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Your Mind is the #1 Tool for Bariatric Weight Loss Success

When new bariatric patients come to my practice, one of the first things we discuss is how unimportant the operation will be for them, in the big picture. Once they recover from the shock of that news, we explain that their mindset contributed to their weight problem, and their mindset will be the secret weapon to ultimately get the weight off.

Here’s the thing--we don't operate on your brain. Bariatric surgery will only take you so far. Long-term weight-loss success requires a firm commitment to living a healthy lifestyle—eating the right foods--and ignoring the others that made you feel bloated and too tired to do anything. You need to stay very well hydrated and discover an exercise (or two or three) that you perform about 4-5 times a week for about 30-40 minutes.

Take this stress and…

Then there’s the stress of everyday life—we all have it. The trick is to find ways to offset these unavoidable pressure points, so that you aren’t on a one-way road to the kitchen. Food is not the answer to your problems, it never was.

While you are improving your health, feed your brain with positive feelings by improving the quality of your life. Make the effort to become more social: Join a gym, catch a movie with a long-lost friend, invite the nice parents of your child’s best friend over for coffee.

Give a little, get a lot

One of the activities I recommend to every bariatric patient is to give back to their community. Want to feel better than any junk food could make you feel? Volunteer. If you look around, you’ll see that you’re far more fortunate than you may realize. Help out, make life better for someone else, even in a small way. Give your time, give your heart.

Everyone needs a little help

If you think you can’t go it alone, reach out to your bariatric or family doctor to ask for resources who can offer mental health support specifically for people with food/weight issues.

You are never in this battle alone, always remember that.

@Dr. Adeyeri,

Thanks for the reminder that the physical changes from surgery only take you so far, and your mind has to handle the rest. We’re told that WLS success is a long-term proposition and it depends our own choices, but don’t always realize that that means changing our mindset.

It sounds like you have a good idea explaining to patients that the surgery is only a small piece of the puzzle. It may give a patient the potential to control weight, but that’s all it does. The majority of long-term success and happiness depends on changes in mindset.

Thanks also for the great advice on ways to change the mindset. I love your suggestion to make sure you’re improving your quality of life in all kinds of ways as you lose weight, so that the weight loss journey isn’t strictly about weight loss per se, but about making life great. It is all too easy to focus so completely on weight loss that we don’t make the changes needed to enjoy life more, or we don’t realize that now the potential is there to enjoy life more!

Thanks for the insights and tips!

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