You can be forgiven for thinking the path to WLS success is a straight one. Regular weekly losses of around about the same amount each time; a consistent pat on the back from your dietitian or team; no issues with compliance; and ‘you’re doing fine’. I know I did …
The reality is often very different – weight loss proves irregular, stalls happen, and regain can rear its head. Factor in that some old destructive behaviours can also reappear; your follow-up appointments are postponed or delayed (thanks for that virus!); and then you become less eager to see your team and even embarrassed to reach out to ask for help, and it’s a different pathway. Old-fashioned shame is something we are familiar with and often returns to hamper things too … even if we know honesty and transparency are really important and integral parts of any post-op recovery process, it’s hard to push aside.
I have experienced all of the above since my surgery 10+ years ago and expect them to surface from time to time again. I have however learned that if want long-term success it’s imperative I comply with my own after-care regime and the basics it is based upon.
Every now and again I do what I call a REBOOT where I re-visit the Back to Basics (click here if you want to see mine) and remind myself of what they are and do a check as to whether I am following them or more likely have let things slip. Then I try to fix by strictly adhering to them. More often than not it’s enough to see off any regain and get me back on track. If it doesn’t then I speak to my own post-op team of reliable professionals – the ones who realise that sometimes you lose your footing (and this is a quite natural part of the ‘recovery’ process) for specialist help.
Many of my own struggles, which you may relate to as well, hinge on portion control and appetite regulation. I never used to eat very badly, just too much (even of a good thing). So I also make a concerted and determined effort to portion control and use any emotional eating tips I have unearthed over the years to help.
Despite the fact that there is a finishing line flag in the image above I truly don’t believe it doesn’t shift a little from time to time. Making or achieving a goal weight is sometimes only half the battle to success – maintaining that in a healthy way is something to still work on – and it doesn’t have a finishing tape to cross.
Some of the things that have helped me have been my portion control products like my bariatric plate and cutlery; my recipes; my journal to record things; and my support group forums, who allow me to partake in concerns just like any other regular member. I am so pleased that I haven’t lost touch with so many of them because they offer a different angle and support to each and every problem I have encountered.
So if you’re struggling or wavering at the moment, and life is often a series of steps forward and slides back, please reconnect or chat to your team, access professionals if you need to, check out if some of the portion control aids below that might help you, and talk rather than try to deal with this alone … I’m here and have your back too!