Creating Healthy Habits After Weight Loss Surgery
Weight-loss surgery often works for obese patients who can’t seem to shake the pounds through conventional methods, but the surgery isn’t a magic cure. It will take effort and education when creating new healthy habits after weight loss surgery.
Our lives are driven by our habits. Perhaps before your weight loss surgery, your life’s small rituals revolved around food. The new life you create after your surgery will also be driven by your habits. As you change lifelong habits and give up an unhealthy relationship to food, you’ll need to establish newer habits to replace the old, toxic ones.
Consider these habits as your new life-driving goals:
1) Replace “Auto-Pilot” Eating with Mindfulness
In the past, you’ve likely enjoyed starchy or sweet treats as you enjoyed your favorite weekly program, or perhaps you scarfed a burger while racing to the next stop on your schedule. These old habits have to go by the wayside for your surgery to successfully inspire a new life. Instead, your eating habits should focus on mindfulness, sitting at the table, tasting every bite, chewing slowly and thoroughly, and taking 20-30 minutes to consume even the smallest meal.
2) Avoid Dehydration by Drinking Water Habitually
After weight-loss surgery, your water bottle will be your new best friend. You will need to drink 48-64 ounces of water per day, but you shouldn’t drink with meals or for 30 minutes afterward. As you sip throughout the day, you will be reminding yourself how important your health is and how small wins equal big rewards.
3) Prioritize Sleep
Getting enough sleep is necessary for weight loss. If you’re sleep-deprived, you’ll crave sugar, you’ll skip exercise, and you’ll return to unhealthy habits – not to mention that sleep deprivation triggers fat storage!
4) Learn New Coping Mechanisms to Handle “Triggers”
Your new healthy life won’t include eating your feelings. Instead, you need to take up journaling, talking with a friend, seeing a counselor, or other coping methods to deal with life’s challenges.
5) Plan to Move
Skip the elevator, set a timer to get up and walk, and schedule regular exercise! You must begin to move more as part of your new healthy lifestyle! A smartwatch or fitbit will help a great deal with tracking movement.
6) Consume Sufficient Protein
When sitting down for your meals, EAT THE PROTEIN FIRST! Protein is vital to a healthy life, and it’s difficult to consume enough after weight-loss surgery. You may also need to supplement with protein shakes. Monitor your macros to get enough protein in your diet.
7) Hold Yourself Accountable
Your new life will not be easy. To establish healthy habits, you will need to hold yourself accountable. For some, an app on your smartphone will be enough. Having a program inform you of your calorie and macros for each day, making suggestions for the future is quite helpful. For others, the connection to paper and pen is stronger and will require keeping a food and activity journal. Still, others will fare better through detailed journaling. Keeping a log of how you feel when you succeed and how it feels to fail will help keep you on the right path following weight-loss surgery.
8) Identify a Support Team
Having friends and family members nearby who support who is so important to success. If you have toxic influences close, your efforts could be sabotaged. Whether you have an existing support system or need to establish one, try to do it before the surgery. You’ll find many support groups that meet in-person and online for those contemplating bariatric surgery.
9) Banish Fast Food
The draw of fast food comes from convenience, affordability, and addictive ingredients. The effects of the surgery should help break any physical addiction to unhealthy ingredients, but the psychological and convenience factors will still play a role without mechanisms to prevent their influence. Many places now have healthy options, or you can swing into the grocery and purchase a salad. From this point, do not give yourself permission to indulge in fast food. Remember that one slip will lead to another and another, just like former smokers or alcoholics.
10) Stop the Sugar and Soda Cycle
After weight-loss surgery, creating healthy habits should be your goal. Establishing healthy habits will drive you to success, and without them, you will inevitably return to old ways and regain the weight you lose!
The sugar and soda craving cycle works as the body craves sugar, has a rush of insulin, then a drop-off that causes more intense cravings. Just like any physical addiction, the cycle can only be stopped by absolutely stopping the ingestion of the substance.