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Losing lbs and “Falsities” Bariatric Edition

There is so much information out there about weight loss and what’s the next best thing.  We are obsessed with the latest and greatest diets and we all want to know how to get the weight off and keep it off.  This also applies to bariatric clients.  Sure, there is a tool intact to help get the weight off but that tool is not doing the work.  That tool works only as long as we work it and our results depend entirely on us and how we choose to use that tool.

Am I saying that weight loss surgery is not the answer to weight loss? Of course not.  I am saying that weight loss surgery is an amazing tool and it works but we need to continue to put in the effort once we reach our goals.  If we choose to turn back to bad habits, the weight will slowly creep back on again.  It’s up to us to make those important changes during the first year post surgery and to work hard to ensure that we maintain our results long term.

I want to address a few “falsities” that I continue to hear and read about.  I think that they need to be discussed and we need to form our own opinions.  The more we research and learn about this process, the stronger we are to fight against obesity and obesity-related illnesses.  Let’s dig in.

Dieting is the way to lose weight.  WRONG.  How many of us have been on a diet?  I bet you that all of us have been on a diet more than one time.  I think that most of us are on a diet all of the time. If we are constantly on a diet, then why are we gaining weight or why is the scale in a permanent stall?  

Dieting means restricting ourselves or eliminating food groups or suffering in some way to try to get results.  I think that this “dieting mentality” needs to change to a “lifestyle mentality”.  Instead of beating ourselves up through restriction and deprivation, why don’t we be encouraging and kind to ourselves?  Why don’t we congratulate ourselves for making good decisions instead of being mean to ourselves when we eat something, not on our plan?

Let’s try for the rest of this month to change our thought-process and just relax and be gentle and choose to see the positive strides we are making instead of focusing on the negatives.  We can check in and compare notes at the end of this month.

Exercising a lot is the way to lose weight.  WRONG.  How many of us feel like by hitting the gym or a spin class, that we can burn off the calories that we ate today?  Weight loss occurs in the kitchen and health and fitness occurs in the gym.  We cannot exercise our way out of a bad diet.  The first thing we need to do is to get our diet in check.  From there we add exercise but we add exercise because we enjoy it and because we want to improve our health, strength, and flexibility. If we hit the gym just to burn calories, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

I remember the good old days when I used to teach aerobics and spinning classes.  I could eat whatever I wanted and get away with it.  But then I remember how I taught 5 hours of lessons each day.  Is this truly realistic today?  I mean, I am almost 50 and could my body even keep up with that kind of torture on a daily basis? Is that much exercise even good for you? Of course not!  If I wanted to deal with permanent injuries and inflammation, I would go back to that lifestyle.  No thanks. I have been there, done that and I have the t-shirt to prove it.

Besides, who has the time to work a full time job, raise two teenagers and spend time with their husband and two dogs?  I have social activities and friends and extended family to think about also.  It’s not that I am lazy.  It’s that I exercise a few times each week and I seriously enjoy that time. I don’t try to kill myself to burn off calories.  Besides, even if I can burn off 400 calories in an exercise session, how quickly can I turn around and eat those 400 calories lol ?  Give me 10 minutes.  

I exercise today for me. I exercise to keep my muscles, tendons and bones strong. We need to change our mindset and eat to lose weight and exercise to improve our health.  And why does exercise have to mean beating ourselves up?  Why can’t we go for a nice, outdoor walk?  Let’s do some body weight exercises and have a stretch.  Let’s try to change our mind-set about weight loss.  Let’s think “lifestyle” and how lucky we are to have a beautiful body and a fabulous mind.  Let’s feed ourselves with real food and exercise in a realistic, healthy way.

Don’t let life get in the way.  Make it your life desire to take care of yourself and to love yourself each day.  I salute you on your amazing and continued journey to good health.

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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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