how To Get Back On Track

How To Get Back On Track After Bariatric Surgery

April 28, 2021

How To Get Back On Track After Bariatric Surgery? The most simple answer to this question would be to never get off track. To do that, you need to create a realistic plan that's tailored specifically to you. Many patients want to get back on track, and I'll show you how to get back on track!

That means creating healthy habits that you can easily incorporate into your busy lifestyle and living a more mindful, intentional life. We’ll discuss how to do this later. Let’s first talk about creating healthy habits.

To get the most out of this article, grab a blank piece of paper and pen to take notes and answer questions when prompted.

What Does Getting Back On Track Mean to You?

To help you answer that question, let’s imagine that we are building a railroad to take us from Point A (where you are right now) to Point B (where you want to go).

Point A: Where you are right now

Write down what your current habits are and how you feel in your body.

Examples include:

  • I only go to the gym when I’m feeling motivated, but most days, I’m pretty sedentary, which makes me feel tired and lazy.
  • I don’t take the time to prep my meals and eat whatever/whenever I want. I end up eating a lot of fast food, which makes me feel unhealthy and sluggish.
  • I opt for juice and soda with my meals instead of water, and it has become a habit.

Point B: Where you want to go

Write down healthy habits you would like to have,  and how you want your body to feel.

Examples include:

  • I move my body everyday and feel energized.
  • I plan my meals, go grocery shopping and prep ingredients for the week which makes me feel less stressed and more organized.
  • I eat nourishing meals that help me feel good.
  • I create a balanced plate and make sure to include protein and veggies and I feel guilt free.
  • I only eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full.
  • I don’t use food as a coping mechanism. I have a healthy relationship with food and my body.

Great, now that you know where you are (Point A) and where you want to go (Point B), let’s build some tracks or healthy habits to help us get from Point A to Point B.

How To Get Back On Track With Your Habits

It’s important that you work on incorporating one healthy habit at a time instead of all at once. Focus on solidifying the first track before you add the next one. By the end of the ride, you should be practicing these habits every day for the rest of your life.

These habits can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it forever, but most importantly, these habits can help you live a healthy life forever. Some healthy habits that I recommend incorporating into your life include:

Habit #1

Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. So, if you weigh 400lbs, drink at least 200oz of water every day.

So if you have a standard 16.9 oz water bottle, you should be drinking at least 12 of those every day. Our body is about ~60% water, so make sure you are staying well-hydrated every day. When you’re drinking this much water, there typically isn’t room for any sugary drinks like juice and soda.

Habit #2

Take a high-quality multivitamin every day.

After bariatric surgery, you must take a multivitamin every day as recommended by your surgeon & dietitian. After surgery, you are unable to consume enough food and/or your body can’t extract all the nutrients it needs from food which is why you need to take a multivitamin to stay healthy.

Habit #3

Practice at least 45 minutes of joyful movement daily.

Not a workout you dread, but some form of movement that brings you joy and makes you feel good. Movement can help you live a longer, healthier life, elevate your mood, help you focus better at work, and energize your body. Incorporate movement into your day that actually helps you feel good, like dancing with your kids, walking with your dog, jogging to your favorite genre of music, hiking with a friend, joining a local running club, swimming, kayaking with your friends, walking the dog after dinner, taking your kids to the park, etc.

Find what brings you joy and practice it every day.

Habit #4

Make half of your plate protein and the other half with non-starchy veggies.

Protein helps keep us full and satiated, while veggies bring in vitamins and minerals. Focus on lean protein like turkey, chicken, tofu, beans & lentils, eggs, and seafood. When it comes to veggies, incorporate different vegetables into your meals every day. Choose non-starchy, green veggies often.

Other Habits to Consider:

  • Wait at least 4 hours between meals.
  • Avoid snacking and focus on only eating three balanced meals.
  • Put down your fork or utensil between each bite.
  • Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Practice daily gratitude by writing down a couple of things you are grateful for each morning from the day before.
  • Practice daily mindfulness. Keep reading to learn more about how you can practice mindfulness in your everyday life.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is creating awareness without judgement.

  • Grab a blank notebook and write down how you feel after each meal.
    • Create awareness around your eating behaviors but do not judge yourself if you “mess up.” Did you overeat? Write it down in your journal and ask yourself how you feel and how you might navigate this situation in the future in a way that serves you best.
  • Do you have major sugar cravings every night? Write it down. Ask yourself how you feel when you have those cravings and what you feel in your body.
    • Are you stressed? Bored? Sad? Lonely? Tired? Take note of your feelings and how you might potentially be using food as a coping mechanism for those feelings. Once you’ve created awareness without judgment, I recommend working with a therapist to dig deep into your relationship with food and creating a plan of action that aligns with your goals.
  • Before you eat anything, ask yourself: Am I hungry? How hungry am I? Does this meal align with my goals and values?

Now that you’ve learned how to be more mindful, start practicing. Keep a mindfulness journal and use it daily.

You've learned how to create a roadmap to where you want to go. To get back on track, work on incorporating one healthy habit into your life each month. After you’ve completed one habit every day for 30 days, add on the next habit until you reach a healthy weight where you feel good in your body.

To get back on track, remember that health is a journey. Practice grace and focus on creating sustainable changes that actually work for you and your lifestyle.

how To Get Back On Track
Ria Thakur


Ria Thakur is the in-house dietitian at Whole Health Weight Loss in Napa, California. She is passionate about all things food and nutrition. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and went on to complete a rigorous dietetic internship at UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Hospital. Check out more about Ria!