Stay Successful After Your WLS

15 Tips to Stay Successful After Your WLS

December 5, 2018

Everyone knows that weight loss surgery isn’t just a one day or one year journey. It is a lifelong one. Here are 15 things you can do to reach your goal for weight loss and stay successful after your WLS.

15 Tips to Stay Successful After Your WLS

Stay Successful After Your WLS

Eat mindfully

It is important to pay attention to your body's individual physical cues to determine fullness and satisfaction after eating. Some tips to eating mindfully include:

  1. Eating over 20-30 minutes
  2. Chew each bite to baby food consistency prior to swallowing
  3. Rest 1-2 minutes between bites
  4. Avoid distractions such as watching TV, playing with your phone, or driving while eating

Weigh yourself on a regular basis

I encourage patients to have a weight range they are comfortable with (generally +/- 5 lbs). This prevents panic with every weight fluctuation, but also helps identify when something is wrong and weight gain is occurring quicker. After all, it is much easier to lose 5 lbs than 50.

Track everything you eat and drink periodically

This will help you see if you are meeting your protein goal, and help identify eating patterns that may be getting in your way. I often encourage patients to track foods prior to eating it; this changes the thinking from "what did I eat today" to "what am I about to eat".

Plan ahead

Whenever possible, look up menus before heading out to restaurants to plan out what you can eat. This will help you avoid foods that may not agree with your new stomach, but also help avoid temptation from foods that may not work for your weight loss goals.

Measure portions

Measure your portions using measuring cups, spoons, or a food scale vs. eyeballing. Dust off the old measuring cups, spoons, and food scales and make sure you are eating the amount you think.

Eat whole foods not slider foods

Many patients avoid meat, chicken, or fish because it doesn't go down as easily as crackers, potatoes, or fruit. Sadly that is the point; the more filling and difficult to over-eat, the better it works for weight loss and maintenance.

Focus on protein and fiber-rich vegetables

Protein and fiber are naturally satisfying so they help manage hunger.

Schedule exercise

Book when you are exercising and schedule around it. Consider this an appointment with yourself that takes priority.

Reduce instead of skipping exercise

If you find yourself with less time than normal, like around the holidays, still keep your exercise schedule but reduce the time. It is easier to increase the amount of exercise when life settles down than it is to restart a routine.

Consider exercise as a celebration of what you can do

Not something you have to do. Your body is not just for looking at but it is how we experience the world around us. So get out there and use it!

When you are faced with a setback, practice self-compassion

This doesn't mean ignoring sabotaging behaviors, but it does mean spending less energy in beating yourself up about it, and instead, using that energy to empower you to make a change. Remember struggling doesn't mean you are weak, lack willpower, or have some kind of character flaw.

Seek support

To succeed does not mean not struggling at some point. Those who succeed set up support and seek it when they need it. Most programs have support groups to help patients connect with others like themselves who are on a similar journey. If you do not have access to a program or a support group, consider online support groups like on Facebook or Obesityhelp. Remember, sometimes it helps you stay on track when you're helping others too!

Enlist the help of a behavioral health clinician

Some patients struggle with obesity due to or exacerbated by struggles with mental health, stress, or life trauma that can't be managed alone. If you know what you have to do to be successful, but don't follow through, a therapist can help you figure out what is really getting in your way.

Celebrate non-scale victories!

Consider all the positive changes in your life beyond your scale. How has your weight loss impacted your life? Do you need less medication? Do you breathe easier?

Live a full-filling life

Chances are your weight was holding you back in some way, whether physically or emotionally. Now that you have been liberated in a way, are you engaging in those activities you wanted to do but didn’t feel able? Be brave and try something new.

Jessica Peters


Jessica Peters, MS, RD, joined the UCHealth Surgical Weight Loss Center in June 2017. She completed her initial training in the field of bariatric nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital and completed her MS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Boston University in 2012. Jessica has spent her entire career counseling patients undergoing weight loss surgery at a Level 1A Accredited Bariatric Center of excellence in the suburbs of Boston prior to joining the team here at UCHealth.