Ensuring Long-Term Success After Bariatric Surgery: Key Strategies and Tips

Bariatric surgery marks a significant step towards significant weight loss and health improvements for many patients struggle with obesity. However, the real challenge often begins after the procedure, as maintaining the results requires substantial lifestyle changes and a dedicated approach. It is not uncommon for bariatric patients to experience weight regain; research shows that about 30% of patients may face this challenge down the road after surgery. In this week’s blog post, we’ll review key strategies and tips to help ensure you have long-term success after bariatric surgery.

The Crucial Role of Consistent Lifestyle Changes

Post-surgery success hinges significantly on consistent lifestyle adjustments. Initially, many patients enjoy a phase where weight loss appears effortless, often described metaphorically as the “yellow brick road.” However, as this phase wanes, the importance of ingrained healthy habits becomes more apparent. Key habits include prioritizing protein intake, ensuring adequate hydration, incorporating regular physical activity, and taking bariatric-specific vitamins every single day. These behaviors should become as routine as brushing your teeth.

Staying Resilient Through Life’s Challenges

Navigating life after surgery is not without its own trials and tribulations—emotional upheavals, relationship dynamics, and other personal challenges will inevitably arise. During these periods, the foundation of healthy habits developed in the initial post-operative months can provide crucial support. It’s essential to have these robust habits in place to fall back on during challenging times, thereby preventing the relapse into unhealthy behaviors.

The Power of Protein and Hydration

Starting with the basics, ensuring a daily protein intake of at least 60-80g + and drinking over 64 ounces of water should be non-negotiable habits. Protein is essential for maintaining lean skeletal muscle mass, especially important in a calorie-deficient state post-surgery. Hydration helps prevent dehydration—a common reason for hospital readmissions in the early months after surgery. It is also pivotal to take your required bariatric-specific vitamins every single day to avoid significant vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Harnessing the Power of Habit

Incorporating healthy behaviors as automatic responses to daily life can greatly enhance long-term success. Simple affirmations like “Exercise. It’s what I do. I’m an active person,” or “Drinking water. It’s what I do. I’m a water drinker,” can help reinforce these habits mentally and emotionally. These mantras aid in transforming these actions into intrinsic parts of your identity, promoting consistency.

Reconnecting with Your ‘Why’

Understanding and often revisiting the motivational core—your ‘Why’—can be a profound source of strength. Whether it’s aspiring for better health, desiring to live without medications, or wanting to see your grandchildren grow, these powerful personal incentives can anchor you during moments of temptation or difficulty. Techniques such as placing reminder notes or setting screensavers can help keep these motivations at the forefront of your mind as well.

Looking Beyond the Scale

Focusing solely on weight or clothing size can be detrimental to your psychological well-being and can undermine the development of sustainable habits. Instead, shifting your focus to more profound and holistic goals—like health and well-being—can foster a more balanced approach to post-surgery life. This perspective helps cultivate a mindset that values health over mere numbers, aiding in the emotional and mental adjustment to changes in body image and self-perception.

One Day at a Time: The Strategy for Continual Progress

Embracing a day-by-day approach can prevent the overwhelming feeling that may come from looking too far ahead. Setting small, achievable goals each day builds up to significant long-term success. This method not only maintains motivation but also makes the process more manageable, reinforcing the journey’s attainability.

In Summary

Achieving and maintaining success after bariatric surgery is a feasible and sustainable goal with the right strategies. By embedding consistent, healthy habits, focusing on personal motivations, and taking one day at a time, bariatric patients can navigate the post-surgery landscape more effectively. This approach not only aids in maintaining weight loss but also supports a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle.

Have You Struggle With Regain And Need Help Getting Back On Track?

If you’ve been trying to work on yourself and are struggling to find footing, or need some extra support to get back-on-track, I encourage you to explore our bariatric community and support group Banana Bariatrics. And if you haven’t already grabbed our FREE Weight Regain Resource, be sure to do so as well below!

long-term success after bariatric surgery

This blog post was inspired by my interview with Bariatric Psychologist Dr. Connie Stapleton on the “Power Of Consistency” when it comes to long term success after bariatric surgery. Give it a listen!

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