My experience with my bariatric surgeon's support group is that it was useful in preparing me pre-surgery and for a short-term post-op in managing my new anatomy. However, it did little to educate me on how to maintain lifetime obesity disease management. My surgeon told me, "I do the surgery. The rest is up to you." So, in this series of posts, I will discuss the tools that I use to sustain long-term weight loss following bariatric surgery.
The tools I use: The Success Habits of Weight-Loss Surgery Patients
Back in 2002 when I was exploring weight loss surgery for morbid obesity, I read the book The Success Habits of Weight-Loss Surgery Patients by Colleen Cook. Colleen, who has successfully maintained long-term weight-loss following gastric bypass surgery, took the real life experiences of thousands of weight-loss surgery patients and condensed them into the principals in her book.
Although this is a book that I bought when I was considering weight-loss surgery, I find myself turning to it even after 8-yrs post-op from my weight-loss surgery. I was able to find all the basic information about the various bariatric surgeries available by searching on the Internet and talking to my surgeon. But this book revealed insights that no other book covers as in-depth, such as goal-setting techniques I had not previously considered.
Colleen asserts that weight loss surgery is a tool that will serve you well for a lifetime, if you learn to use it properly. I completely agree with her. My personal experience has been a mix of successes and some failures. I've seen time and again that when I follow the success habits, then I maintain my weight loss. When I slip up and stop these habits the result is that I gain weight fairly quickly. And I take off that weight when I return to following The Success Habits of Weight-Loss Surgery Patients. I think of this book as an "owner's manual" for my weight-loss surgery.
Each chapter in the book focuses on one of the success habits principals:
- Success principal #1: Personal accountability (this is fundamental - you must "get" this principal before you can work the other principals into your new life)
- Success principal #2: Portion control
- Success principal #3: Nutrition
- Success principal #4: Fluid intake
- Success principal #5: Regular exercise
- Success principal #6: Vitamins and supplements
I find particularly helpful the chapter entitled "back on track." It's for weight-loss surgery patients whom have had weight regain and need to get back on track. Colleen shares an approach that has enabled many patients to turn it around, get back on track, lose significant amounts of weight, and keep it off by adopting these same principals.
My advice to those readers who are considering weight-loss surgery, and those readers whom have had the surgery and want to make THIS the time you are going to reach and maintain your desired weight for the rest of your life, is that you learn the success habits principals and live them. If you do, you will achieve lifetime obesity management.