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Comparison Is The Thief of Joy – Bariatric Edition

This is a BIG topic because we ALL experience it.  
Who doesn’t compare their bariatric journey with their neighbor?
Who doesn’t compare their losses to the other people in their FB support group or the bariatric forums that most of us are a member of?
Who doesn’t wonder “why the heck did THEY lose so much weight so quickly”? 
Who doesn’t feel slight envious because “so and so” lost X amount of pounds in 6 days? 
We ALL experience these feelings and we all wonder, “how the heck did they do it” ??? 
I answer emails and text messages and phone calls about this exact topic every day.  There is a lot more to it.  Let’s dig in.
Susan texts me on messenger and she asks me, “Why did Betty lose 25 pounds during her pre-op diet and I only lost 10 pounds…  And that is how it starts.  
Susan and Betty are best friends and they have surgery on the same day.  Susan is 45 and she weighs 220 pounds.  Betty is 37 and she weighs 266.  I could give you a lot more information about each case but let’s just keep it simple to start with.  
Susan and Betty are both consuming the same pre-op diet – same food, same calories and they eat at the same time and sleep the same hours each night.  They have the same stress levels …. See where this is going?  It’s MORE than just calories in and calories out.  It has to do with sleep patterns and hormones and so much more.  It is all connected.
What do you think I tell Susan?  
I tell Susan to stop comparing her journey to Betty.  Susan and Betty are on the same journey but it is THEIR journey.  This is not a sprint to the finish line?  This is your path to your personal, improved health and wellness.  This is so important for your mental health.  
This type of comparison will make you miserable and frustrated.  There will always be somebody who loses weight more quickly.  There will always be somebody that loses MORE weight.  Can you see where this is going? 
You do you boo.
Let’s talk about our “starting point”.  All of us start at a different weight.  Some of us are 210 pounds when we make the decision to have bariatric surgery and others start at 500 pounds.  If during the pre-op diet, we all follow the same rules, and we consume an average of 1200 calories per day, the person starting at 500 pounds is going to release their weight more quickly.  It takes more calories to maintain their body mass at 500 pounds so they will have a bigger caloric deficiency and their scale will have a more dramatic drop.
The heavier we are to start with, the more weight we will lose in the beginning.  This is how it works.
Males generally lose weight more quickly than females.  They have more muscle mass.  They have a  higher metabolic rate.  
Another issue we need to discuss is activity level.  Some of my clients are super active and they will expend more energy than others.  More energy expenditure means faster weight loss IF we are all consuming the same 1200 calories per day. 
Some of my clients are on medications which makes it more difficult to lose weight.
Some of my clients are 16 and others are 60.  You cannot compare the two when it comes to weight loss.  
Some of my clients have health conditions that make weight loss more difficult.
Let’s try something different.  Let’s try a more “forward-thinking” when it comes to weight loss – instead of only “looking down” towards the scale.  
When we become obsessed with the numbers on the scale, it is very stressful.  It affects our moods and stress levels.  Stress can make us hold onto the weight we so desperately want to lose.  It raises our cortisol levels.  It is a giant cascade and it is all connected.
Sometimes an attitude adjustment is required.  We need to find a more graceful place.  A place where we feel gratitude about the progress we have made so far and a place where we are not continuously looking over our shoulders and comparing our losses.
Comparison is the thief of joy.  This is not a race.  This is a lifestyle and you will lose the weight you need to lose by following the bariatric rules and your post-operative guidelines.  Let’s focus on looking forward and not behind us.  
Remember Your Bariatric Rules:
  • Eat protein first
  • Drink your water
  • Please move your gorgeous body
  • Sleep Hygiene – aim for 8 hours a night
  • Stop stressing
You are on the right track and you WILL get there.  Eyes looking forward please. Stay focused on YOUR journey 
Love and Light and Weight Loss,
Sheri xo

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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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