When the world around you seems to be spinning out of control, your VSG lifestyle can take a hit. Whether it’s a global pandemic or something closer to home—relationship problems, job loss, or health crisis—your gastric sleeve diet and exercise regimen may fall to the bottom of your priority list. Weight gain is often a side effect, of course, but your mindset about life in general can quickly spiral. Here are some tips on reclaiming power over your life when everything feels out of whack.
Tip #1: Make a commitment to yourself—and keep it. One of the most powerful ways to take control of your life is to build on small successes. When you make a plan and follow through, you build confidence in your abilities. If you’ve been skipping workouts because of a “What’s the point?” attitude, schedule one immediately. And then do it. You’ll be signaling to yourself that, even if you can’t trust the world to be a safe place, you can trust yourself. When one workout is completed, schedule another one. Or vow to eat one healthy meal today. When you feel great after that meal, you’ll probably want to keep that momentum going by eating two healthy meals tomorrow. Good choices lead to more good choices.
Tip #2: Take yourself off of autopilot. Many of us have a “default” answer in times of stress. For some, it’s an automatic “yes,” even when we don’t really want to. For others, it’s an automatic “no,” often stemming from fear. Neither of these is helpful in regaining a sense of control over your life. To avoid answering immediately and, likely, giving your usual reply, prepare a simple statement (perhaps “I’ll let you know soon”) in response to any request that comes your way. Then really think about what’s being asked of you. Do you usually agree to serve on committees, even though it zaps time you could use for meal prep or exercise? Consider passing this time. Are you scared to meet up with friends because of Covid-19? Maybe taking a socially distanced walk together will help you feel safe while also allowing you to connect with your support system.
Tip #3: Take tomorrow off the table. When things around you feel chaotic, it’s easy to retreat into an attitude of “maybe tomorrow.” Maybe tomorrow you’ll make better gastric sleeve diet choices. Maybe tomorrow you’ll feel like swapping the couch for a workout. Getting lost in the uncertainty of events around you is a common way to process fear, anxiety, stress, and other not-so-great feelings. But if you don’t make progress today, chances are that you won’t begin to take charge of your life tomorrow either. Start small if that feels better. Organize one drawer, rather than the whole kitchen. Prep meals for tomorrow, rather than the entire week. If your personality is “go big or go home,” however, take a bigger plunge today. Purge your closet and donate clothes that are too big, which has the added benefit of helping remove the safety net of a comfortable wardrobe in case of significant weight regain.
Tip #4: Step back from the negative. When things go sideways, many people believe that getting every last bit of information will help alleviate their fears. Often, the opposite is true. Watching bad news all day or spending hours online tracking the partner who left you leaves little room for thinking about things you can control. Step back from the negative and focus on making positive choices for your health and happiness.
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