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Listen Up Bariatric Newbies – Bariatric Edition

We’ve all been there: the excitement of starting a new health and wellness journey, the dedication to the process, the willpower to resist temptation, and the satisfaction of seeing results.  

We’ve had our bariatric surgery, we have our tool. It’s clear sailing from here … here we come weight loss and wellness!

But then, life gets in the way, and our commitments to ourselves start to slide. The next thing we know, we’re back to our old habits, feeling disappointed in ourselves and wondering where we went wrong.

It doesn’t happen quickly.  It happens slowly.  We go from losing a great deal of weight, to stalling out, to losing 1 to 2 pounds a week.  Somewhere along the line we get busy and lose focus.

It’s essential to realize that surgery and then willpower can only get us so far. It’s not enough to just want to be healthy; we need to be dedicated to the process of getting there. We need to put lifestyle changes into place that will help us reach our goals. This means taking action on a daily basis and making a commitment to ourselves and our health.

One of the keys to success is starting small. Small steps lead to big changes, and this is especially true when it comes to health and wellness. If you find yourself sliding back into some bad habits, take action today. Don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, or next month.

The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get back on track.

If you find yourself snacking on unhealthy foods, prepare healthy snacks to keep your hand out of the candy bag. Cut up some vegetables, make a fruit salad, or prepare some homemade hummus. These small changes can make a big difference in your diet.

If you’re going to bed again at midnight, get yourself to bed an hour earlier. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your health, and it’s important to get enough rest each night. Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it, even on the weekends.

Don’t allow Netflix (or any other distractions) to derail your health plans. It’s easy to get sucked into a TV show and lose track of time. Set a limit for how much TV you watch each day, and stick to it. Make sure you prioritize exercise and other healthy habits over watching TV.

If you have allowed two days of inactivity to turn into two weeks, enough is enough. It’s time to get back on track. Place your workout gear next to your bed or in a visible location to remind yourself to exercise. Join a fitness class or enlist a workout buddy to keep you accountable. Find activities you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, hiking, swimming, or yoga. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be something you look forward to each day.

Another important aspect of recommitting to ourselves and our health goals is taking control of our external environment. There are so many little things we can do to make it easier to get back on track and focus on the goals we want to achieve. For example:

  • Meal prep: Plan your meals for the week ahead of time and prepare them in advance. This will make it easier to stick to a healthy diet, even when you’re busy.
  •  Keep healthy snacks on hand: Stock up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy snacks so you’re not tempted to reach for junk food when you’re hungry.
  • Get rid of unhealthy foods: If you have junk food in your house, you’re more likely to eat it. Get rid of any unhealthy foods and replace them with healthier options.
  •  Make it easy to exercise: Keep your workout gear in a visible location, join a gym or fitness class, or find an exercise buddy to keep you accountable.
  • Create a positive environment: Surround yourself with positive influences and people who support your health goals. Avoid negative influences and situations that can derail your progress.

Finally, it’s important to remember that recommitting to ourselves and our health goals is a process. It’s not something that happens overnight, and there will be setbacks along the way. The key is to keep moving forward, even when we find that we have slid back a few steps.

I am rooting for you.  I have my hand gently on your back. 

Hey, you’ve got this!

Healthy Hugs,

Sheri Burke

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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