Taking Control of Your Weight Regain
By Natalie Suttmoeller, RN BSN CCRN CBN
When post-operative patients regain weight, they are often overwhelmed, saddened, and embarrassed by what has occurred. Many times they will avoid their bariatric clinic because they feel as if they have not only let themselves down, but also that they have let down the team that has worked so hard to help them achieve their goals as well. For some patients those feelings occur with 5 pounds of regain while for others it can be 50 pounds or more. For both types of patients, the mental outcome can be devastating to their self-esteem, their confidence and in their ability to refocus and reclaim their lost pounds.
There are many things that affect weight regain. Some of these can be structural with your bariatric procedure. However, it’s more likely that you’ve abandoned a few of your “good”, weight-reducing habits in your very hectic life. Trying to get back on track can be challenging since it’s difficult sometimes to get into gear.
Bariatrics is a sub-specialty of medicine because obesity is a complicated disease that is often difficult to treat. While many times we can put the disease in remission through surgery, whether it stays in remission can only be partially in our own control. The first step to losing those regained pounds should be to make an appointment with your provider to discuss your weight gain issues. BE HONEST! If you tell your surgeon that all you eat is lean protein and vegetables it is going to be very difficult for them to help you. Go to your appointment armed with tangible and truthful answers. The more honest you are with your providers, the better your service and outcomes will be. Consider going to your appointment with a printed list of the following information to help assure a smooth and productive visit:
- Date and type of procedure that you have had
- Highest weight prior to surgery
- Lowest weight achieved after surgery
- Comments of when you first noticed that your scale was not staying stationary
- Note any changes in medications
- Note any changes in your health such as new diagnosis
- Any major changes in your personal life (divorce, changing jobs, etc.)
- One week or longer dietary log
- Note all food consumed, not only meals but also snacks
- Don’t forget to note liquid calories
- Exercise calendar of what you have completed
There are many phone applications that are free, or that can be purchased for a nominal fee, to assist you with this process. Bring printed information to your appointment so that your provider can appropriately evaluate your concerns. Weight regain does not have to be mentally devastating in fact regaining control can often be very empowering. At the first sign of a shift in your weight loss progress, seek help from your bariatric program. Learn to make an appointment with your bariatric provider before you actually need to get ‘back on track’.