If you’re considering bariatric surgery in Mexico, you’ve probably said some variation of “I want to lose weight” millions of times. Need to, have to, want to, going to…the words may change, but the focus is the same: the weight itself. The problem is that it says nothing about your readiness to do the work involved in losing weight. Do you want to lose weight with VSG? Of course! But are you ready to do the work? Now that’s the question.
Question #1: Will you change your lifestyle forever?
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy isn’t a short-term solution. It’s a long-term commitment. I’m not talking about the fact that your stomach literally changes shape; I’m talking about the fact that VSG is a tool that you must work with for the rest of your life. If you don’t, chances are you’ll regain some—or even all—of the weight you initially lose. So really think through what a new gastric sleeve diet means to your lifestyle. Are you willing to:
• Give up the comfort of overeating?
• Confront your addiction (if applicable) so you don’t transfer that addiction to another substance?
• Watch your friends and/or loved ones eat food you love without giving in?
• Commit to a lasting exercise regimen (ie: no more starting and then stopping after a few weeks or months)?
Question #2: Will you banish excuses?
Some patients are incredibly hard on themselves, while others tend to blame everyone or everything except themselves. Be honest: are you an excuse-maker? If the scale goes up, do you assume it’s either inaccurate or the result of water retention? When you overeat on date night, is it your spouse’s fault for picking a hard-to-resist dish or restaurant? Successful weight loss—and weight loss maintenance—is about being totally real with yourself. You have to confront the good, the bad, and the ugly, especially if you hit a stall or experience regain. Are you willing to:
• Track your food intake accurately on an app or in a journal?
• Drink the recommended ounces of fluids every day, even if you don’t like water?
• Take responsibility for your own eating habits no matter what others around you are doing?
• Eliminate from your vocabulary excuses that give you an “out” for weight loss failure (“it’s genetic,” “I knew it wouldn’t work for me”)?
Question #3: Will you commit to planning?
Doing the work to lose weight means planning many aspects of your life in detail—for the rest of your life. From food to water to exercise, everything has to be carefully considered so you don’t succumb to the lure of easy but unhealthy food or go weeks without exercise. Yes, you have time. The question is whether you’re prepared to use some of your precious free time to plan, prep, cook, etc. Are you willing to:
• Research recipes that meet your gastric sleeve diet requirements?
• Shop for and prep meals and snacks for up to a week at a time?
• Spend the money on meal delivery services if you can’t/won’t devote your own time to meal prep?
• Get up earlier than usual to exercise if that’s the only time of day you’re free?
In some ways, deciding on vertical sleeve gastrectomy is the easy part. But before you pull the trigger on the procedure, evaluate your willingness to transform major aspects of your life in order to maximize your VSG success.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.