The Secret to My Weight Loss Surgery SuccessJanuary 18, 2016
I’m officially six years post-op on February 19, 2016. As I reflect back, things are way different than they were just a short two years ago. But for the most part, my choices keep me accountable and are helping me keep my weight off. I didn’t have any magical surgery so my success is not blind luck. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to a successful post-op way of life, but I’ve found that there is ONE key ingredient in the recipe for success. The secret to my weight loss surgery success is.....Counting.
Options of Ways to Eat as a Bariatric Post-Op
When it comes to eating, some choose to count calories, some choose to count carbs, some track protein. A friend of mine tells me that she maintains her weight because she stops eating when she’s full. That is what works for her. She counts the number of bites that she eats. (I wish I could do that!)
Another friend eats what she wants and keeps her weight in a specific zone with lots and lots of running. She counts the number of miles that she runs weekly. The only things that’ll make me run are stray dogs, spiders, and shoe sales. But, I don’t get to say that it doesn’t work only because it doesn’t work for me. It works for her and that is what matters.
An important part of my success is knowing that works for me and knowing what I’m willing to do or not do to maintain my health and wellness.
So let’s talk about what I do. I’m approaching six years out and during this time, I’ve opted to follow a lower carb, liberal fat, and protein diet. I’ve chosen this way of eating because, for me, it removes the stress of counting and logging everything that I put in my mouth. Since I eat from a limited group of foods, as long as I stick with this group of foods, I’m able to maintain my weight loss successfully!
Although, I say it’s limited, it’s only as limited as my imagination and creativity. I opt of out white starches like rice, potatoes, and bread, but I’ve opened my palette to a staggering array of vegetables and various cuisines.
Did you know that you can eat butternut squash raw? Have you ever tried Gomen Besiga, an Ethiopian dish composed of greens and cubes of beef? Another favorite of mine is Cobb salad, partially composed of two of the most delicious foods in the world, bacon and cheese, fits right into my post-op way of eating.
Importantly, my surgeon fully supports this way of eating. Based on my exact weight this morning, I’m maintaining 88% of my total weight loss. That’s not so bad for being six years post-op and six years older. Also important are other values to count - my cholesterol, my A1C and blood pressure are all within normal ranges.
Life Happens - I Prefer to Stay on the Train Rather Than Jump Off
I’m not afraid to switch things up and be flexible if my eating norm of low carb isn’t feasible for whatever reason. For example, this week because I’m making baked goods for a parent conference at my school, I’m switching to logging my calories via the MyFitnessPal app.
Instead of having a “screw-it-all-low-carb-can-go-to-hell-cause-baked-goods-are-delicious’ moment, I have chosen to have a backup plan here.
I’m going to use a falling off of the wagon analogy here. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B, isn’t it easier to stay on the train and just move to another car if the car that you’re currently in just doesn’t vibe with you? Why jump off!? I’d much rather be on the train than on the ground watching the train speed away without me.
This week is the exception rather than the norm and by and large, I do not count carbs, calories, steps, miles, points, amounts of food. I don’t count any of those things. I’m kind of aware of the amounts, but being aware of amounts is estimating. Counting is quite exact.
Putting the "Count" in Accountable for Weight Loss Surgery Success
So if counting is part of bariatric success, what is it that I count? I count myself. Every single day, whether I’ve had a “good” day full of protein and veggies or a weekend full of brunches and mimosas, I brave that scale every single morning.
Honestly, there are days when the number on the scale has made me less than happy, but on the grand scale of life “less than happy” is not quite the same as devastated. Putting my head in the sand about my weight got me to a weight that was so high with a number that was SO big it rang around in my head for days. That’s devastating. Being peeved about a three-pound weight gain might make me grumpy for a little bit. I can live with that but I cannot live with a BMI of 53.
I do not claim that daily weighing can keep me from gaining weight, but it might keep a 15 pound gain from being a 30, 40 or more. Success is not solely determined by keeping every last pound off. Success also includes measuring your resting heart rate, your mobility, or even moments that you’re able to share with people you love.
From my personal experiences and the experiences of those around me, if you want to be a bariatric success you have to count something every single day. Count your calories, count your steps, count your food grams, count your carbs, count your portions, count your miles, count your bites, count yourself. It doesn’t hurt to count your blessings either.
About the AuthorKesha, Waning Woman, is an award winning blogger, an active member of the Dallas Fort Worth bariatric community and co-leader of patient run support group, After the Cut. In her blog and various social media networks she shares her passion for cooking, working out, shoes, and living post op life with as much pizzazz as possible. She has maintained almost 90% of her total weight loss since having the gastric sleeve in 2010.