Getting Back On Track

Develop a Never Quit Mindset – 16 Tips for Getting Back on Track

December 28, 2020

Keeping a positive, never quit mindset can totally change your outlook on the world and on getting back on track after bariatric surgery. When you are clear-headed, focused, and approaching the day with an open mind it becomes much easier to triumph over obstacles, whether they are large or small. The same logic applies to your weight loss surgery process!

Bariatric Surgery is Not a Magic Fix

Bariatric surgery is a tool, not a magic fix. It is a tool for losing weight when you practice good habits of nutrition and physical activity.

I like to tell patients that, “The surgeon gives you the tool and the program (healthcare providers, dietitians, psychologists, support groups) provides you with the user’s manual to use your tool effectively.” 

It is important for ongoing success to continue follow-up visits in the office with the bariatric team.  This provides some accountability to the patient as well as surveillance of your overall health after surgery.

The Fear of Weight Regain

Patients who have bariatric surgery are excited about the new opportunities weight loss will offer after surgery.  They imagine a life without the comorbidities associated with their obesity.  However, the fear is always lingering in a patient’s mind about gaining weight back after surgery. 

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), “As many as 50% of patients may regain a small amount of weight (approximately 5%) two years or more following their primary surgery.” 

Successful weight loss is arbitrarily defined as weight loss equal to or greater than fifty percent of excess body weight.  Rarely do patients gain all their weight back.  

Try not to get discouraged if you don’t see the same results that someone else had.  Everybody is different and lifestyle changes and diet habits play a major role in weight loss success.  In most cases, weight regain is not from a medical or surgical reason, but often diet-related.  Early on postoperatively, patients are diligent with their diet and exercise. They are aware of:

  • how much they are eating
  • how often they are eating
  • eating less fast food or convenience foods
  • counting grams of protein
  • and monitoring ounces of fluid consumed

Some patients may start to see some weight gain approximately 12-18 months postoperatively.  This is often related to being able to tolerate a wider variety of foods, slightly larger portion size, and less exercise.  When some of these old behaviors reappear, this can cause weight loss to slow down and plateau before increasing if the behaviors remain.

To prevent weight regain after bariatric surgery, patients should adhere to a healthy diet plan with a focus on whole foods and continue to follow guidelines for eating after bariatric surgery.

Don’t give up, take it day by day to continue your weight loss journey. 

Getting Back on Track After Weight Regain

If you're struggling with weight regain after bariatric surgery, check out these 16 suggestions for getting back on track.


REALISTIC GOALS. Set new realistic goals and expectations for what is going to work for YOU.


NO SHAMING. Stop inflicting “shame or guilt” on yourself for weight regain, that is not helpful to your overall success - I always tell patients, “Never say something to yourself you wouldn’t say to a friend”.


RETHINK REWARDS. Food is not a reward, and exercise is not a punishment. They are both ways of caring for your body and helping you feel your best.


REVIEW EATING HABITS. Take the time to evaluate your eating habits, adjust as necessary. Remember, it is always best to create eating habits that will last a lifetime; eat lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables.


FOOD AS FUEL, NOT FOR COMFORT. Rethink your relationship with food, using it as fuel for your body, less for emotional comfort.


TRACK YOUR PROTEIN. If you stopped tracking, get back to tracking your protein intake and get at least 60-80 grams a day.  Protein foods will help with fullness and satisfaction.


ADEQUATE FLUIDS. Make sure to get adequate fluids, at least 48-64 ounces daily, of low-calorie (10 calories or less per serving) and avoid high-calorie liquids such as pop, lemonade, sweet tea, or alcohol.


MAKE TIME TO EAT.  Try to eat at least 4-5 times a day, to get multiple opportunities to meet protein goals and provide consistent nutrition to your body and be less likely to overeat.


DON'T DRINK WITH MEALS.  Separate eating and drinking by about 30 minutes.


AVOID HIGH FAT & HIGH SUGAR FOODS. These are higher in calories and do not provide good quality nutrition overall. Recommend avoiding foods over 10 grams of sugar or over 5 grams of fat per serving. 


TRACK FOR ACCOUNTABILITY. Keep a food journal or use a food tracking app to help with self-awareness and accountability with your intake.  


FOLLOW-UP. Get back in touch with your bariatric health team – MD, PA, NP, RD, and psychologist or therapist. Obesity is a chronic condition and you will need lifelong follow up through the bariatric surgery process, weight loss, AND weight regain.


CONNECT WITH PEERS. If you haven't attended a support group meeting in a long time, step out and attend again. Commit to attending support groups regularly.


MAKE FITNESS A PRIORITY. Aim for 150-300 minutes a week.


NON-SCALE VICTORIES. As you're getting back on track, make sure to recognize your non-scale victories.


GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. If you suffer from depression, it’s even harder to stay on track, make sure you are treating the depression with a licensed mental health professional and/or medication.

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”  Quote by Elbert Hubbard.

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Anne Kroger, MPAS, PA-C is currently working as a Physician Assistant with Premier Weight Loss Solutions and is the Bariatric Coordinator for Premier Health in Dayton, Ohio. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Kettering College of Medical Arts and her Master of Medical Science at the University of Nebraska. She has advanced knowledge in Bariatric Medicine.