If you’re my patient, you will lose weight after gastric sleeve surgery. And while many people look forward to it, too few consider how they’ll document the process until they’re well into the weight loss journey. Why is it important? For a number of reasons, actually, including the fact that most gastric sleeve patients will hit a plateau at some point. Seeing all of the progress you’ve made so far can be invaluable in helping you push through times when you’re struggling to stay the course.
Much in the way that people learn in different ways—through hearing, reading, or doing—people respond better to some kinds of documentation than others. So let’s start with physical documentation. This essentially means that you take your measurements at certain intervals, maybe weekly or monthly, and jot them down. I’ve mentioned the MyFitnessPal app as a personal favorite of mine, and I’ll plug it again here. It’s both record and tracking mechanism that you can keep with you at all times. What I love about physical documentation is that measuring your chest, waist, hips, and other areas not only gives you the satisfaction of seeing those measurements do down week after week, but it puts you in touch—literally!—with your body. It’s not uncommon for people who’ve been overweight or obese for a long time to develop a habit of avoiding looking at or touching their bodies. This provides a positive avenue for reestablishing a healthy relationship with your physical body.
Taking pictures is probably the most popular way for my patients to document their progress. We all know that the camera doesn’t lie! Your progress shots can either be for your eyes only or to be shared with others (on Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as motivation, both for them and for you. To be most effective, you have to be willing to take “before” shots, though, which some of my patients avoid simply because they’ve avoided the camera for years. My advice to all pre-op patients: Just do it. You’ll be glad to have that “before” shot as motivation when the rest of your life is “after” shots. And if it’s too late to snap your own pre-surgery picture, Endobariatric always does. So get in touch with our office to ask about getting a copy of yours.
You probably can’t wait to get rid of your “fat clothes,” but there’s something to be said for keeping a piece or two as part of documenting those shed pounds. My patient, Yvonne, recommends saving the outfit you had on the day of your sleeve surgery and putting it on every now and then as a reminder of how far you’ve come. I love it. There’s something about swimming in a piece of clothing you once wore that drives home your weight loss success more than even pictures and journaled measurements can.
Did you notice that I didn’t mention the scale as a way to document? I’m not naive enough to think that my patients will skip the scale; it’s how we’ve all been taught to measure weight loss. And it certainly serves a purpose. But it can lie to you in a way that other methods can’t. I get comments all the time from people who are “stuck” at a weight but say that their clothes are still getting looser. Guess what? That’s still progress! So please don’t get on the scale more than once a week. Instead, record those dropping measurements, look at all of the photos that clearly show you’re on the right path, and bring out a shirt or pair of pants that’s five sizes too big now. Those are the best ways to stay motivated every step of the way to a healthier, happier you.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.