What does it take to be a bariatric success? As an RHN who specializes in bariatric nutrition, I have heard this question many times over and I wish I had the exact right answer for you. There is not a “one size fits all” way to respond to this query. It is more about the journey and learning about yourself and what works for you. It is about making important changes to ensure success and not just doing the same thing you were doing before surgery. The surgery is the tool but we need to learn as much as we can about how use this important tool to achieve our short and long term goals.
What I do know for sure is that we all need to find what works for us as biochemical individuals after weight loss surgery. This is where you need to discover what this very personal journey is for you and means to. What works for you? Does drinking protein shakes for breakfast with added avocado keep you full and satisfied until lunch? Does taking a walk after dinner curb the cravings to eat something sweet? Does going to bed earlier help to keep the nighttime munchies at bay?
You will experience good times and bad times along the way. These are the ups and downs of bariatric surgery. During the bad times, you need to get up, dust yourself off and just keep on moving forward. You need to make a commitment to yourself and also to your health. Set goals for yourself. Make long term and short term goals. Reach for those goals each and every day.
Support during this journey is key to short and long term success. If you can find an at-home group or an online group, please do so and stick close to them. They are a valuable part of your journey and they will help to keep you on track and to keep you accountable.
Write everything down. Keep a food log and a journal and jot down everything you eat and drink. Make it a habit to write down your feelings and your plans as the days go by. Writing things down make you accountable to yourself. This is a way to stay on track even when it get tough and you feel yourself slipping. Taking a moment to write things down enable you to better understand yourself.
What does food mean to you? I think that a very important change that needs to be made to ensure success post surgery is the way we think about food. It is important to learn about proper nutrition and not just do the same things we were doing prior to surgery but on a smaller scale post surgery. Why should we stay away from refined carbohydrates and what is a refined carbohydrate? These are the things we should be learning early on in order to understand and think differently regarding food.
Congratulations – for taking your own health into your own hands.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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