Make Today the Day to Lose Your Regain After WLS and Stay on Track!January 26, 2018
You Can Lose Your Regain After WLS!
If you’re looking for the day to begin to lose your regain after WLS, and get and stay on track, it can be today! This is your time to get back on track. While the rest of the world may be focused on resolutions made on New Year's, it's time for you to be focused on a lifestyle change.
This is a lifestyle, not a diet. Resolutions are a short-term bandage, while lifestyle change is for good!
Here are 10 easy steps to make the choice today to lose your regain after WLS and stay on track for the long-term weight loss and weight maintenance.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!
10 Easy Steps to Lose Your Weight Regain
1. Manage Your Emotions
This is one of the biggest reasons that people experience regain or struggle with getting to goal. Emotional eating and managing one's emotions is a huge obstacle for many people. It's important that you have tools in your toolbox to handle your emotions. There are external factors like job/work stress, family stress, overwhelm, financial issues, relationship issues, and many other things that can cause someone to enter the zone of emotional eating.
It's important to remember that eating your emotions will only cause a temporary solution to a long-term issue. People eat to self-soothe and while it may feel good at the moment, the long-term result is weight regain and no one wants to experience that. Getting a better handle on what triggers you to emotionally eat will help you to shift gears, use your tools, and release emotional eating for good.
If you continue to struggle with emotional eating, or can’t seem to get a handle on this, you may need to reach out to a therapist who specializes in bariatrics or emotional eating to help you work through this because there may be something deeper going on.
2. Start Small
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It’s not possible to do EVERYTHING all at once. Start small by building a foundation of healthy eating first. One of the things I talk about frequently is people who have new year’s resolutions and try to go from burgers to salads. This almost NEVER works because it’s too many things all at once.
Starting small is about making small changes that become bigger changes over time. Start by eating half the burger, no bun with some vegetables. Start by making small changes so that they add up over time. Remember that little things become big things over time. When you start small, you’ll make a series of small lifestyle changes that become big lifestyle changes that will become your success. Successes don’t happen overnight, they are built over time, with small integral changes.
3. One Step At A Time
This is similar to “start small” yet it’s different. One step at a time also reminds you to not do everything at once but also helps you to remember that you need to focus on each step separately. If you are trying to eat salads, go to the gym and workout hard, all while living the same lifestyle, you will end up burning out. This is why resolutions DO NOT WORK.
Keeping the “one step at a time” focus in your mind will help you realistically pull the steps together to achieve the success you desire. So, for each week, have a specific focus for what you’ll work on. Maybe this week it’s nutrition or meal planning, then next week you may focus on strength training or following through on your workout routine. This way you are able to reach your goals one step at a time because ALL steps at a time are too much for your brain or your body to handle. And, trying to do too much all at once will send you back into overwhelm, feeling like a failure, and regressing to old patterns of behavior, which is what we DO NOT want.
So stick to one step at a time to reach your goals.
4. Stay Active
Activity does a body and brain good. Sticking with them, starting small and doing one step at a time, staying active can happen in bigger workouts or smaller workouts. The focus should not be on the time per se, but just that you are consistently becoming more active.
Start where you are and go from 10-minutes a day walking to 15-minutes, and then up to 20-minutes when you are ready for a shift. Staying active is about getting your body used to the movement and this will help you to stay successful.
My clients always tell me that when they take a break from workout out or going to the gym, they feel sluggish and tired. This is because their bodies were used to the movement and staying active, and when you stop the activity, your body is not using all of the muscles it once did.
So staying active is a process and starting small and working your way up in terms of time or level of activity will help you achieve long-term success as long as you stay consistent.
5. Plan Ahead
Life can throw us curveballs, there is no doubt about that. It’s important that you plan ahead when it comes to meal planning and activities.
Life is not perfect, and as people, we are not perfect either. The goal, however, is to help you to stay on track most of the time. This can work to your advantage through planning ahead. Maybe you have a business trip coming up or your kids have a soccer tournament that will take you outside the home for dinner. Plan healthy meals in advance so you’re not tempted to hit the drive-through on the way home. Also, plan to get your exercise in wherever you are and think about that in advance so you can stay on track with both your food and your exercise.
6. Challenge Yourself Regularly
We all hit plateaus in terms of weight, and also in terms of mindset. It’s important that you challenge both your body and your mind to keep things fresh and new. Eating the same old meals could lead you to eat foods that are bad for you just because you need or want something to “spice up your life”. Or, you may get bored with your workouts so you may end up skipping the gym once too often.
By challenging yourself regularly you need to switch things up so that you can keep your brain and body active so that you are consistently achieving your goals. Also, this will help you even during the weight maintenance period because boredom happens to everyone. Find a physical or mental challenge by trying new recipes, or making your own “bari-friendly” recipe from one of your old favorites. Challenge yourself by entering a 5k, or running the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Get creative with how you can challenge your brain and your body to stay on track and making it interesting for your journey.
7. Have Fun
This process should be fun. If you are not having fun, then creativity is in order. The old “obese” brain used to say “oh, do I have to eat this crap?” and the new bariatric brain says “wow, I get to have this and this, and it’s all on my plan! Awesome!”
It’s all about perspective and looking at how you can enjoy your foods, your workouts, and this whole process after weight loss surgery. This is a rediscovery of you and winning at both weight loss and at life!
Having fun can mean different things to different people, so finding activities and functions that you enjoy is important. Find activities that you enjoy, and surround yourself with family, friends, or others that have a “have fun” attitude to make your weight loss process that much more enjoyable. Engaging with other weight loss surgery patients, and in new-found activities is what this NEW FOUND life is all about! Maybe even attending next year’s ObesityHelp National Conference could be part of this “have fun” motto that will help you enjoy your life more fully.
8. Refocus on Protein First
Protein is going to keep you fuller longer and help you keep the weight off. Ditch the carbs and welcome the protein. This is what just about every surgeon and dietician talks about, and rightfully so. When eating, refocus on the protein and find new and fun ways to get protein into your diet.
Find proteins that work for you and put them in your regular plan. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you are full, happy, and on track for the new year (and for the long-term lifestyle change!).
9. Remember to Rest
You need your sleep because that’s when your body repairs itself and helps you burn calories. Getting in your physical activity is just as important as resting. There have been many obesity studies that discuss the importance of sleep when it comes to successful weight loss surgery patients. Getting your rest and having restful sleep is essential for your body to burn the fat and build your muscle mass. If you aren’t getting adequate sleep then your body may not be performing optimally.
Also, if you have sleep issues, be sure to contact a sleep specialist to help you figure out if there are other things going on with you.
10. Motivation is a Habit
Don’t wait to get motivated, start taking action. Motivation comes from looking at a goal you want to achieve and making small steps toward that goal. Motivation is not created out of thin air and waiting for it, is just procrastination, plain and simple. If you want to create motivation, start moving, start taking action and create a list of things you want to achieve.
If that list doesn’t excite you, it will be hard for you to get moving. Make a short goals list that gets you so excited that you can’t wait to take action on reaching them. Remember, goals are achieved one step at a time and using small steps to get there. Motivation is important however it’s a habit that you create by taking these steps over and over again. This helps you create momentum and the excitement of getting closer to goal!
ABOUT THE AUTHORKristin Lloyd-Moussa, MS, LPC/LMHC, PhD-Candidate is a licensed psychotherapist and certified transformational mindset mentor guiding individuals to embrace healthy habits and fuller lives after WLS. A WLS patient herself, Kristin understands the challenges of WLS patients. She is the founder of Bariatric Mindset and author of the "Bariatric Mindset Success: Live Your Best Life and Keep The Weight Off After Weight Loss Surgery" book.
Read more articles from Kristin!