Changes in routines, stress, negative emotions and financial concerns can make it difficult to stay on track with your eating and exercise. When the going gets tough, it’s especially important to rely on clear eating guidelines to ensure you are making the healthiest choices possible. Here are some suggestions Dr. Aviv Ben-Meir, board-certified general surgeon with Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center, shares with his patients about maintaining healthy habits after bariatric surgery.
Accept that food will be a smaller part of your life. Accepting the fact that food will be less of a focus in your life will make it easier to have long-term success. Enjoying the quality rather than the quantity of your food can help you manage this change.
Eat the same healthy foods. People who do well with their bariatric surgery often eat the same thing from day to day. This is helpful in two ways. One, it is very easy. Find a healthy meal or two that you like and repeat. By doing this you don’t have to calculate calories and protein every day. Second, it removes the emotion from eating. If you spend time each day thinking about what you want for breakfast or lunch rather than what you should eat, you are more likely to make unhealthy choices.
Eat protein first. Eating lean protein first increases the likelihood that you will get enough of this important nutrient. Non-starchy vegetables should be the second type of food you consume at each meal. In addition to providing your body with the nutrition and fiber it needs, eating lean protein and vegetables increases satiety, which helps you avoid hunger between meals, and can help reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume.
Count calories. If you want to lose weight you must take the time to count your calories and make sure you are eating fewer calories than you burn. There are apps such as Baritastic and My Fitness Pal for tracking your food consumption and associated calories. If you are not comfortable with electronic record keeping, you can manually record the foods and beverages you consume and calculate the associated calories. Although it may seem like a lot of work, knowing how many calories are in the food you eat is essential to making informed choices which will help you lose weight.
Avoid emotional eating. Emotional eating can lead to consuming high calorie foods that will interfere with your weight loss goals. If you have difficulty managing your emotional eating, therapy may be an option to consider. A therapist can help you recognize eating triggers and help you develop alternative, healthier ways to manage emotions.
Stay in touch. Maintaining contact with people who can provide support is helpful for staying on track. We encourage you to continue with regular post-operative appointments and stay connected to support networks. Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center also offers ongoing education and a support group where you can find great connections with other patients. Dr. Aviv Ben-Meir and the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center team believe in and are committed to your success. Call 440-602-6737 to get in touch with them.