Getting Back on Track after “Failure”

The days, weeks and months after bariatric surgery are very exciting times, to be sure. As the pounds melt off and the number on the scale decreases, most patients maintain a very high level of motivation, keeping their weight on a downward trajectory. However, the truly successful bariatric patient is the one who has mastered the art of getting back on track after a misstep.

That first hiccup is always the most difficult. Most the time, you’re in the zone and sticking to the diet religiously. It becomes easier and easier. You think you’re home free. Then, whether it’s a celebration, going to somebody’s house, maybe a family reunion or get-together and…you eat too much. Not only is it physically uncomfortable, it can also be very frustrating to say the least. To make matters worse, you might jump on the scale the next morning and see that you gained two, three or even more pounds from that one transgression.

It is here where your determination needs to shine! So, what do you do?

The first and most important thing you can do after a bad day of eating is to take responsibility for what has happened and not get discouraged. There will be days like these, and it unfortunately can happen sooner or later. Nobody goes through the rest of his or her life without taking a misstep. After you take responsibility, motivate yourself to redouble your efforts, eat well today and tomorrow and get to the gym. It is very easy to take one day of frustration and turn it into a week – compounding the problem.

If you are truly upset about your “failure,” go out and seek support of your support group friends, one of us at the office or even a mental health professional who can guide you through these difficult times. What you will undoubtedly find is that no one will judge you for one bad day and everyone else has done same exact thing at some point or other in their postoperative life. Most importantly, Dr. Chang does not see these missteps as failures, but rather opportunities to learn and develop tactics to avoid this situation in the future.

Don’t take getting back on track too far. Spending the next few days fasting or going to the gym three times a day or doing anything dramatic or drastic to make up for that one bad meal can set you back even further. The post bariatric lifestyle is all about moderation, which includes the days and weeks after rough patch.

Remember that extra weight seen immediately after a day of less than healthy meal choices is most often caused by bloat and water retention. Especially if you are eating out, you will not be used to the levels of sodium that are used in commercial kitchens. While it may taste good, it does our bodies no justice, increasing the amount of water that we retain and creating inflammation. Trust us, the water will go away within a day or two. No need to panic.

So, with the above being said, we want you to remember that bariatric surgery is a journey – it takes time to shed the weight that has been accumulated over years, if not decades. The weight will eventually come off as long as you retain your focus and dedication to your renewed health. Setbacks are inevitable, but it is how we approach them and ultimately conquer them that is the difference between good and great results! And never hesitate to call our office if you need more guidance.