Weight loss is a process. Bariatric surgery can help jumpstart that process and help patients begin a healthier life; many patients lose a significant amount of weight in the first six months. Once the liquid and soft food phases have passed, often the biggest weight loss challenges bariatric patients face is maintenance—a commitment to long-term lifestyle changes.
Keeping the weight off in the years following surgery is dependent on avoiding old habits and discipline in a new, healthier way of life. Whether you choose bariatric surgery or another weight loss program, here are some tips to help you stay on track during the maintenance phase and beyond.
Keep drinking water. In the early stages immediately after surgery, hydration is essential. Drinking plenty of water is really a lifelong commitment, and is one of the simplest—yet most overlooked—ways to keep the weight off.
Don’t slip into old habits of drinking a Coke with dinner or a sugary coffee drink on your way to work. Sip on water all day every day to flush out the toxins and help keep your body functioning at a high level, while feeling full.
Make protein a priority. Protein not only helps you lose weight, but it also helps your body heal after weight loss surgery. Consuming a protein-rich diet will help you maintain muscle mass and healthy skin, hair and nails.
To get in the recommended 60 to 80 grams of protein each day, start every meal or snack with a protein source. Follow protein up with vegetables, fruit, and healthy, complex carbohydrates.
Always be mindful. Distraction is a way of life in our society and it is also a contributing factor to America’s obesity epidemic. Mindful eating means putting away distractions, measuring portions and paying attention to how you feel while eating.
Put down your phone while eating and avoid snacking or eating while watching TV or working on your computer. Instead, sit down at the table for every meal or snack, and be fully present and mentally engaged while eating. Take time to chew your food and appreciate every bite.
Keep a food journal. Find a system that works for you—whether it’s a mobile app or a simple pad and paper—and jot down everything you eat. Keeping a food journal is the best way to track habits and see when you might be slipping into old habits. Are you drinking enough water? Are you grazing too much? How’s your protein intake? Write down everything you eat and drink each day and make a note about how you felt before and after eating to help you build healthy eating habits.
Surround yourself with support. Everybody needs support in order to achieve success. If you can’t find a healthy support system in your inner circle, look for a weight loss support group near you and commit to regularly attending meetings. Take advantage of the various weight loss programs and support options available to you through your weight loss doctor. Build and maintain a positive support system to help you in all stages of the journey.
Are you ready to take the next step and learn more about how you can achieve your goals through weight loss surgery? Contact your First Baptist Medical Center weight loss doctor today to schedule an appointment.