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It Works If You Work It: Staying Healthy After Bariatric Surgery

Posted Jul 30 2012 6:00am

One of the things you often hear in the diet world is the phrase, “It works if you work it.” Whether it’s an exercise program or a weight loss plan, if you’ve committed yourself to being healthy, it will only work as long as you work it.

This rings true with bariatric surgery as well. At first, losing weight will happen no matter what you do because you are physically restricted from eating the volume you used to eat. For some, you also have strong reactions to certain types of food (sugars, high carbs, high fats) that prevent you from overeating them. That “honeymoon period” only lasts for so long though before the choices you make will determine your overall success.

As I approach my two year surgiversary, I was reminded of this phrase this week. For the last 8-10 months I have been slowly seeing aboutsix pounds creep back on. Old habits (that truly die hard) were replacing some of my good ones, and I wasn’t being as mindful about my food choices. I also wasn’t exercising regularly and that combo was spelling disaster. So I did my fair bit of whining, said a few, whoa is me’s, and then had to get honest with myself. I was eating those pounds back on, and that was all there was to it. I wasn’t moving my body to burn calories, and I was acting like it was some huge mystery! Hello Denial.

At the beginning of June I decided to start the Couch to 5K program and I began working out three times a week with a friend. When we couldn’t go together I would at least hop on my treadmill and get in 30 minutes after work. I didn’t change much in the way of my eating but I was moving again and that felt really good. My new gym opened on June 18, and I got on my favorite piece of cardio equipment and that was it: I was in heaven! I have tracked 15 days of exercise since then, got a trainer for once a week sessions, and refocused on healthy eating.

It works when you work it. I’ve lost four of those six poinds and by body is definitely toning up. My goal is to lose 14 more, and I know I’ll get there. I’m drinking my water and I’m focused on protein again. What is amazing about this surgery and what ultimately caused me to have it, is that it never goes away. My sleeve (the common term for my new smaller stomach) is always small. It always feels full after eating lean protein and it always lets me know when it’s had enough, I just have to pay attention.

Whether you’ve had weight loss surgery or are simply trying to lose weight by another healthy means always remember: it works if you work it!

- Written by Bettina M. Straight, Employee Engagement & Communications Consultant, LifeBridge Health, Human Resources

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