So, you’ve had bariatric surgery and think never again will food be a problem. Right? Well, its not quite that simple. Bariatric surgery is a powerful tool that helps you lose weight, but it is not a cure-all. Permanent weight loss requires more than a bariatric surgery. Permanent weight loss requires that we forever change the way we feel, think, and act around food. Follow these 10 easy steps to turn “bad habits” in “healthy habits.” They’ll set you on a straight course toward permanent weight loss. Bon voyage!
Permanent Weight Loss after Bariatric Surgery
Step #1: Take it On!
Tackle bad habits two or three at a time. Common barriers to weight loss are bad habits like eating while watching TV or on the computer, emotional eating, eating out of boredom, eating too quickly that satiety doesn’t have time to register.
Step #2: Be Mindful of Eating
Replace bad habits with long term healthy lifestyle changes. Meal planning, meal pacing/chewing and mindful eating are three habits dietitians highly recommend. Mindful eating means being aware of why, what and how much we are eating. It is an effective way to avoid emotional eating, eating out of boredom and snacking throughout the day.
Step #3: Slow Down and Chew
Studies show that when we take the time to chew, taste and savor our food, we naturally eat less and enjoy more. When we take the time to chew we actually get to taste our food and enjoy it. Chewing also forces us to slow down, giving ourselves the chance to recognize when we are full and stop eating.
Step #4: Deal with Emotions
It is important to find non-food related ways to cope with emotions – journaling, walking, talking to friends, etc. Soothing our emotions with food often leaves us feeling worse, which can lead to a vicious cycle: eating, feeling guilty/worse, eating more and resulting in a lack of weight loss.
Step #5: End Toxic Relationships
It can be difficult to stay on track when surrounded by temptation. People who bring you foods that they know you should not eat, or encourage you to skip workouts, are not your friends. These types of toxic relationships, such as with former eating buddies, have to end in order to ensure your weight loss success.
Step #6: Enjoy Eating Healthy
The key to permanent weight loss is to find healthy foods and drinks that we truly enjoy. We want to be choosing foods because we like them, not because we are on a “diet”. When we feel restricted or deprived we wind up going right back to our unhealthy ways.
Step #7: Keep a Journal
Keeping a food and exercise journal is very helpful. Try an app or paper and pen. Sometimes we don’t realize where the extra calories that can sabotage weight loss are coming from. Plan your meals, too. Three meals a day and one planned snack are generally recommended by weight loss experts.
Step #8: Remove Temptation
Take temptation out of the equation at home by not keeping unhealthy food in your house. If you don’t own it, you can’t eat it. This is especially important when it comes to “trigger foods,” those that we have difficulty controlling ourselves around and often sabotage our our weight loss.
Step #9: Set Boundaries
Parents need to set boundaries with their children and disallow them from bringing unhealthy food into the home. Parents need to explain to their children that they can eat/drink what they choose when they are out of the house, but to be respectful and not bring unhealthy items home.
Step #10: Maintain Weight Loss
Maintaining weight loss is harder than losing weight. Challenges are going to occur and support groups can be crucial to prevent you from returning to bad eating habits for the long haul. The group can empower and motivate you to be the person you want to be — and help you to maintain your weight loss.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life