How to stay motivated after weight loss surgery
Life after weight loss surgery is quite different. Bariatric patients are given a tool that will help them improve their lives both physically and mentally. Weight loss surgery is for life and once the big changes have happened it is important to stay motivated to continue working with your life-changing tool.
We asked a Streamline past patient what would be their top tips to stay motivated long after they achieved their desired, healthy weight.
It is important to be both mentally and physically prepared. This should become a priority before surgery but shouldn’t be forgotten. For me personally being mentally prepared is about how I see food and reminding myself that food is a form of nourishment, not punishment or a reward. For others it might be how to handle their newfound confidence an how to keep it. Try to devise a new way of coping with a life that doesn’t involve food. I keep ‘mood diaries’ to help me recognise any patterns of behaviour that may need changing or addressing. No one can be 100% confident all the time so understanding why you react to certain situations is helpful.
Physical preparation for me is about planning. Before your surgery it is suggested that you should plan your meals in advance. That you might find it useful to prepare in bulk, a tip I still use to this day. I buy small amounts of healthy food that only I like! That way, I don’t feel like I am depriving myself of anything. I also try new foods and go back to any that I haven’t stuck with in the past; tastes can change quite considerably after weight loss surgery. I learned to love olives as I know they are so good for me.
Be mindful of ‘trigger’ situations
For me this goes hand in hand with preparation. If you prepare in advance for ‘off guidelines’ food temptations, such as birthday cakes at work they become easier to manage. Don’t be afraid to take your own meals to work or events, lots of people do this and not just those who have had weight loss surgery.
Remember the basics
It can be easy to fall into bad habits over time so every now and then I remind myself of the guidelines.
· Speed of eating – slow eating, chew well; right down to a puree with no lumps before swallowing. Remember eating fast can lead to pain and discomfort.
· Volume- do not attempt to over-eat, you will find that your intake increases with time but listen to your body and stop when you are full.
· Balancing your dietary intake – You need to choose good quality foods to maximise your intake of essential nutrients. Eat 3 meals a day and each meal should content; protein, carbohydrate and either vegetables, salad or fruit.
Support is key
I have found throughout my weight loss journey that support from those around me and from other bariatric patients has been invaluable. I attend a weight loss surgery support group once a month in Portsmouth. It gives me the opportunity to discuss ALL aspects of weight loss surgery (some you might not want to share with non-bariatric people).
It also means I don’t have to explain it to group members as they already fully understand what I am saying, thinking or experiencing. I learn something new every time I go to support group. Being able to give support to others on their journey is so wonderful, it is great to see others succeed!
Non-Scale Victories (NSVs)
Weight loss surgery is life changing and can offer so much more than weight loss. So you won’t always see a change on the scales but you might see other positive changes. Even something as simple as trimming your own toenails with ease! These should always be celebrated.
Remind yourself what life before weight loss surgery was like
It is not often that someone says to look back but in those moments, you might be searching for motivation a quick reminder of how your life was before surgery can be all you need to stay on track. Ask yourself do you ever want to go back to how you were before weight loss surgery? A look back can be a great reminder of how far you have come. But don’t dwell on it, look to the future and be proud of what you have!