weight loss surgery success

10 Strategies for Weight Loss Surgery Success

August 12, 2016

It’s never too late to strategize to achieve your goals. Whether you’re pre-op, many years post-op, or somewhere in the middle; these strategies for weight loss surgery success will help you as you begin your journey or as you are getting back on track to obtain a healthy post-op life.

Check out these 10 Strategies for Weight Loss Surgery Success

1. Personal accountability

This is where it starts. If you are not personally accountable for the choices you are making and your actions in your WLS path, you are setting yourself up for failure. As humans, we tend to make excuses for ourselves, or we don’t want to see the truth. You may not realize how many calories you are actually ingesting daily because you feel like you aren’t eating that much, or you tell yourself you just can’t get out there and exercise for whatever reason. Listen, I’ve done it too, or I wouldn’t be saying this, if you want to be successful, you need to be personally accountable.

2. Follow your bariatric program nutritional guidelines & plan for your surgery type

Online I see a lot of questions as to what you can and cannot have to eat or drink in the weeks before or following surgery. Every surgery is different, and every program is different. A lot of answers are going to vary, and I’ve seen some not so great advice given. If you have a question, follow-up with your bariatric program to get the clearest answer. If you no longer have access to your bariatric program or a nutritionist, you can check out nutrition articles written by bariatric professionals. What a great resource!

3. Drink at least 64 oz of water a day

Drinking adequate amounts of water is essential to the success of any weight loss surgery patient. Hydration is so important to your health, and it is very easy to get dehydrated post-op. Sip, sip, sip that water! The further you are out from surgery, the easier it will become. Sipping water will also help you stay less hungry between meals and curb snacking – Hello Success!

4. Exercise – at any level!

You may have seen them, the 400-pound WLS patient turned Ironman or marathon runner, so amazing and inspiring, right?! I have totally been inspired by some of these WLS athletes, but I am no ultra-anything. In fact, I really have to force myself to get up and do something, ANYTHING, but even if it’s walking, swimming, riding a bike… do something! Keep your body moving on a consistent basis and you are sure to have success! (I am telling myself this as well!)

5. Support

Support is key to your WLS success. If you don’t have support, you are more likely to fall down an unsuccessful path. When you seek out support, in groups online, support groups locally, in friends and family, it lends strength, encouragement, and knowledge. Statistics show those who continue to attend support groups are more successful than those who don’t.

6. After-care follow-up

Make sure to keep follow-up appointments in your after-care for your surgery. Get your labs checked; go to your appointments with your surgeon, nutritionist, etc. These are important. They are scheduled for you to make sure that you are healthy and on track to a healthy life post-op. Some bariatric programs are backed up and see a lot of patients; know what their schedule is for after-care in the weeks, months and years following surgery and if you don’t hear from them, call in and schedule your appointment.

By making your after-care as a priority, the appointments help you to know where you are at, accountability, get useful information and tips from the professionals and they can also help get you back on the right track if you’ve veered off a bit. Are you overdue for an appointment? You can pick up the phone and call, now! Or after you are done reading this article 😉

7. Don’t get comfortable and let old habits creep back in

WLS is not a magic pill. The weight melts off for some people in the first year or two. They may eat a cookie here, some fries there, and they still continue to lose weight, so here they are, thinking, “I can pretty much get away with eating anything I want, and I still lose weight!” Good luck with that. Don’t get comfortable. Don’t let old habits sneak back in. You had WLS for a reason. Don’t forget that.

8. Figure “it” out

What is “it”? That is, why were/are you obese? Do you have an unhealthy relationship with food? Are you an emotional eater? Do you know how to eat healthy? What are your triggers? This is also where personal accountability comes in. No more excuses. Figure it out. Follow that through with support from a therapist.

Honestly, I thought I had it figured it out. I had lost the weight, I was at goal, I had my bypass helping me, and then life hit me in some pretty major ways, and I realized I didn’t have it like I thought I did. I only wish I had gone to a therapist and worked through issues and found ways to channel stress and situational depression before I went through it a couple of times over and gaining 30 lbs.

9. Track Nutrition, Take Supplements

One way to really be sure you are not ingesting more calories daily than your set goal is to track what you are eating. There are plenty of apps for that! A popular one, the one I use, is MyFitnessPal, but there are others. You will know how many calories you are eating daily, but the nutrition as well. It’s helpful to know when I’ve hit my protein goal for the day. As well as when I have had too much sodium and need to stay away from a particular food. Also, take your supplements; multi-vitamins, calcium, Vit-D, iron, etc. These are all important to be taking daily post-op as deficiencies can cause major health problems. Put them in a place you won’t forget – maybe in your bathroom next to your toothbrush!

10. Never Give Up

You are bound to have setbacks. This is life, and none of us are perfect. Some days, weeks or even months you may feel like you want to throw in the towel because all of it, all of this new life, just seems a little too much, a little too hard, and it would be much easier to just not have to think about it and go back to not caring, not thinking. Don’t. Don’t give up. You are worth so much more than that. You had the audacity to have weight loss surgery; you have the strength, the courage, the hope, the fight in, you to be successful.

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Jessica Mowles Stockton is an 8 year post-op and has been an avid member of ObesityHelp for over 6 years. She is an advocate and a strong supporter of the weight loss surgery community and enjoys photography as one of her hobbies. She has a weight loss surgery support page on Facebook.

Read more of Jessica's articles!

Photo credit:  Jonathan cc