If you’re like most people, the battle of the bulge seems endless. Weight loss or bariatric surgeries like the lap band and gastric bypass offer results that seem miraculous. People talk about their sex lives improving and dating more than ever before with a new-found confidence. And now insurance companies often cover the procedure.
But is it right for you? Will it solve what caused you to gain weight in the first plac?. There are some things to consider before you go under the knife. It may help your relationship with others, and most certainly with yourself to consider some of these things. Even with surgery about 20% of people gain the weight back because they have not made lifestyle changes and rely on the surgery to force them to monitor their eating.
Surgery carries with it a risk of infection or even death. You may have a longer than normal recovery time. You may not be able to eat foods you enjoy after surgery. You will be eating much less after surgery because your stomach will feel smaller. It is possible for you to adjust your eating to a healthier amount without surgery. Here are some practical steps to try. The only requirement is that you be honest with yourself!
- STOP DIETING! Put away the paleo diet, forget about juicing, and don’t do the all the rage diet from South Beach, Pritikin, or anywhere else. The reason those diets work is because they artificially reduce calories by leaving something or another out. Some severely restrict calories without telling you that because they have it all worked out on their pre-chosen diet.
- Drop the all-or-nothing approach to eating. If you eat more one day than another, that is something normal people do! You are not “on a diet” or “off” it. You are not “good” or “bad.” You are not punishing yourself or killing yourself. You are learning about yourself.
- Examine your basal metabolic rate using a free online basal metabolic calculator. Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body burns while at rest.
- Keep a food diary using a fun app conveniently located on your cell phone. Compare how much you actually eat to your metabolic rate. Some of the best apps include many restaurants. Once you start tracking your food intake, you may realize that you eat more than you think you do! Since you are not “good” or “bad” this is just a tool to learn more about the choices you make. Stop judging yourself, this supposed to be a useful tool.
- Use a pedometer to measure how many steps you take. Play a game to increase the number of steps. you may be surprised by how little you move. For more fun, buy a more high-tech kind of item like Fitbit which even monitors how much you sleep at night. Since it’s measuring your activity in steps, shopping counts! So does taking the stairs, or walking to deliver a message at work.
- Get up and do things during commercials. The modern tendency is to fast forward through the commercials and stay seated. This is where a pedometer can be inspiring.
- Don’t rely on the feel of your stomach to be full. Since your stomach can start to stretch again after surgery, you will certain gain weight if that is your only diet method.
- Take a walk with a friend on your breaks at work.
- To create a feeling of fullness, add more fruits and vegetable to your diet.
- Try some of the healthier fast food items at lunch. Skip the cheese and don’t Supersize the fries. Surgery will force you to eat less, so you’re teaching yourself to eat less to see if you can do it.
- Have the salad, but be warned – salads are higher calorie than most people realize! Measure your dressing. Add calorie-free vinegar to thin it out. A more expensive balsamic or flavored vinegar can be quite tasty. Finally, leave off the grated or crumbled cheeses and the bacon in favor of chicken or turkey.
- If you eat based on emotional impulse, find something else to do when you are feeling that way. Go for a short walk, or do some gardening.
- Try joining Weight Watchers if you haven’t tried it before. Some people find that losing weight in a group setting is more fun for them.
- Consider other reasons for your weight gain. Perhaps you are hypothyroid, something you can find out from a simple blood test. Don’t just rely on the the blood test results saying you are “normal,” get to know your actual numbers. There are many interpretations.
- If you feel down and feel like you don’t even eat that much but are still gaining weight, please read the article “Feeling depressed? It might not be in your head, but your thyroid instead” which details information about low thyroid and getting tested.
With realistic expectations, you can make many adjustments yourself without waiting for a surgery to change you. It’s worth trying all of these methods before having a major surgery. You will definitely feel increased confidence either way, and this will surely improve your relationships with others. But the most important thing is that you will have a better relationship with yourself because you will have been honest with yourself. And you will have taken more control over your life.