Maintaining Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery
The moment you started the process for bariatric surgery was the moment you made a commitment not only to yourself but to a healthier lifestyle. Now that you’ve reached your goal weight, the objective is to maintain that commitment. To maintain weight loss and the goals you set for yourself means staying committed to the healthy lifestyle choices you make every day. Whether it’s healthier dietary decisions, incorporating physical activity into your schedule daily or getting adequate hours of sleep, your challenge is to keep it up. Here are some tips to keep you on track while maintaining your goal weight.
Stay Within Your Calorie Range
It can be tempting to want to eat fewer calories to maintain the weight loss, however, eating too little can be incredibly detrimental to your weight loss journey. Without proper nutrition, it’ll be even more difficult to sustain weight loss. Make sure that you’re reaching your protein goal daily and staying within your calorie range.
You can self monitor your daily calories by using an app (e.g. MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, Baritastic, Carb Manager) to track your food intake or by jotting down your meals/snacks on a daily basis on a sheet of paper or journal. Try planning out your meals the night before. That way, you’re more likely to stick with your plan.
Remember to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Doing so, helps you become more mindful of your food intake and able to feel full and enjoy your meal. A good rule of thumb we like to tell our patients is to make each meal focused around protein and fiber-rich veggies. In terms of drinks, liquid calories count also. Water and sugar-free, decaffeinated beverages are healthy options.
Don’t let yourself get too hungry either. Waiting until you’re ravenous can lead to grabbing unhealthy choices and overeating
Physical activity has an impact on weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. It prevents muscle depletion during weight reduction, helps maintain bone mass, increases the metabolism rate, and is related to increasing your overall mental and physical health. It’s recommended to exercise for at least 20 minutes daily. I like to tell my patients that 2-3 days of strength training is good and the other days can be long walks, bike rides, yoga and more.
Take Your Vitamins
Maintaining your vitamin/mineral supplement intake post surgery is very important even after you’ve reached your goal weight. Routine vitamin and mineral status screening is also important so make sure you’re getting yearly blood work.
Recognize Physical vs. Emotional Hunger
Pay attention to physical and emotional hunger cues. Physical hunger comes on gradually and doesn’t trigger an emotional response. On the other hand, emotional hunger comes on suddenly and can trigger feelings of guilt and shame which can lead to poor food choices. It’s important to know the difference and plan for those moments by incorporating non-food related responses to your triggers like going for a walk, taking a few moments to yourself to read or take a bath. Trusting your hunger, eating mindfully and stopping when you are comfortably full are key elements of successful weight maintenance.
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Keep up with Your Follow Up Appointments
Following up with your surgeon and registered dietitian after bariatric surgery is not only crucial to assess outcomes, weight loss and resolution of comorbidities, but also is necessary for patients to receive continual support regarding diet and lifestyle modification. At New Jersey Bariatric Center, our post operative program will help you along the way. From individualized meal planning, exercise routines , and custom appointments, our team is here to help you maintain your goal weight.
Support is an important part of your success and can help you stay motivated. New Jersey Bariatric Center offers monthly Tuesday Talks group meetings and access to a private Facebook community to share stories and find support. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment call us at 908-481-1270.