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From Setback to Bounce Back

By Carl A. Weiss, III, MD PhD FACS

 

I’ve suffered plenty of setbacks in life. But one thing I always do is keep going. Those are the stories in my life that I love telling—the ones where I am defeated temporarily and then come back in triumph. I’m pretty good at handling setbacks in life. When you are a doctor, you get plenty of practice managing setbacks and adversity. One thing I’ve learned is that perfection is not essential for success—but persistence is. If you want to triumph over your mistakes, failures and rejections, I’m telling you, you must keep going in the right direction. Even when the going gets tough. That’s when it counts the most.

 

Going from a setback to a bounce back is a very common scenario for patients who undergo weight loss, especially with weight loss surgery. Generally, when patients lose contact and don't follow up, often the tendency is for patients go back to their old ways and enter the cycle of weight regain. Just a pound every week or every 2 weeks over time can readily contribute to complete regain of all the weight that was lost.

 

The concept of success is determined largely by behavioral change. And conversely those who do not understand behavioral change properly are at highest risk for weight regain. The first step towards getting back on track is reengaging with the program or surgeon or providers that the patient trusts most to help understand the principles of long-term success. These are 1) protein-based nutrition in conjunction with 2) regular aerobic exercise and 3) some sort of support system whether it's within one’s family or network of friends or in a group setting that can help lead to long-standing behavioral change for insight and understanding. Step one in terms of engaging a program is critical followed by regular visitation over time. The need for nutritional assessment is critical since there are long term nutritional consequences that inevitably occur in patients who “fall off the wagon”. Additional strategies that are helpful to get back on track include food journaling and, if indicated, short term use of appetite suppression medication which sometimes can jump start the weight loss process. The last option is surgical revision while the first option is behavioral change. Surgical revision should be thought of only after trying to change ones behavior first and foremost.

 

Remember...when you are doubting yourself, get up and bounce back. With persistence and hard work, you can overcome failure and attain your goals.