Just because you had weight loss surgery does not mean you will be successful. But here are five habits of successful weight loss surgery patients. There is a twist at the end.
(1) They know where their calories are coming from.
“I measure everything I eat” – said Sally who had not lost her first year after weight loss then took it seriously, and started to cook at home and measure her food. There is no mystery of what they eat, how much they eat. If they gained a pound, they can tell you what was in their diet that caused it. They accept responsibility for what they eat.
(2) They cook most of their meals at home
“I make dinner every night, usually some fish, then I use the leftovers for lunch the next day. On Sunday I make a batch of chili for some other lunches or dinners.” – Stephanie who went from a size 22 to a size 6.
Cooking provides them control over what they eat and how much. They can portion better. They can make up some foods ahead of time (like a chili) and portion it out for a few meals later that week. Some will make a dinner that provides them with lunch the next day.
(3) They limit liquid calories
“Once I stopped having two glasses of wine a night the weight started coming off,” said Patricia, who had lost 40 pounds after two years, then “I gave myself a talk and looked at myself in the mirror – that wine wasn’t worth it”
Alcohol, specialty coffees, milkshakes, protein shakes, and soups are very limited
(4) The foods they eat five years after weight loss surgery are different from the foods they ate before weight loss surgery
“I never knew vegetables tasted so good.” – Fred who had not seen us in three years and then lost 200 pounds. He was a “meat and potato” man, having gained weight on the Atkins diet. When I told him to limit meats and starches and have unlimited vegetables- it turned his life around.
Pizza, burgers, large lunches followed by larger dinners – are all in their past. Often their comments are, “I can’t believe I didn’t weigh more.” They don’t go to the same restaurants they did before, and eschew fast food, and most restaurant food for better restaurants and healthier choices
(5) They exercise, but are not fooled by the gym’s “calorie numbers.”
“Weight loss is a lot of work.” – that from Mark, who went from over 400 lbs to 165 lbs in 18 months. He had the Lap-Band. He works out daily.
They know an hour of exercise is 100 calories, so they won’t get those 100 calorie snacks.
Contrast that with people who are not successful
(1) They think they eat much less than they are and cannot believe that the amount of calories they are consuming is correct.
(2) They drink a lot of soda, or a lot of alcohol
(3) They eat out often, rarely cook at home- and when they do it is often re-heating processed foods.
(4) They eat more desserts, chips, cookies, and processed food than vegetables.
(5) They make excuses as to why they cannot lose weight, “I can’t exercise,” “I have to eat out” “I can only eat chips”
Every one of the people who were successful were not always. They all had those excuses, and they all changed. It didn’t happen right after weight loss surgery. Some came frustrated, upset, and feeling they were not successful. Some blamed the operation for not doing more. Then they changed- accepted that they had to change. Most tell me, “I just stopped fighting the surgery, and myself, and knew I had to change.”
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