I failed myself. It kind of crept up on me sometime after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the New Year. I started letting old habits creep back. I felt horrible like I failed myself and all those who supported me. But, I realized my mind and body are a work in progress. Getting back on track with weight loss meant going back to my bariatric basics and reaching out for help. I reconnected with my weight loss goals and why I wanted to lose weight in the first place. Our old habits will never fully go away, but working each day on new habits will bring us closer to our goal.
I Failed Myself
You know how it is after Christmas and New Year’s. You’re winding down from a busy December, full of tempting food, holiday gifts, parties and time spent with family and friends. You think, “Oh it’s the holidays, one little piece of cake won’t hurt.” Then the next time you’re faced with this temptation, it’s easier to give in. Soon, you’re not getting as much sleep, eating too many carbs and maybe slacking a little bit on your water intake.
I faced this exact situation at the beginning of 2019. I was eating slider foods more often – the ones that are usually high in simple carbs and provide little nutrition or protein. They sort of “slide” right through our new tummies without providing satiety of any sort. I failed myself by letting old habits creep back into my daily life. I knew getting back on track with weight loss was something I had to do.
At night, I was getting less sleep, after all, my new smaller body should require less sleep, right? I was drinking more caffeine (less sleep = more tired = more caffeine). Peachtree Bariatrics gives the following warnings about caffeine in an article: it can cause dehydration, it’s typically found in foods and drinks that aren’t part of a bariatric lifestyle, and it can irritate the stomach. I think the caffeine was dehydrating me, and I wasn’t drinking enough water. I knew because I felt dizzy when standing.
Getting Back on Track with Weight Loss
These bad habits started snowballing. I knew I had to get in front of the snowball before it turned into an avalanche. I let the old me and old habits sneak back into my life after I worked so hard to kick them out. My old habits made me feel pretty awful. Physically, I was feeling sluggish, which just prompted more caffeine. I felt irritable because I felt tired all the time.
Emotionally, I felt like I failed myself. Have you ever felt this way? It felt like I spent all this time and money to lose weight and feel better, and now I was wasting it. I felt like I was letting all of my supporters and readers down. After all, isn’t the purpose of this blog to help those going through weight loss surgery and to see the journey of someone who made it through it? I couldn’t be that person if I let my old habits take over. Worst of all, I felt like I was letting myself down. I worked so hard in 2018 to make my life what I want it to be. I was going to be damned if 2019 was going to mess that up. Getting back on track with weight loss was necessary for me to continue living the life I wanted.
So why am I telling you about how I failed myself? Because you need to realize that we are all human, and we are going to make mistakes. There may come a time in your journey that you find old habits sneaking back. Maybe you started drinking too much alcohol. Or perhaps you stopped taking your vitamins. Maybe you’re eating too many carbs and not enough protein. The lesson to remember is that bariatric surgery altered our digestive tracts, but not our minds. It’s our job after surgery to work on our minds. We must always remember how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. You can get back on track with weight loss too. I’ve developed 10 steps to getting back on track with weight loss easier.
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How to Lose Weight
Overcoming this failure wasn’t easy for me. I’m naturally drawn to simple carbs and sugary deliciousness. As you start to limit these foods from your diet, as well as cut back on caffeine, you go through withdrawal effects. I started getting headaches and became irritable. However, the more I went without these foods, the easier it became and the better I felt. Below are the 10 steps to getting back on track with weight loss.
1. Drink More Water
My first step in getting back on track with weight loss was consuming more water. I ensured I was drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. Water is so important to weight loss. It can help you feel fuller for longer, plus eliminates some of the caffeine and calorie-filled beverages you may be drinking. For tips on drinking more water, check out Six Easy Ways to Drink More Water.
Secondly, getting back on track with weight loss meant I ate more of the right foods and less of the foods that didn’t help my weight loss. For a bariatric patient, this means eating more protein. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends 60 to 100 grams of protein per day, depending on your unique body and medical history. This meant that I ate my protein first at every meal. I took small bites and chewed 20 to 30 times per bite. Not only did this help me slow down and savor my food, but it also gave my brain time to realize that my stomach is full, and I stop eating sooner.
3. Take Your Vitamins
This habit is something I rarely break, but still, I know there are certain times to take my vitamins. I got new pill minders that better split my vitamins into the times I take them. One that has two spots for each day, an AM and PM dose. I split that between the pills I take as soon as I get up, and the ones I take in the evening after dinner. Then, I have a second one that just has one spot each day, and that goes with me to work, church or wherever I’m heading in the morning. It contains all the vitamins and pills I take after breakfast. Filling these every week helps me remember to take my pills each day. I wait 15 minutes between each vitamin to allow my body time to absorb it.
4. Exercise Regularly
The fourth thing I do when I’m getting back on track with weight loss is making sure I schedule my workouts. Sometimes, when I’m tired and things are getting busy, I let exercise slide. I know I shouldn’t do it, not just for the physical benefits, but also for the mental benefits. Exercise, especially cardio, helps me work out my emotions and deal with them in a way that doesn’t involve food. I know I need to exercise regularly to feel at my best, physically and mentally.
5. Reaching Out for Help
Another healthy habit that I continue to work on is reaching out for help. I don’t like to admit when I need help, so it’s hard for me. Leaning on my support group is so instrumental. They’ll give me the kick in the pants I need to get back on track and cheer me on when I do it. I mostly rely on my favorite Facebook support group when I feel like I failed myself and need help getting back on track with weight loss. Although I do have family and friends who will listen and help me however they can, it’s nice to have a group of friends who understand where I’ve been and where I’m going.
Another place to reach for help is your surgical care team – your surgeons, dietitians and staff. I know it can be embarrassing, and no one likes to admit to their doctor that they aren’t following the bariatric rules. However, since they are medically trained, they can give you the tools and help you need to get back on track. Don’t be afraid to call them for advice or help with your new lifestyle.
6. Reconnect With Your Why
The biggest motivating factor for me losing weight is my family. I want to be around to see my nieces and nephews grow up, graduate, get married and start a family. My parents shouldn’t have to bury their daughter because she ate herself to death. I want to be there for my siblings when they need me. When I feel low and don’t feel like continuing this lifestyle, I think of them. I remember my why, and I continue to fight.
7. Get Seven to Eight Hours of Sleep
This habit is probably the one I struggle with the most, but also the one I need the most when I’m getting back on track with weight loss. Sleep is so important to weight loss. It helps our body recover, gives us the energy we need to be able to exercise, and helps us stay motivated by keeping our willpower muscle strong. To help get the sleep I need, I created a bedtime routine and set a strict bedtime for myself. Doing these two things helps me remember to get to sleep on time and sets me up for sleep.
8. Plan Your Meals and Track Them
I also went back to meal prepping and weighing my food. I can’t tell you what a difference this simple step makes in my life. Knowing how much food I can consume and eating just that amount at each meal, ensures my tool is functioning properly. Weighing and measuring my food helps solidify my new healthy habits. Tracking food holds me accounting and makes getting back on track with weight loss easier. I often use my Living Well Planner to plan my meals. There’s a space for each day to write down what I’m eating, and that helps keep me on track.
9. Practice Self Care
Just as I was getting my groove back, I was hit with an illness. I got a bad sinus infection, and it kind of threw my whole game. I was getting more sleep, as my body needed the rest. However, I had to cut back on the gym because I simply didn’t have the energy. I gave myself a week and a half to recover, and then when I was strong enough, I returned to my exercise routine. My water intake was good, but I did have one cup of tea in the day to soothe my sore throat.
This illness reminded me that I need to practice self-care. I need to take care of my body because I demand a lot from her. I need to give myself time to relax, decompress and rest. not having the time to do so makes me feel run down, tired and sick. Practicing self-care helps keep me motivated to getting back on track with weight loss.
10. Finding Your Self Worth
The final step I do to getting back on track with weight loss is reminding myself of my self-worth. You see, I spent too many years accepting people who treated me like I wasn’t good enough, and consequently, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I failed myself years ago when I believed I wasn’t good enough. This journey has taught me that just the opposite is true – THEY weren’t good enough for ME.
I kicked those people out of my life, and I started over. Throughout 2018, I made so many major life changes and had so many things happen to me, that my life is finally starting to feel like my own. I found myself again, and I never want to lose me again. Sticking to my lifestyle changes was part of finding who I was. As it turns out, I’m a fighter, a survivor and most of all, a beautiful, strong woman who can do anything.
2018 broke me down. 2019 built me back up. 2020 is MY year.
Weight Loss Tricks
Our old habits will never fully go away. Our digestive tracts were surgically altered, but not our minds. Letting old habits creep back in will make us feel lousy, which is why we must fight to reach our goals. We can overcome this failure by returning to the basics (minimum of 60 grams of protein and 64 ounces of water a day, taking our vitamins, exercising regularly and weighing our food). Knowing that we have our support system to nudge us in the right direction can prove invaluable. We need to remember our reasons for losing weight in the first place to motivate us to overcome our bad habits. We can do it together. You’re never alone in this journey.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free eBook with the 10 Habits to Change Before Bariatric Surgery, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
1. Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily
2. Eat a minimum of 60 to 80 grams of protein daily
3. Take your vitamins daily
4. Exercise regularly
5. Reach out to your support group for help
6. Remember your reasons for losing weight in the first place
7. Limit carbs, caffeine and alcohol
8. Get seven to eight hours of sleep per night
9. Practice self-care
10. Reach out to your bariatric medical team