Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Secret to WLS Success

What is the secret to being a weight loss surgery success?  

When aspiring writers ask me, “How can I become a writer?” my answer is invariably, “Be one. Write.” I’m a writer not because want to be one, but because I write. I’m constitutionally unable to not write. It’s not always easy, but I always do it. Writing keeps me alive and vital. In that sense, it’s a big part of healthy living for me. 

So, do you want to know how to be a successful WLS patient?  

The answer is: “Be one.” Make your health a top priority, not because you’re so ridden with medical problems, but because it will help you thrive. 

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But exactly what does that mean? It means that I write every day. Other than finding or making the time to do it, it’s not hard, because I love to write. So to be a writer, I practice the art of writing every day. What I write varies, just as what you eat varies, depending on how much time I have and what I’m in the mood for. Within 15-30 minutes of getting up each morning, I write something. I write e-mails to my accountability partners, telling them about my eating, exercise, and perhaps some funny, or infuriating, or interesting stories about my daily life. I write down the thoughts I have about magazine, newsletter and blog articles. I write lists of things to do and things to think about. At some point during each day, I write sentences or paragraphs or chapters of articles, essays, stories and books. I write journal entries that help me muddle through puzzling situations and relationships. 

I also love being slim and healthy, so I practice the art of being slim and healthy every day. This too varies, but within 15-30 minutes of getting up each morning, I practice my healthy lifestyle. I update my food log and report my food plan and eating behavior to my accountability partners. I get dressed in workout gear and spend 45 minutes at an exercise class, 5 days a week. I write a weekly menu plan and I write my grocery list. Even when I’m doing something that isn’t directly related to weight and health, I’m practicing. I see a plate of home-baked cookies on the break room table at work and think about whether I want to eat one or if I’ll regret doing that. In a short 15 minute break, I practice good eating skills as carefully as I can despite feeling hurried. When I get in my car to go home and notice I’m thinking wistfully of Chicken McNuggets or Dulce de Leche ice cream, I take a deep breath and ask myself if I really need those things or just want them as a quick fix. I try to see myself driving home and preparing the healthy meal I’ve planned. I try to remember how good I felt when I did that the day before. I think about how happy my dogs will be if I get home on time (anybody who claims animals can’t tell time has clearly never lived with a dog).

The key words in the two paragraphs above are “love” and “practice”. 

If you’re thinking, “But I don’t love to diet!” maybe it’s time to adjust your thinking. Instead of thinking, “I hate dieting,” try this on for size: “I love being a WLS success.”  

And it’s definitely time to discard the notion of being “on a diet”. A diet is something you do for a finite period (a week, a month, 3 months). It’s temporary, and when it ends, your eating goes back to the way it was before the diet, and lo and behold, the weight you lost comes back, and often it brings all its friends, and its friends’ brothers, sisters, and cousins. I know that for an absolute fact because it’s happened to me so many times since I was 14 or 15 years old. 

Being a weight loss success means practicing healthy eating every day of your life, for the rest of your life. Some days may be healthier than others, and that’s OK. You’re just practicing, right? It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be regular and ongoing. I don’t think about weight loss and health and all that good stuff every waking minute, and not all my thoughts are virtuous. I spend quite a lot of time thinking things like, “Why doesn’t that pickup truck just pass me rather than riding on my tail?” or “If he spits toothpaste on the bathroom mirror one more time, I’m gonna be one happy widow.” But thoughts about weight and health go through my mind every day. I’ve heard WLS patients say they never want to have to think about that stuff ever again. I don’t think I could succeed that way, and those thoughts are not a burden for me. The real burdensome thoughts I bear are ones like, “I should have hugged Mom more often before she died.” 

Oh, I know that “shoulda, coulda” thoughts are a waste of time and energy. That’s probably why they’re so hard to bear. But that’s a topic for another article. 

So, do you want success? I want to hear you say it, loud and proud:




And give yourself three cheers for your effort, even if you feel you haven’t yet achieved success. Sports teams get cheered at every game, whether they win it or not. When they win, they want to win the next game, and the next. When they lose, they go back out on the field to practice the next day, and to play another game the day after that. They don’t do that just because they owe it to their coach and teammates. They do it because they love to practice, play and win. 

“But I’m not an athlete!” you say? Me neither. But I do love being a WLS success!

1 comment:

jennxaz said...

I couldn't agree more!