Permanent weight loss is not a guarantee of bariatric surgery. You must do the work to not slip back into ingrained behaviors, habits, and ways of relating to food, as well as physical inactivity. In this 3-part interview with Lori Rosenthal, a bariatric dietician, we examine some of the healthy behaviors necessary and pitfalls to avoid in order to be successful with weight loss for your whole lifelong.
Lori Rosenthal, MS, RD, CDN is a bariatric dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. She provides individual nutritional counseling for weight management, focusing on dietary and lifestyle modifications needed to promote successful, sustainable weight loss before and after bariatric surgery. Follow Lori on Twitter @LoRoRD.
Two Things that Will Ruin Your Weight Loss
While you’re sure to have friends, family members, and coworkers who support your new healthy eating habits, you’ll also have those people who won’t. They don’t want you to change. Maybe they cannot relate to the “new” you. Maybe they even think they are being nice by leaving a cupcake on your desk, for example. Whatever the reason, you are subject to their antics or comments that set you off course and sabotage your weight loss.
Or maybe its you who is your own worst enemy. You went through the pre-op program and passed the bariatric psych exam. And you had the bariatric surgery. Maybe you are newly out or maybe you are years out from the surgery, regardless, for some reason your efforts ended along the way. You have slipped back into your former toxic habits a little at a time. Or maybe you never even began good habits.
In my opinion, these are the two things that will ruin your weight loss. Let’s read what Lori Rosenthal had to say on the matter…
Toxic People who Sabotage Weight Loss
My Bariatric Life: Should newbie bariatric patients end friendships with former “eating buddies?”
Lori Rosenthal: Even the most disciplined person can have difficulty staying on track when surrounded by temptation. At the end of the day, we are only human.
Sometimes friends and family members are purposefully unsupportive and try to sway people off track by offering them unhealthy foods/drinks. It is unfortunate, but it does happen. If someone is bringing you foods they know you shouldn’t eat or pushing you to skip workouts, they are not your friend. I hate telling people to end friendships, but these types of toxic relationships have to go in order to ensure success.
I always remind my patients to remember how they felt before they lost weight and why they wanted the surgery to begin with. This is the best way to combat “sabotagers” and stay on track. Standing up for ourselves and our health is very empowering. Use that power to remain strong.
My Bariatric Life: Who, then, should the bariatric patient include in her circle of friends?
Lori Rosenthal: It should be comprised of people that understand, support and encourage the healthy dietary/lifestyle changes the bariatric post-op patient has adopted. They can be friends, family members, other bariatric patients, etc. The most important thing is that they are people that empower and motivate the patient to be the person they want to be.
My Bariatric Life: Why is the support of family and friends so important to achieving permanent weight loss — won’t the patient simply lose weight from the bariatric surgery?
Lori Rosenthal: Bariatric surgery is an amazing tool, but it is not magic. In order to lose weight and keep it off for life, post-op patients need to not only make healthy dietary/lifestyle changes, but maintain them. Maintenance is the hardest part and having support is crucial. Challenges are going to arise and haters are going to hate. It is very helpful to have people to talk to about these issues instead of reverting back to old, unhealthy habits.
Toxic Habits that Ruin Weight Loss
My Bariatric Life: What are some common bad habits bariatric patients need to break?
Lori Rosenthal: Mindless eating, for example, eating in front of the TV or computer. Eating out of boredom.
My Bariatric Life: What, then, are the good habits bariatric patients need to develop in order to achieve permanent weight loss?
Lori Rosenthal: Meal planning, meal pacing/chewing and mindful eating are three habits we highly recommend our patients work on before surgery. Learning to separate solids and liquids is also very important.
My Bariatric Life: Please explain “mindful eating” and why it is an important habit to develop.
Lori Rosenthal: Mindful eating means being aware of why, what and how much we are eating. Begin by asking, “Am I really hungry?” It sounds simple, but it is an effective way to avoid emotional eating, eating out of boredom and grazing (snacking throughout the day).
During meals, focus on the meal. Turn off the TV, close your laptop and put down your cell phone. Also, take time to chew your food. Starting from infancy we have been trained to eat quickly. We heard: “When you are finished eating you can go play.” “Finish up or we are going to be late.” 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. Studies show that when we take the time to chew, taste and savor our food, we naturally eat less and enjoy more.
My Bariatric Life: And what is meal pacing? How many times per day should we be eating?
Lori Rosenthal: Meal pacing means the speed at which we eat our meals and when we eat them. Slowing down at meals is an important piece of the weight loss process. Putting our fork down between bites. Putting our sandwich down between bites.
It takes about 20 minutes for our brain and our stomach to catch up to each other. When we take our time and are mindful, we are able to notice when we begin to get full and stop. After bariatric surgery, patients go from a little full to sickly full very quickly. By slowing down and paying attention, the likelihood of not tolerating meals decreases.
Eating 3 meals per day with protein and 2-3 snack as needed is ideal.
If you like this article, be sure to read the entire interview with bariatric dietician Lori Rosenthal, “How to Keep the Weight Off for Life.”
- Part 1, Lifelong Eating after Bariatric Surgery
- Part 2, Comfort Eating after Bariatric Surgery
- Part 3, Two Things that Will Ruin Your Weight Loss
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life