If you’ve never been a planner, vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a sure-fire way to change that. All of a sudden you have to plan how to take in the recommended protein, produce, and water. But to maximize your VSG tool, I encourage you to plan in other areas as well. It may sound like work, especially if you’re not a born planner, but some detailed preparation actually can add more fun and, yes, success to your weight loss journey.
Plan for temptations/indulgences
Sometimes you know when a temptation is coming. In those cases, decide ahead of time whether you’ll indulge a little or find a way to resist the craving. If your birthday just won’t feel complete without cake, for example, think in terms of “limiting” rather than “depriving.” Buy a single cupcake so you don’t have an entire cake lying around the house, or look up a low-carb recipe that will deliver the satisfaction without the guilt. Some people can’t do just a little indulgence, though. In that case, plan for things like parties and evening out before the invitations are even extended. Have a few go-to dishes that you can whip up for gatherings so you’re not tempted by Aunt Sally’s mac ‘n cheese, for example. And always preview restaurant menus online so you have a plan going into the meal. Knowing that the smothered chicken breast fits into your gastric sleeve diet means you don’t have to leaf through an in-restaurant menu (and possibly be lured into ordering the lasagna when you’re ravenous).
Plan for pleasure
We all need to find joy wherever we can these days. And as anyone looking forward to a planned vacation can attest, the anticipation is half the fun. So actively devise ways to ensure that your lifestyle is not only about counting calories and grams of protein, but also about enjoying the heck out of every day. Your moments of fun don’t have to be as big (or expensive) as a vacation. They should, in fact, be “small” enough that you can dip into them regularly. Think about your favorite everyday moments: cooking with your kids, reading a good book, trying a new flavor of tea, watching a favorite show, or taking a walk with your BFF. Then plan for ways to include more of these moments in your day or week. Maybe you set up walking “appointments” with your pal, or schedule a weekly library day so you always have books you can look forward to reading at the end of the day. Prioritizing pleasure is key to recharging your mental batteries, and we all know that weight loss is a mental game.
Plan for rewards
Rewarding yourself for a job well done is a smart way to stay motivated over the long haul. Some people like to set goals in terms of pounds, but you can also reward yourself according to how often you hit the gym, consistency with your water intake, etc. Rewards can be anything that feels like a treat, but I like the idea of matching the reward to the goal itself:
• Losing a certain number of pounds or inches may mean shopping for new clothes, getting a pedicure that draws attention to your leaner legs, or a massage that helps you appreciate every inch of your body.
• Stuck with your meal plan all month? You deserve a high-speed blender that whips up your morning smoothies beautifully, a new cookbook full of healthy recipes, or a piece of kitchen equipment (maybe an air fryer?) that will make meal prep easier and tastier.
• If your reward is exercise based, some good ideas include new workout clothes, a gym or online workout platform membership, or other at-home fitness gear that will keep you looking forward to sweat sessions.
Planning for temptations, pleasure, and rewards is an effective way to reach your VSG goals—and have more fun along the way.
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