Keeping on Track
By Pamela Kuehl, LPC
The other day, I had a session with a patient who had her gastric bypass three years ago. I often see this patient at the office and support group, but she never mentioned to me she was struggling with regaining weight. Actually, I was quite surprised and hurt that she didn’t call me and ask for my help. This is a patient I know well, and who is actively involved in our volunteer program. We speak frequently.
Like any session, I asked her why she was here. She disclosed that she had gained about 25 pounds over the past year and was worried about regaining all the weight she had lost since surgery. As we talked about her behaviors and habits, we identified her problem areas. It also got me thinking about the many other patients who were struggling and weren’t asking for help. So I compiled a list of pitfall behaviors that can lead to regaining of weight and how to stay clear of them.
- Avoiding is really ignoring reality. Denial will get you nowhere. If you keep watching the scale go up and up, you are the only one that knows it. Five pounds quickly becomes ten, ten quickly becomes twenty, twenty quickly becomes forty, and so on. If you are denying that you are gaining weight, you are ignoring reality. Before you know it, you will have potentially regained all your weight. Follow up appointments are important and help keep you accountable.
- Don’t let the fear of judgment from others impede on your weight management. As I talked to this patient, she was concerned about what other staff and patients would think about her weight gain. Don't let your fear of what someone else thinks impact your health. You have to do what is best for you.
- Once you have battled the bulge, you always will. The potential to regain the weight is always there. Surgery is just a tool. You have to make the lifestyle changes to maintain weight loss. You have the power to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s your choice.
- Be involved in your program. Volunteer to talk or visit other patients. Attend support groups. Surround yourself with other people who are going through what you are going through which is beneficial for everyone. It also reminds you that you are not in this alone. There are other people just like you. You can support yourself and each other.
Your bariatric team is here to help you in any way, big or small. Ask for help and support. Unfortunately, surgery is not the cure all for obesity. It’s a tool to aide you. It takes personal accountability and the commitment to making the choice to live a healthy lifestyle.