In order to lose weight, bariatric patients must decide to exercise and eat healthier – not just once, but every single day. The best way to commit to that decision is to engage in activities and behaviors that remind you of your goals and encourage your new lifestyle. Dr. Fernando Garcia and Dr. David Vazquez can advise patients on strategies for long-term success after bariatric surgery at the Tijuana, Mexico, hospital. Contact us today to learn more about reaching and maintaining your weight loss goals.
Oftentimes, when patients decide to lose weight, they focus on the impact exercise will have on their daily activities. However, diet can have a greater impact on weight loss and be much more challenging to adhere to. Consequently, it is important to understand both what and how to eat before your procedure so you are well prepared during and after your recovery.
Writing down a record of what you plan to eat versus what you actually eat can help you keep track of your daily intake and potentially problematic foods. This habit can also help you prepare for discussions with your nutritionist or support group.
Although the content of your diet is important and will require significant adjustments, how you eat is just as important as what you eat. Most people are used to eating in a very specific way. Changing that routine even slightly can be the hardest part of losing weight. However, certain techniques can ease the transition, including:
- Keeping a diet journal: Writing down a record of what you plan to eat versus what you actually eat can help you keep track of your daily intake and potentially problematic foods. This habit can also help you prepare for discussions with your nutritionist or support group. It also holds you accountable when you stray from planned meals. It is much harder to dismiss a written record than a mental outline.
- Measuring portions: Measuring ingredients and portion sizes with a scale is important to prevent nutrient deficiencies, but also makes it more difficult to overindulge during meals.
- Using smaller serving dishes: A large plate can underline the difference between what you used to eat and what you eat now. Using smaller plates and bowls can help you adjust to smaller portions and feel more satisfied.
- Eating slowly: Chewing food slowly and thoroughly gives your stomach more time to register that it is full and breaks down meals thoroughly, minimizing the chance of discomfort and digestive issues.
Although diet is largely responsible for weight loss success, exercise keeps your body active. Most doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes per day. It is important to start with light activities, especially in the first stages of your recovery. Start with easy walking for five minutes in the early morning and late afternoon, then increase in intervals until you reach about 15 minutes twice a day.
After reaching their weight loss goals, many patients lose motivation to exercise. Keeping your exercise routine regular without becoming dull can take considerable effort. If you feel you are losing motivation or plateauing, try adding in a variety of exercises like light jogging, swimming, or stationary biking. Add more challenging activities or increase the duration of each exercise to push yourself a little harder.
Dedicated weight loss can take a heavy emotional toll. Dramatic changes in your lifestyle, even positive ones, may prove difficult. This makes having a support system all the more important. Whether you enlist the help of a professional nutritionist, an online weight loss support group, or a close friend, find someone who you can comfortably discuss your experiences with.
Internalizing urges to overeat, depression, or other emotional issues connected to your weight loss often exacerbates the problem and can even lead to greater weight gain. Finding a place where you can understand your successes and setbacks can go a long way toward supporting long-term weight loss.