According to Donna DeMild, a long-term weight loss surgery (WLS) patient, “WLS is a journey that requires diligence and forgiveness.” As a patient of Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates, P.A., Donna lost 160 pounds and has kept it off since 2001. She made many lifestyle changes to find success, and although the road has not been easy, she says it has been worth it. To help you achieve the same, Donna offers some tips for weight loss, patient health, and lasting success.
- Take Advantage of Support
After receiving WLS, support will come in many packages. Donna suggests patients take advantage of WLS support groups, which offer a safe environment to process your experience. Similarly, she says that seeing your weight loss physician regularly provides reliable support from someone who can knowledgeably field your questions. Finally, turn to family after WLS. By aligning your home life with your weight loss goals, you are more likely to find – and maintain – success.
Holding yourself accountable is extremely important after WLS. As Donna says, “I always repeat to myself that my surgery is a gift, a second chance to live the life I always felt I should.” To keep yourself in check and take advantage of that second chance, she suggests monitoring:
- Nutrition: Record daily meals and calorie counts in a journal or on an app
- Water: Drink a minimum of 48-64 ounces of water per day (Donna eats and drinks separately)
- Exercise: Try to be active every day, even if it means choosing the stairs instead of the elevator
As Donna sees it, she used to wish for more stamina before WLS. Now that her weight has decreased and her endurance is greater, she takes full advantage of this each day – and you should, too.
- Goal Setting
After your initial weight loss, it might be difficult to stay motivated. When Donna felt this way, she set new goals to work toward, including walking for Alzheimer’s, brain disease, epilepsy, autism, obesity, and cancer. If you need motivation, try setting similar goals to inspire action. “Having these things to train for keeps me on target and gives me the opportunity to give back,” she explains. “Talk about a feeling of accomplishment!”
- Be Proactive
Donna cites being proactive as a powerful way to maintain post-WLS success. For example, she says that pre-planning her meals boosts her confidence and sense of personal control. Not only does this help her eat healthy, but it also relieves the stress of cooking during the week.
Eliminating stress is also key. While easier said than done, Donna suggests learning to respond rather than react to stress, taking time to make a rational decision rather than acting impulsively. Further, she instructs patients to be vocal with their supporters about what does and doesn’t work. She notes that after surgery, her husband wanted to be supportive, but didn’t always understand how. The clash caused stress, but with a little communication, they were able to get back on track. Donna explains, “I had to think about how I wanted him to help me with my weight loss journey and be very clear with what I needed from him. Once I did that, we both felt relieved and it helped our relationship grow.”
Finally, Donna also discusses how to deal with triggers. She says that pulling into her driveway after work used to be a trigger and was a “green light to eat.” To combat this trigger, she made a positive change: she started calling her husband to leash up their dogs so she could take them on a walk after pulling in. By doing this, Donna reconditioned her trigger with exercise and fun. Get creative and try this out with your triggers, too.
Find Your Inspiration
To hear more from patients like Donna, check out the WLS patient seminars offered by Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates, P.A. It’s a great way to learn more about your options for weight loss surgery and how Dr. Andrei has helped patients achieve their health goals. For more information, call 800-200-5553 or contact us online today.