If you have weight loss surgery, are you guaranteed to lose your weight and keep it off? Are you assured of never gaining weight again? Weight loss surgery is not a cure for weight and food issues. The surgery does not do all of the work. It allows you to replace heavy habits with healthy habits to lose weight and maintain weight loss. Weight loss surgery is a tool. You can regain weight. Surgery is a tool we choose to use. If you want to lose, choose to use your surgery.
If you’ve gained weight after your surgery, medical conditions and anatomic surgical issues need to be addressed by a physician and necessary blood tests. Regular follow-ups throughout a post-operative patient’s life are important. By regular physical exams, follow-ups, and blood tests potential problems can be detected early and treated.
When health and medical issues have been eliminated as a cause for weight regain, the next step is to focus on the behavioral changes required for long-term weight loss success. Problems with a surgical procedure are usually not the cause for weight regain. More common factors are returning to the old habits that caused us to need weight loss surgery in the first place.
If you’ve regained weight, it is common to feel as though we have failed. After all, we’ve failed to lose weight and keep it off each time we’ve tried. So many times during our pre-dieting career, we felt like failures each time the diets did not work long-term. You are not a failure!! It is common for weight regain after weight loss surgery. You are not alone. The great aspect of weight loss surgery is that if you have regained weight, you can lose it. Your tool is with you to help in losing regained weight.
If you are concerned about weight regain or have gained weight that you’d like to lose, here are some suggestions to get back on track and stay on track:
* Check your protein intake each day. Are you eating enough protein? Protein provides satiation and is important for maximizing weight loss. At meals, eat protein first. One suggestion is to eat two bites of dense protein for every one bite of vegetable, fruit or complex carbohydrate serving.
* Are you drinking a minimum of 64 ounces (8 glasses) of water each day? Water is water. Flavor your water with powder sugar-free flavorings without carbonation. Water is not soda, tea, coffee, or juice. Water is a key component of getting back on track. Many times we interpret thirst as hunger. Make sure you are continually hydrating throughout the day. Sip your water throughout the day to maximize the hydration to your body.
* How is your activity level? Are you exercising regularly? Have you decreased the frequency and/or intensity of your exercise? It is also the small activities. Take the stairs instead of the escalator, select a parking place furthest from the store, take a walk instead of sitting during your work breaks. If you want to lose it, you must move it.
* Grazing is a sure thing in regaining weight from surgery. Grazing is different than snacking. Snacks are planned; grazing is unplanned eating that usually lasts for an extended period of time. Rather than eat regular meals with planned snacks, grazing can creep back in our lives very easily. Grazing results in eating too many calories which cause weight regain. You can eat around your surgery by grazing. You don’t fill your pouch enough to register that you’ve eaten yet you consume excess calories. Usually grazing is on high carbohydrate, sugary foods.
* Identify and stop emotional eating. Tune into your emotions rather than eat over them. Check in with yourself if you’re eating from physical hunger or head hunger. Head hunger feeds emotions and can result in weight gain. Physical hunger feeds your body and results in good levels of energy and health.
If you’ve regained weight, think back to a time post-operatively when you were successfully losing weight. What were you doing? What habits had you created that led to your success? Have you returned to old habits that made you heavy? To lose weight, go back to the basics of what worked for you. You were successful in losing weight, you can do it again.
The significant weight loss that occurs within the first period of time after surgery is a big motivator. Food urges return and we must learn to cope with food urges and emotions without acting on them by eating. Isn’t it more important to feel good about ourselves than make an unhealthy choice and gaining weight?
Weight loss surgery is a wonderful tool to lose weight. Success from our surgery depends on adopting lifelong healthy habits that include changes in our nutrition, exercise, and behavioral health. What you eat and how you eat changes after surgery, but the benefits of weight loss and improved health are yours. Your surgical tool is yours to use; for weight regain you can choose to lose.