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Changing Your Habits After Surgery
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Changing Your Habits After Surgery

By John Angstadt, MD FACS


Success after bariatric surgery requires a lot of hard work. The surgical procedure itself is probably responsible for only 25 percent of your success. The remaining 75 percent relies on you changing your habits.


A habit is a mode of behavior acquired through repetition that has become almost completely involuntary. Changing a habit requires conscious work on your part.

Throughout your life, you have developed eating habits that must be changed. You must change the types of food you eat, the speed at which you eat, the manner in which you eat, and the portions you consume.


These changes require conscious, diligent effort. Changing a habit is hard work, but it can be done.  I recommend the Zen Habits tips to my patients who are working on making positive changes. Select just three to truly integrate into your life.  Once you master them, add one more.

- Do just one habit at a time.

- Start small.
- Do a 30-day challenge?
Write it down.
Make a plan.
Know your motivations, and be sure they’re strong.
Don’t start right away.
Write down all your obstacles.
Identify your triggers.
For every single trigger, identify a positive habit you’re going to do instead.
Plan a support system.
Ask for help.
Become aware of self-talk.
Stay positive.
Have strategies to defeat the urge.
Prepare for the sabotagers.
Talk to yourself.
Have a mantra.
Use visualization.
Have rewards.
Take it one urge at a time.
Not one puff ever.
Get rest.
Drink lots of water.
Renew your commitment often.
Set up public accountability.
Engineer it so it’s hard to fail.
Avoid some situations where you normally do your old habit.
If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.

At first, changing a habit may seem overwhelming. However, small daily steps will help you successfully alter your habits. Your efforts will reap large rewards – you will feel better, look better, and live better. You can do it. Let your journey begin today.