Bariatric Surgery is Your Tool and New Behaviors are Your Key
By Carl A. Weiss, III, MD PhD FACS
Regardless of the bariatric surgical procedure you select, behavioral modification is the fundamental issue at play. By behavior what most of us in the field of bariatric surgery imply are changes in diet, active participation in support group and daily exercise. The degree to which an individual is able to incorporate these “behaviors” into daily life and daily decision making will determine either success or failure after bariatric surgery in both the short and long term.
We talk with patients who may have disappointing weight loss or weight gain. The common theme after further discussion is almost universally the inability to engage in positive behavioral change. An important concept is that of insight: the ability to think about and change behaviors is often absent until at some point during a person’s recovery from bariatric surgery they realize what has to be done to
achieve successful weight loss.
Another component of success is the ability to recognize that behaviors or habits are deeply ingrained. As stated in the adage “Old habits die hard”, habits are what we revert to in our daily lives. The triggers for maladaptive decision making must be understood before one is able to make good daily decisions regarding diet and exercise. Attend a support group. It is here that your personal engagement and discussion with other people will assist you in gaining insight to make positive daily decisions rather than revert or resort to habits that ultimately undermine weight loss success (i.e. grazing).
These are some important concepts that require regular reinforcement for many patients to fully understand their own personal journey to success after bariatric surgery.