recently had a procedure designed to reduce the size of your stomach and facilitate the weight loss process, you may think the hard part is behind you. However, continuing to lose weight beyond the pounds you initially shed can present some challenges. If you’re looking to extend your success with weight loss surgery, here are some tips to help you out.
Get the Right Post-Op Support
Sticking to your weight loss goals post-surgery doesn’t have to be a solitary goal – nor should it be. One option is to find a support group with individuals going through the same process and facing similar challenges. If you can’t find an existing group that’s right for you, create your own support group or team with friends, family members, and co-workers willing to offer encouragement. Another way to get support is to find a “fitness buddy” to provide an added incentive to stick to your post-surgery exercise recommendations.
Identify Your Eating Triggers
It’s common for one of the reasons for weight gain to be eating triggers such as turning to food for emotional comfort or when stressed from work or personal issues. If you didn’t fully discover whether or not you have certain eating triggers before your surgery, doing so now could make it easier to avoid returning to your old eating patterns and habits.
Form a Healthy Relationship with Food
Once you fully understand what contributed to your weight gain in the first place, you should find it easier to form a more productive and healthy relationship with food. Weight regain often occurs if you fail to shift your thinking about food from being a solution to an emotional reaction to being fuel your body needs to keep running efficiently. This might involving seeking separate assistance for underlying emotional issues and employing strategies such as purposely not having comfort foods around that can be easily accessible.
Create Fun, New Eating Habits
Attempts at dieting often fail because there’s a tendency to think of changing eating habits as a temporary inconvenience. However, if you want to boost your odds of putting weight back on post-surgery, make an effort to form permanent new eating habits. Some of your new diet habits can even be fun and involve things like discovering tasty new recipes that are also low in calories and high in essential nutrients. Or you might have festive, casual cooking parties where the only rule is that whatever ingredients are brought must be healthy.
If you reach a point where your weight loss tapers off, don’t consider this to be a sign that you’ll start regaining weight. In fact, it’s perfectly normally to hit a weight loss plateau before reaching your goal weight. But if the tips discussed here aren’t helping you stay on track, however, talk to your doctor to get some recommendations more specific to your situation to help you regain your focus.