I have been successful in losing weight and gaining health through gastric bypass. Formerly, I was a processed food junkie on roughly 10 prescription medications for obesity-related illnesses: diabetes, hypertension, asthma, GERD/acid reflux, celiac disease, and depression. Since 2003, I have left the ranks of the morbidly obese and remain free from 9 of the 10 of those prescription medications. My health and my life have never been better.
Here are my 8 Commandments for Success with Bariatric Surgery.
Click through to read the linked articles for in-depth information on each commandment.
1. Be mentally prepared for change. You will experience a major weight-loss and complete lifestyle change in a very short amount of time. Make sure that you fully understand what to expect. A good book to help you along the way is, The Emotional First Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Life after Bariatric Surgery. Change can place stress on family and marital relationships, so make sure your family is prepared for change, too.
2. Change your environment. Rid your life of the things that will prevent you from being successful. Throw away all the foods that make you fat (and alcohol and cigarettes) and replace them with nutritious whole foods. Replace your old eating buddies with friends from your bariatric surgeon’s support group, an Overeaters Anonymous support group, or online communities like ObesityHelp and RealSelf. Disconnect your cable TV--you are no longer a couch potato! Surround yourself with the things and people that will inspire and motivate you through transformation.
3. Re-learn how to eat. You must undo your patterns of unhealthy eating. A successful bariatric surgery can be undone by grazing and emotional eating. You will live well after obesity surgery through diet, nutrition, and weight control and making healthy food choices when you shop.
4. Follow the pouch rules. Simple as that – follow the pouch rules.
5. Take your vitamins. There are specific vitamins and minerals that are necessary after obesity surgery for optimal health. That’s because bariatric surgery restricts the amount of food that you eat, as well as restricts the nutrients your body absorbs. Health issues can arise from too low levels of vitamins and minerals. Last year I battled iron deficiency anemia and it took a long time to recover.
6. Get fit. You will need to find the motivation to exercise. It’s OK to start out slow, but you eventually need to challenge your body beyond its comfort zone once your doctor medically clears you for vigorous exercise. To start out there are plus-sized gyms where you may feel more comfortable exercising.
7. Be mentally prepared for disappointments. You will lose a lot of weight through bariatric surgery but it will not fix all the problems in your life. There may still be emotional aspects of your life to be addressed, such as unhealthy marital relationships or self-esteem issues. You may be disappointed in your appearance or inability to exercise and be active owing to excess hanging skin. You may experience weight-loss plateaus or weight regain.
8. Be empowered to overcome struggles. Have a plan of action. I have learned through trial and error that waiting to see a five-pound weight gain on the scale is too much for me to manage. If I see a three-pound weight gain, I tighten up my diet and exercise, or do a one-day fast on protein drinks. Some people risk alcohol abuse after bariatric surgery but there are simple solutions for treatment, too. And if excess skin is keeping you from living a life you love, then learn about body contouring plastic surgery after massive weight loss. I had a total body lift this year and never dreamed I could have a stunning body like this at age 49 after morbid obesity.
Living life well-fed,
My Bariatric Life
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Published On: December 22, 2013