I have a list of habits for successful life after weight loss surgery that I am trying to set in stone. It helps me every once and a while to go through the list and see how I’m doing:
- Exercise 45 minutes 6 days a week – Yes!
- Rotate between cardio, strength training, endurance, balance and flexibility– Yes!
- Make it fun– Yes!
- Set goals– Yes!
- Eat and drink the right way: slowly; split up calories across 3-6 small meals; stop when satisfied (stop when full first – it takes time to learn to stop when satisfied); chew thoroughly; no drinks with meals; 64 oz water minimum. Having some challenges here – keep slipping back into old habits. I don’t drink with my meals, I am getting in my water, and eat 3-6 meals BUT – I am often eating too quickly, not chewing enough and have noticed that I am eating “just one more bite” which are all danger signals. I’m going to make that my focus for the next little while and see if I can get back on track with that.
- Be committed to eating lower fat and good carbs for the rest of your life (insert link to good carbs versus useless carbs – Yes!
- Take all your vitamins and supplements EVERY DAY – Yes- for the most part – see below for more details
- Get 100+ grams of protein a day (protein load in the mornings to reduce cravings/hunger) – Yes!
- No mindless eating. If you didn’t plan it, don’t eat it. If you do, journal and track the Points – Slipping a bit here. Some mindless grazing in front of the computer. Need to remember the next rule
- No grazing: stick to zero calorie liquids when sitting in front of your computer/reading or watching tv – No!
- Keep homemade meals frozen for days/weeks when there “isn’t enough time” – Yes!
Live by your Plan:
Plan your work and then work your plan should apply to your life, too:
- When and how you are going to move and get exercise into your life – Yes!
- What and when you are going to eat – you need fuel to move – Yes!
- How and when you will reward yourself – shouldn’t be based on food– Yes!
Think and journal:
- What you’re eating – No! This is probably one if not THE most important and I’m just not doing it consistently.
- What you’re doing – Ditto
- How you feel – Ditto
- Weight – weekly (okay – daily, but three times a day is not healthy!) – Yes!
- Measurements – monthly: chest, stomach, waist, hips, arms and thighs – Yes!
- Your goals: short-term, near term and long-term – not just weight related goals – Yes!
- Counter the negative self talk with positive self talk and reality checks – Yes!
- Keep looking for new things to try so you don’t get bored with food or exercise – Yes!
- Do not get complacent – keep setting new goals – the only limit to how far you can go is in your own head.– Yes!
Total Score: 17 out of a possible 23 – 74%. Well, I’m passing…but I need to ace this. Obviously, need to keep working. I’ll do this assessment again in a couple of months to see how I am doing.
I also posted a list of indicators for successful weight loss surgery from a study that followed WLS patients. I also like to check this periodically. It is less strict than my own list, but I think of my list as reaching for the stars and if I am doing everything on this list, then I’m at least going to make it to the moon. Here is how I am doing:
EXERCISING: Successful patients exercised regularly to maintain their weight. Average was 4 x a week for at least 40 mins. Patients reported exercise as a key factor in their ability to maintain their weight.
How I’m doing: On average, I am exercising at least 4 times a week, for at least 40 minutes. I aim for 6-7 days a week at least 30 minutes a day. But this is an area that is easy for me to slide so I have to keep watching it.
EATING: Successful patients ate three small, well-balanced meals and two – three snacks per day. Included 3 servings each of protein, vegetables, one serving fruit, two servings bread/starches and two servings sweets.
How I’m doing: I eat 3 small meals and 1-3 snacks a day. I get in protein, vegetables and fruit. I have recently begun to add in some bread every other day and a sweet once a week. I am still losing, so I don’t plan to do more than that until I reach maintenance. Then I’ll need to experiment to see how much I need to eat and maintain.
DRINKING: Successful patients drank water and did not drink carbonated beverages. On the average, patients drank 40-64 oz of water per day, 74% do not drink alcoholic beverages, 55% do not drink juices or sweetened beverages.
How I’m doing: I have had about 3 sips of carbonated beverage, and about the same for juice, in the last 10 months. I drink at least 40 ounces of water each day. I might have an ounce of alcohol about once a month.
VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS: Successful patients took daily multiple vitamins, calcium and iron if needed. 39% continued to take supplemental iron.
How I’m doing:Weekdays at work, I rock! I get in all my vitamins and supplements. Night time iron is getting better now that I have a bottle in the kitchen and a bottle next to my bed and a bottle in the bathroom. But still working on the weekends. More often than not, I forget the weekends. Maybe I need to put packets of them in the pockets of my weekend clothes? Hmm…
SLEEPING: Successful patients slept 7 hours per night on the average. 76% rated their personal energy as being average or high.
How I’m doing: On average I sleep 8 hours a night – sleep by 10 and awake by 6. I have some mild bi-polar issues and with the increase in energy am seeing a little bit of manic behavior which keeps me awake more at night. It has been interesting because it has been years since I saw the other end of that spectrum, it has typically been just the depression that I experienced.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: Successful patients took personal responsibility for staying in control. 69% weighed themselves at least weekly. General feeling that maintaining their weight was up to them, and surgery was only a tool they used to reach and maintain a healthy weight. By weighing often and allowing themselves only a few kilograms of leeway, patients stayed in control.
How I’m doing: I confess, I am maybe a little overboard on this: I weigh almost every day. I’m getting better – I was weighing more than once a day. My goal is to just weigh in on Tuesdays at Weight Watchers and once a week on the Wii Fit on the 26th of each month. I do feel that it is all up to me. The surgery WAS just a tool and I will use it, but I have to choose what to put in my mouth and how to move my body and live my life in a non-obese way.
I may not be getting to the stars yet, but I’m definitely going to make it to the moon!