Weight loss surgery does not FORCE the lifestyle changes that must follow, although you may think it will. The first 6-12 months post op are called the “honeymoon period” for a reason. That’s the time everything is rosy and it’s easy to stick to the diet. You won’t be hungry. You’ll feel uncomfortable or get sick if you don’t follow the rules...so you stay on track, no problem!
But just like any honeymoon, it will come to an end. And when it does, the greatest tool for weight loss success becomes your MIND!
That’s because your mind is the gatekeeper for sticking to lifelong diet and lifestyle changes that are necessary for long term success. YOU will ultimately be the determining factor as to whether your surgery is successful or not. Bariatric surgery is simply a tool. Without sticking to the necessary lifestyle changes, no surgery will work long term.
So once the honeymoon is over, how will you stay motivated?
Without ongoing motivation it’s really impossible to stay the course long term. Preparing for bariatric surgery should include thinking through this long before you ever have your weight loss procedure.
You’ll likely be highly motivated in the immediate weeks and months post op, but motivation is fleeting. What motivates you now may not motivate you in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years or 5 years!
Once you lose a bit of weight, the diet and lifestyle changes
don’t seem so urgent anymore. Motivation wanes and you get a little lackadaisical,
or “cocky” and think the rules don’t need to apply anymore. This is how weight starts
creeping back up.
not familiar with the term yet, get used to it. “NSV” is a term used to refer
to “non scale victories.” Accomplishments that aren’t about weight at all.
Plan to journal these successes. BECAUSE: When you’re in a weight loss stall or gain a pound or two, your brain will find every reason to give up and say “why bother?!" Having a journal of NSVs to pull out in that moment will help you gain perspective and get back on track.
Examples of NSVs:
not take it one step further and get those NSVs in your line of sight and in the
forefront of your mind.
Every time you experience a new NSV, write it out on a post it note and hang it where you can see it. I always suggest the bathroom mirror because chances are, you’re looking in at least 2x per day!
As you start to see a plethora of sticky notes filling up space on your mirror, you can feel proud of your progress even when the scale isn’t moving as fast or as much as you want. (Inevitably that is going to happen.)
Long before you have your surgery, sit down and write out all
the reasons you want to lose weight. Write down the significance that long
term weight loss will give you, not just the amount of weight you hope to lose.
When you focus on the why, the how is easy. But as you start losing a significant amount of weight, the why very often gets forgotten.
If you get frustrated with your progress you can pull out your list of “why” to get your head back in the game.
"I want to lose weight" is an outcome goal. It’s a result of a series of behaviors you have control over.
Similarly, “I want to go to Hawaii” is an outcome goal. To get there, a number of behaviors have to happen first:
Save money. Buy a ticket. Get time off of work. Pack the suitcase. Get a ride to the airport. Etc., etc. If you always talk about wanting to go to Hawaii and never take the behavioral steps necessary, you’ll never get there.
And the same is true of weight loss.
Make your goals about good habits that you have control over:
Weight loss will inevitably follow. It's much easier to stay motivated when you know you have control.
Shift your thinking.
It’s easier to eat well and exercise when you love your body and want to take care of it, versus doing so because you hate it and wish it were different.
These are 2 VERY DIFFERENT mindsets. Think about it.
Without ongoing motivation it’s really impossible to stay the
course long term.
Weight loss is a moving target.
Decide how you’ll stay motivated well ahead of time: