Barbara Thompson's

15 Tips for Weight Loss Surgery Success

1.  Lose as much weight as you can the first year
This will maximize your success.  Remember that losing weight will never again be this easy. After the first 18 to 24 months, most weight loss surgery patients start to regain some weight. If you have maximized your weight loss and are prepared to fight against that weight gain, you will be very successful.
2.  Diligently Follow the 4 Rules of Success !
These rules are:











1)     Eat protein first at any meal. Protein will help you to maintain muscle mass and will keep you from eating simple carbohydrates such as white bread, potatoes and rice. Carbohydrates increase your blood sugar level and when those levels drop your body starts to crave carbohydrates to order to again raise your blood sugar level. You will be less hungry if you keep your blood sugar level even.

2)     Drink water. Staying hydrated is important for your internal organs to function properly and to burn fat. Dehydration can lead to feeling tired and hungry. Some people mistake the feeling of thirst with the feeling of hunger.

3)     Exercise, exercise, exercise. Do a combination of aerobic exercise with some weight lifting. The amount of muscle you have determines how fast your metabolism is. Although an exercise program may not be possible immediately, it is important to start exercising every day for as long as you can so that it becomes a part of your life. If you are troubled by joint problems, do water aerobics. 

4)     No grazing. After surgery, we are still the product of calories in versus calories used. You can out eat your surgery by eating very small amounts all day long. Plan what you are going to eat so that you can control your consumption. Grazing can be a slow and steady way to regain all of your weight.

3.  Plateaus happen to everyone.
If you are following the 4 Rules of Success you will eventually be OK. Plateaus are just natureís way of allowing the species to survive. If you lose weight too rapidly, your metabolism will slow so much that your weight will plateau. A plateau will result if you are not eating enough calories also. Be sure your calories are always above 800. As contrary as it may seem, during a plateau is the time when you need to increase your calories to get them over 800. That will help to break through a plateau.  You may also need some change.  Your body may have adapted to the exercise you are doing and the food you are eating. Change things around. Eat different foods and do different exercises. The plateau will eventually pass and you will start losing again.


4.  Have realistic expectations
Do you have visions of how perfect life will be following weight loss surgery?  Do you have dreams about how your life will change after losing weight?? While you will no doubt be very happy with the new world that opens up to you, having weight loss surgery will not erase all of the problems in your life. Being realistic that no life is perfect may help you not to become depressed when you hit some inevitable bumps in the road.


5.  Visualize your success
If you can see it, you can do it.  When you imagine something, you are taking the first steps to make it happen.
6.  Believe in yourself
Having weight loss surgery requires tremendous courage. It is not the easy way out as many people believe. Be proud of yourself for taking such a life-altering step because you are determined to live a more normal life. You can do it and you can be successful!
7.  Learn the basics of good nutrition and follow them.
You will not always be eating amounts that fit in a 2 ounce cup.  Eventually your portions will increase to something approaching a more normal level. So start eating in a healthy way right from the start.  This involves not only eating sufficient protein, but eating low glycemic carbohydrates that will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike and cause you to experience cravings.
Learn to eat vegetables and fruits all prepared in a low-fat manner. If you are eating high fat, high calorie foods right after surgery, you are OK initially.  But as your portion sizes increase, so will your calories and you may start to regain weight. Remember, even though we have had weight loss surgery, we are still the product of calories in versus calories used.


8.  Be diligent about taking vitamins
Vitamins are essential after Roux en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Because part of your intestines has been bypassed, you will not be able to absorb nutrients in your body the same way as before your surgery. Taking vitamins will be something you will have to do for the rest f your life. Vitamins B6, Calcium citrate and a good multi-vitamin are the minimums you will need. You may also find that you are in need of an iron supplement as well. Neglecting these could have serious consequences for your health.


9.  Read motivational books and listen to motivational tapes
Now is the time to dream. You have a whole world in front of you that you have not even been able to imagine. You can find inspiration in a variety of places that will take you to heights you havenít even dreamed of.
10.  Help others going through the surgery
Once you have made it through your surgery, be there for others as they take the same journey. Just as it was important to you to talk with those who had gone through the surgery before you, there are those coming after you who will need your support.  Go to support group meetings to inspire others.  Volunteer to talk to or visit weight loss surgery patients in the hospital or just after they come home. And be a weight loss surgery advocate. Tell your insurance company, benefits department, insurance commissioner and State legislator the benefits of the surgery to you so that more people will be able to obtain insurance coverage.


11.  Attend support group meetings
Support groups meetings will help you to stay on track. Attending that meeting just once a month will remind you where you came from and where you never want to return. And you can always learn something new from the educational programs and group discussions.
12.  Be patient with your family and friends.
You are going through so many changes. And as you change, those around you will change also. Family dynamics may shift as you are no longer the largest person in your family.  Your spouse may feel insecure as you become more attractive to others. And you may now be doing things that your friends are physically not able to do, and you may be leaving them behind. Reassure your family and friends that you are still the same person inside and that you still love them as much as you did before. Donít necessarily slow down for them, just find a little time to be gentle, kind and loving.  


13.  Be gentle with yourself the first couple of months
The first few months after weight loss surgery are no picnic.  You may be experiencing nausea as your digestive system adjusts, depression as you form a new relationship with food, physical problems that may require follow-up surgery and the thought that you are doomed to eat such a tiny bit of food for the rest of your life.  Recovery from surgery is not linear.  Your recovery does not progress in a straight line.  You will take one step forward and seemingly two steps backward. You will be frustrated at times, but always remember that it all gets better and is so worth it in the end.


14.  Establish an exercise pattern
Exercise is the key to maintaining your weight long term. Muscle dictates metabolism and without exercise, you will not maintain your muscle mass and your metabolism will slow dramatically. Even if you lose weight without exercising, you will likely have a much harder time maintaining that weight loss and will be susceptible to regaining weight. Make exercise a part of your routine every single day. Commit to doing some exercise daily even if it is only for a few minutes.  Try for 30 to 45 minutes per day, but be sure to do something every day. 


15.  Be prepared to need psychological help along the way
After surgery you will be establishing a new relationship with food.  Food has been your comfort and your friend. You have used food when you have been sad, or when you have been happy. It has been there when you have been bored or when you have wanted to celebrate. But after surgery, you will not be able to turn to food in the same way now. This can put you in an emotional tail spin.
Also you will be dealing with the world in a whole different way and people will be dealing with you differently.  You may have a hard time adjusting to that. Donít feel that you are weak just because you need some help. Take advantage of some professional expertise so that you can be as healthy in your mind as you are in your body.


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