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Lifestyle Changes? Who Me? Bariatric Edition

Lifestyle Changes? Who Me? Bariatric Edition


Yes, YOU ….


Remember how when we made the decision to have bariatric surgery, we were ready for everything that decision came with. 


It meant paying a lot of money, possibly hopping a flight to have surgery in Mexico, doing a difficult pre-op diet, healing from laparoscopic surgery, making big dietary changes, adding a bit of walking to relieve gas pains.  It meant struggling to eat in the beginning, and having a hard time hitting your fluid intake.  We surgically altered our bodies.  That’s a BIG DEAL!


We all went into this with the very best intentions.  We were going to lead by example and make all the lifestyle changes that we needed to make to reach our goal weight and never look back.


Fast forward to two and three years later.  Now, it seems like a far off distant future but in reality, it’s only 24 months post-op.  Time FLIES!!   What about those lifestyle changes that you promised yourself to make?  Where are you today?


Let’s review. 


  • How is your diet? Are you leading your meals with protein? 
  • How is your fluid intake?  Are you still drinking sufficient fluids each day?
  • Daily food logs – hands up if you still log your food and fluid intake.
  • Food prep.  Are you still planning and prepping your meals?
  • Are you exercising?  How active are you?
  • How are your stress levels?  Low? High?
  • How about your sleeping patterns?


When my clients reach out to me and ask me for the “pre-op diet” with the hope that it will help them lose the 5 to 25 pounds that they have regained, I always worry.  I worry because the pre-op diet was started when their weight was much higher. It doesn’t have the same effect as when they followed it at the beginning of their journey. 


I am also concerned when my clients have a regain but they also tell me that they are eating perfectly.  I can’t mess with perfection.  How can I help you if you have a perfect diet?  Maybe we need to look at the other factors that I listed above. 


You see, this “magic” sleeve isn’t actually magic.  It is a great tool and we need to balance that took with the mighty “lifestyle change”.  The sleeve or bariatric surgery is the tool to help you get the weight off WHILE you put the other pieces into place. 


Diet, exercise, sleep, stress levels, activity levels, food prep, journaling….  This is the real magic.  When all of this comes together, LONG TERM WEIGHT LOSS IS YOURS TO KEEP.


If you are planning on ONLY using the sleeve and not getting all of the other parts in order, I hate to tell you that you are headed in the wrong direction.


Now, if you’ve been off track and you are serious about going back in the right direction, then my suggestion is to get a good plan in place.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  I truly believe this in all aspects of my life.  I cannot run a marathon if I don’t have a plan. I cannot open a business without a business plan.  I cannot create a healthy lifestyle without planning on how to do that.


Here are a few gentle suggestions:


  1. Take your diet very seriously.  If you don’t know how to do that, talk to me.  I have plans in place to support you and programs in place to teach you how to do it.
  2. Take your exercise program very seriously.  This is a HUGE part of the program.  If you do not have a regular exercise program in place, get a plan and set something up.  Don’t take this lightly.  It is a BIG part of the puzzle.  Weight loss may occur in the kitchen BUT good health occurs through exercise.
  3. Make sleep a priority.  This is a biggie.  Guys, sleep is like FREE medicine. The body needs good quality sleep to perform at its best.  Go to bed an hour earlier.  Get serious and greedy with your sleep.
  4. Are you stressed?  Get those stress levels DOWN.  Stress raises cortisol levels and high cortisol levels make it more difficult to lose weight. 
  5. I want us all to collectively understand that long-term weight loss will depend on long-term lifestyle changes.  I want you to have long-term success.  Bariatric surgery is a big piece of the puzzle but it’s not the only piece.  Other parts need to come together. 
  6. Look, we are not computers.  We make mistakes.  We also learn from those mistakes.  Let’s just do our honest best to figure out our current lifestyle and try to improve upon it.  It’s not easy.  You cannot buy it.  Your best friend cannot give it to you.  You need to make that decision, and you need to go after it as your life depends on it.

Can you do that?  I KNOW YOU CAN.  I believe in you.


Healthy Hugs,

Sheri Burke RHN

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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