One of the most exciting things about vertical sleeve gastrectomy is the idea of creating weight loss goals that, perhaps for the first time, you feel confident you can achieve. Most of my patients set goals because it can be motivational to keep your eyes on a target as you navigate the normal ups and downs that accompany life after gastric sleeve in Mexico. The key is setting goals that are helpful, rather than harmful, to your overall success. So what does a “good” goal look like?
Make it personal. Don’t base your objectives off of others’ goals, and don’t try to “keep up” with a sleeve sibling, spouse, or friend who’s had the same procedure (maybe even on the same day). Goals can be a number or size, non-scale victory, experience, fitness stage, reduction in medication, etc. What’s important isn’t the type of goal; it’s that the milestone is important to you. What keeps Daymona going is her goal of ditching her wide-calf boots for “regular” boots. For Britni, it was fitting into non-plus-size Lululemon pants (which she achieved just two months after VSG). That brings me to the second part of this tip: your personal goals will probably change as your journey progresses. Your first goal may be to run a mile, for example, which then evolves to a goal of running a 5K as you become more fit.
Make it manageable. A “go big or go home” approach can be beneficial in some aspects of your life, but when it comes to long-term, sustainable weight loss goals, this mindset can set you up for failure—especially in the short run. If your goal is to drop 10 dress sizes by your daughter’s wedding in six weeks, you’re probably going to be disappointed. And disappointment can be a trigger for bad habits along the lines of, “If I’m not wearing the size I want, I might as well have a second slice of cake.” Putting a timeline on a goal is a gamble, but if you do, make sure it’s a manageable goal. Dropping two dress sizes is more realistic and it leaves room to exceed your goal, which is always thrilling.
Make it measurable. Some goals are easy to measure. If you’re going for a certain number, well, either you get there or you don’t. A “measurability” factor is important for every goal because it provides clarity as you progress toward it and gives you a benchmark for when/if you achieve it. If your goal is to “drink more water,” what does that really mean? Instead, think in terms of concrete items you can check off. Drink 72 ounces of water. Exercise 30 minutes, five days a week. Eat 20 grams of protein at breakfast. Record every bite this week. You get the idea!
Make it sustainable. VSG isn’t a short-term fix or a magic pill; it’s a way of life. So when you’re thinking about goals, consider things you can maintain for a lifetime. A goal of exercising for two hour a day is admirable, but is that something you can truly sustain? Or will you feel like a failure when you can “only” fit in an hour-long workout some days? Similarly, some patients have a weight or pants/dress size in mind simply because they like the idea of that number. But if 130 pounds falls into the underweight category on the BMI scale, what are the chances you’ll be able to stay there forever? And is it even safe? One caveat to the sustainability rule is a “back on track” plan (the pouch reset comes to mind) that helps VSG patients regain control over their eating habits and weight. These fairly restrictive plans aren’t meant to be your long-term gastric sleeve diet. They’re meant to be a hard reset for your habits while boosting your motivation as you watch the scale move in the right direction.
Lastly, whatever your VSG goal, don’t skip the best part: celebrating when you achieve it!
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.