Seven Strategies To Avoid Weight Regain After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
I’m going to talk about a topic that creates a lot of concern for some people, and that is, how to avoid weight regain after gastric sleeve surgery.
Towards the end, I’m going to provide you with seven strategies that I have picked up by interviewing many of my successful and unsuccessful patients and also having done my own research.
What exactly causes one to regain their weight?
There are a few factors that I will enumerate that are causes of weight regain after gastric sleeve surgery, but before I go there I do want to mention that the big question around the durability of weight loss surgery is dependent on two factors.
Number one is genetics, which as you know, your set point, your body frame and all of that about which you really cannot do much about. The other factor is your lifestyle, it is your mind, body and soul habits that are creating your lifestyle. Your lifestyle has a 90% influence on where your weight is going to be in the long term, something to keep in mind. You can’t change much of your genetics but you can certainly change your lifestyle and that’s what holds a significant power over the eventual weight that you will carry in the long term.
There are four key causes of weight regain after surgery:
1. Medications. Medications, for example antidepressants, can sometimes impair your metabolism and create issues. Long-term use of Nexium or Somac or acid-reducing medications are also known to have been associated with weight regain.
2. Food additives. I see a lot of people that are obsessed with portion control. Yes, portion size has some bearing but what is more important is the quality of foods that you are consuming. Are they mostly processed foods? Are they rich in artificial flavours? Are they high in sugars? Do they contain chemicals and preservatives? These factors are more important than simply just portion control.
3. Inactivity. What is the level of exercise that you engage in?
4. Injury. If you have suffered an injury of some sort, especially a musculoskeletal injury or have arthritis in the joints this would inhibit you to exercise as frequesntly as you should to prevent weight gain.
What are the seven strategies that you can apply from today onwards?
1. Diet, as previously mentioned. Your diet should predominantly be whole-food and plant-based.
I’m not trying to state one should just become a vegan or a vegetarian because I don’t believe in those terms. As I’ve said, vegan means you don’t consume any dairy but what is important to understand is sugar is vegan, beer is vegan, alcohol is vegan. So, vegan by itself has little meaning with respect to weight loss.
I want you to focus on 80% of your diet being whole food plant-based diet which means your daily intake consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans which are great sources of protein. Yes, you can have a little bit of chicken, you can have a little bit of fish, no problem with that, but understand that predominantly, you need to have a whole food plant-based diet.
2. Water intake. Your body is 63% water. If you’re not keeping yourself hydrated your metabolism cannot function optimally. So, keeping a track of your water intake by having a water bottle which is about a litre to litre and a half every day.
3. Sleep. Making sure that you get good six to eight hours of sleep is very important which means avoiding caffeinated drinks at least six to eight hours before going to sleep. Avoid using screens because it interferes with the hormone, melatonin, which is your sleep hormone. The blue light which emits from the devices or the screens actually interferes with melatonin secretion which can affect your sleep. So, having calm lighting in your bedroom, also making sure that you read something or sometimes doing meditation – whatever works best for you.
4. Stress management. We all have different levels of stress in our lives. It’s not about whether you have stress or not. What is more important is how you handle the stress, regardless of whatever the triggers are, whether it’s a relationship, your boss, your co-worker, whatever or whoever it is, if you are stressed out or in a negative emotional state you tend to make poor food choices. That’s simply how it translates, so it’s very important to keep that in mind.
5. Exercise. Exercise does not mean doing a little bit of gardening, doing a bit of laundry, doing a bit of cooking; no. Exercise time has to be a dedicated time, you need to get in your exercise clothes and your heart rate needs to increase and you need to sweat. That’s what I call exercise. Having a good rough guide so you have a goal (depending on your age) with what heart rate you need to reach to exert & expend energy. I recommend up to 20 minutes. That’s all you need, 20 minutes of exercise, whether it’s high intensity or it is resistance training or it’s on the exercise bike. You choose based on your consultations with your personal trainer.
6. Self-care. Now, what do I mean by self-care? Self-care does not mean going for a manicure or a pedicure; no. Self-care means you got to know yourself. What are your triggers? What is it that causes you to go for food in an unhealthy, reactionary way? What is it that mucks up your relationship with food? See these are bigger questions to answer rather than saying something such as: “I’m just going to go on a shopping spree because that makes me happy”. That may contribute to self-care but on a very, very superficial level. So knowing yourself, understanding what your drivers are, what is it that pulls you down, that’s what I call connecting with your real self.
7. Developing a morning hour of power. Now, what do I mean by that? Having a sacred time for yourself that is quarantined just for yourself. What that does is, and I prefer the morning hour,it allows me to develop a schedule for myself.
I get up in the morning usually around 5 am and I do meditation for 20 minutes, I then do some exercise for another 20 minutes which may be a combination of yoga and running. The last thing I do is listen to some uplifting music for 20 minutes. You could make up your own routine but that hour allows you to develop a foundation so that whatever happens during the course of the day you are able to handle it. It will help you feel grounded during the course of the day, so if that if a passing snarky remark that is normally a trigger happens it will actually allow you to respond rather than react.
Understand this friends, weight regain is a big concern on many people’s minds after weight loss surgery and revisional surgery is not an easy answer. It may or may not allow that sustained success unless you have addressed these seven key points that I havesuggested above. So, I hope you have got value out of this article, and thank you for your time.
Take care and stay safe.