Guest blogger Jodi Green was a special guest speaker at our March Support Group. You can read her blog at www.ajourneytochange.com.
Most people who have weight loss surgery experience the fear of gaining the weight back at some point in their journey – with good reason. Along with the success stories we hear on television and read online, we often hear stories from friends or family of people they know who either never reached their goal weight or reached it but gained it back. It’s not necessarily wrong to have this fear, but it doesn’t have to be paralyzing or all-empowering.
I, myself, will soon be celebrating my four-year anniversary of my gastric sleeve surgery. I recently went through a hard time where I started putting some unwanted weight back on. The fear of regaining all of my lost weight – 103 pounds – was constantly in the back of my mind. The fear kept me vigilant in keeping an eye on weight gain, but it’s not what stopped me from gaining weight. When I feel myself falling off track, I turn to what I call the antidote to fear — self-care.
So, what is self-care? According to the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre, “Self-care is care provided for you, by you. It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self-care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.” Self-care helps me understand that I’m worth taking care of and in doing so, I don’t allow myself to fall into self-loathing when I’m unable to meet a goal.
In our last support group meeting, I asked everyone in the room to raise their hand if they have a self-care plan that they can put into effect when they’re not feeling their strongest – when fear or any other negative emotion is holding them back. Unfortunately, no one did.
The thing about a self-care plan is that it’s something that needs to be put in place before you need to use it. So that if the fear is immobilizing, you have the tools you need to move you forward. To motivate you. To keep the fear from becoming a reality.
What you choose as your self-care plan is entirely up to you. It could be getting a massage or a mani-pedi. It could be going to the library and reading a book in quiet. It could be making an appointment with your bariatric RD to review your nutrition plan. In our busy lives, putting yourself first isn’t always easy to do but it is so incredibly important. You had bariatric surgery for you. Just as surgery is a tool, think of self-care as one more tool in your weight loss toolbox. So remember to take good care of yourself and have a self-care plan in place for those times when fear or self-doubt start to overcome you. And then the fear will not have so much power over you.