The unthinkable has happened. You’ve fallen back into old habits and gained weight after weight-loss surgery. It’s exactly what you thought you promised yourself would never happen.
The late night snacking has started again. The bread and sweets you once avoided completely are now back. Because life got hard. And busy. And messy. It happens! Particularly given the challenging times we are in. Or it could be that this all starting happening well before this current pandemic.
The honeymoon period following WLS is over – the kids are still demanding, work is still busy and when you are time-poor, the first thing that usually goes out the door is healthy eating and self-care. Why? Because others are counting on you to take care of them, rather than counting on you to take time for yourself.
BUT remember…..it’s NEVER too late to get back on track!
Try focusing your energy on the following;
- Re-discover your main motivation – What was the main reason that drove you to have WLS in the first place? Perhaps the motivation that brought you success in the past is still what will light that fire now. On the other hand, you might need a new motivator to get you back on track. Some examples include partaking in 10k run or fitting into clothes comfortably. Whatever it is, it needs to make you feel excited to have the best effect!
- Set a realistic plan using 5 key areas – Once you’ve re-ignited your passion for change, consider how you are going to get there. Which of these areas need work;
- Meal Structure – if you’ve become relaxed about planning out meals it’s likely that you will start to snack and therefore eat more over your day. Return to the meal structure that worked for you initially after surgery
- Food Choices – We cannot underestimate how important quality is when it comes to food choices. Are packaged foods coming in more frequently? Are rice/pasta and bread replacing quality protein foods (chicken, egg, tofu) more often? How’s that fresh fruit and vegetable intake going?
- Non-hunger driven eating – eating when bored, sad, happy or stressed is really common the further out from surgery you get. It’s can be easy to “control” such eating habits early on during the honeymoon phase. But as real-life kicks back in, so do those triggers we haven’t actually addressed. It might be time to seek support to address these habits by speaking with your dietitian or eating-behaviour psychologist.
- Portion sizes – are you surprised at how much you can eat at meal times? As time goes on its physically easier to eat more. Get your small plates and bowls back out again and only dish 1 metric cup of food per meal plan to keep your portions in check
- Exercise – make an exercise schedule, it’s not just going to happy by accident! The main way exercise helps you to stay on track is that it makes you feel awesome (endorphins) and more motivated for other healthy lifestyle habits.
- Environment cleans – get rid of those foods that are triggers for you. Keeping them around makes staying on track way too hard
- Create your support team – have an honest conversation with your family about how you are feeling and what needs to change. Be clear about what foods can stay and what foods need to be kept out of sight. Discuss what language they use makes you feel encouraged and what hinders your mood/progress. And create a list of activities you can do together that doesn’t revolve around food. Also remember to link in with your healthcare team, they help people get back on track all the time!
- Taking care of yourself – Self-care is not being selfish. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The better you care for yourself, the better you are able to care for others in your life. Caring for yourself means taking the time to focus on all of the above points.
Remember, you’ve got this!!
Written by Julie Hennessy