Success after any weight loss surgery begins as a number on the scale for sure; and it is important to weigh ourselves regularly so we stay in touch with the number we declare as our goal and maintain our weight in a reasonable range. The scale does have a place in our lives. Rest assured it is NOT the only way to measure our success.
Here are some other ways that will help you to stay motivated along your journey which, by the way, is a lifetime journey. Once you commit to weight loss surgery you are a weight loss surgery patient for the rest of your life and making daily choices that support you as a weight loss surgery patient is certainly another way of measuring success. Here are some others:
- Take your measurements about once a month. This can continue for as long as you choose and is especially helpful when you hit a short plateau as your body readjusts to its new weight. Seeing a change in your measurements can be all you need to walk past those adorable Girl Scouts selling that crack cocaine they call cookies wherever you are on your journey.
- Take pictures throughout your journey, whether losing or at goal. Progress can be seen along the way. I may weigh exactly the same today but look smaller than 6 months ago, as I compact myself into muscle. Fat and muscle weigh the same; muscle is in a tighter, smaller package. When your motivation level drops take out a pic of where you started and look in the mirror and you’ll see the difference. Remember how far you have come. Phototherapy is a great way to actually SEE your success.
- See how your clothing feels and fits. If a shirt that was tight last week or month is now fitting nicely, or even better fitting loosely you know that you have made progress and are moving in the right direction. You may even have a goal dress or pants that you are working to fit into. Try them on and note how much closer you are to zipping them up comfortably.
- You’ve reached your goal weight, now what? Do you stop measuring your success? I think not. Figure out what areas you want to improve in, learn what it will take to keep you at goal weight and start working on those areas.
- You can measure your success on a daily or weekly basis. I like to review each day and begin with what I did right that day; then look at what I could have done better and how to achieve it tomorrow. That helps me keep my daily action plan for food, fitness, hydration and vitamins in place and going strong. My goal is to be 100% compliant on all however being human this not my reality. That end of day assessment really has me thinking how I can repeat a great day or improve one that could be better. I live in the world of good, better, best and do not beat myself up for BAD days….I have none, just not my best day. I let go of guilt a long time ago, that’s how I lost 270 pounds.
- Now comes one final way of measuring success that few of us really think about. Our moods are cyclical, the weather is cyclical, the tides are cyclical, life pretty much happens in cycles. What if our success and failure thoughts were also cyclical. As the weight comes off shortly after surgery we are riding that success high, we can do no wrong, we just keep plugging on doing what we need to, watching the pounds melt off and feeling good about that. Then, life happens, we make a choice or choices that are not in the best interest of a weight loss surgery patient. We begin to feel that diet failure cycle happening again like it’s happened with almost every diet we’ve ever been on before. Then the I can’t do this starts talking loudly in our ears and we begin living into our own thoughts of self-sabotage. What if we were to look at this choice or choices as only a temporary setback and we had faith in our own strength and ability to hop on that success wagon again and keep right on plugging through, winning, if not 100% of the time, a good portion of it. Then our next choice could more easily (notice I did not say it was easy) be one that served our journey to weight loss and health.
Now I am going to ask each of you to think about the first time you went “off program” from your doctor’s instructions while you were riding that success high…..was it pretty easy to have that _____________ (you fill in the blank) and then go back to following the weight loss surgery rules? It was for me because it seemed that no matter what I did I was still losing weight…notice the words- it seemed…. What I was doing was following the rules about 90-95% of the time, in compliance with food, portion sizes, protein, water, fitness and vitamins and stepping over the line to have a bite of someone’s dessert or a spoonful of ice-cream or yes, even a glass of wine. (the alcohol was with my doc’s permission). I wanted success so badly, I wanted my health back, I wanted my life back so I was able to take that bite or taste and go back to following my rules. I was riding the high of success.
Then life intervened with something out of my control and chose to stuff my feelings with food once again. How long would I let this continue? My thoughts are that each time I stepped out of my WLS patient box it would depend on my belief in myself and my ability to succeed as to how long I would stay out of the box….The longer I stayed out, the harder it got to step back in.
My self-esteem was and is still tied to success.
If life or my choices start to get in the way of my continued maintenance I have another measure of success – how long does it take me to realize that I am making choices that do not serve my health and then how long to change my pattern back to better choices?
This is a way of looking at success from a slightly different perspective. We are all human and will NOT be perfect 100% of the time, guilt at this lack of perfection does not serve success, it serves self-sabotage. I choose success and the feelings of accomplishment, self-esteem and most of all health that go along with it. For this reason, when I forget that I am a weight loss surgery patient first, I remember it quickly, regroup and continue my successful journey.
Remember, SUCCESS is a personal perception, it is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. What is your purpose? Only you can answer that question.
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