Changing Your Environment After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

With vertical sleeve gastrectomy, you get a tool that provides a significant advantage in your efforts to lose weight and become the healthiest you. But as every sleever can attest, weight loss still requires plenty of effort on the patient’s part. Though it can be difficult or even painful, one of the most powerful things you can do to ensure success is create an environment that supports your efforts.

At Work
Oh, those office snacks. And birthday cake. And vending machines. And did we mention cake? It seems there’s always something to lure you away from your gastric sleeve diet at work. Combat the urge to give in by having a plan.
• Keep a variety of snacks on hand. If everyone else is eating doughnuts, trying to substitute an apple might not work. But what about a low-carb protein bar? I’m not usually a fan of these, but it’s definitely a better option than junk food. When an in-office happy hour involves chips and guacamole, pull out some wasabi almonds. Bottom line: Keep your healthy snack drawer full so you never feel deprived.
• Plan lunch. This seems like a no-brainer, but too many people leave the midday meal to chance, assuming they can find something relatively healthy at the company cafeteria or at a fast food place between meetings. But that leaves too much room for bad decisions driven by hunger. Always bring your lunch. If there’s no office fridge, pack your own cooler.
• Do the math. You might get tired of saying “no” to the near-daily onslaught of workplace offerings. So keep written reminders of what those treats really cost. A bakery cupcake, for example, has about 400 calories. That’s probably more than a third of your daily calories. How many pounds will you gain—or not lose—if you indulge just once a week? How many hours of exercise will it take to burn it off? Seeing the price of indulgence in black and white can make a huge difference.

At Home
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You have to be somewhat selfish after gastric sleeve in Mexico if you want to succeed. That goes against most patients’ instincts, which is why home can be the most difficult place to stick to a good gastric sleeve diet. Until your habits are solidified and temptation isn’t as…tempting, you may need to take drastic measures.
• Don’t eat with your family. If everyone else at home is still indulging in trigger foods or isn’t on board with your VSG lifestyle, it can be healthier for you to avoid meals with them for a while. Eat before or after the rest of the household and do some self-care (read a book, take a walk, etc.) while they’re dining.
• Tell them, “Hands off.” It can be frustrating when family members refuse to give up unhealthy eating habits—except when it comes to food you’ve carefully prepared for yourself. Spending hours prepping chicken, soups, and veggies for the week only to have it disappear into the stomachs of family members who aren’t on board with your new lifestyle can be frustrating. It can also lead to unhealthy choices because you’re too tired to prep more food! If necessary, get a smaller second fridge (that you can lock?) for your use. Better yet, tell them you’re glad that they seem interested in your food, and you’d welcome assistance to prepare enough for everyone.
• Delegate your chores. Many people who struggle with their weight are so busy taking care of everyone else that they don’t have to time to care for themselves. Sound familiar? Killing yourself (literally) for others has to stop. By offloading some of your self-assigned duties to your spouse, kids, or hired help, you’ll find time to exercise, meal prep, or just relax and recharge your batteries.

With Friends
Socializing can be the downfall of even the most committed sleever. Why? Because hanging out with friends is usually a signal to indulge. Establishing a new environment here is essential.
• Offer to take the lead. They’ll likely be thrilled if you volunteer to take over planning the get-togethers. That way, you can schedule active outings like hikes or yoga or arrange an in-home movie night where the food is (at least mostly) VSG approved.
• Plan ahead. If you’re invited to a restaurant, do some legwork ahead of time by pulling up the online menu. Have options in your mind so you aren’t tempted to deviate when you’re hungry. Don’t see anything you can eat? Call ahead and ask whether special orders can be accommodated.
• Disappear for a while. This is the hardest one yet. After bariatric surgery in Mexico, you might make some unwelcome discoveries. Perhaps one of your pals can’t have a good time without a few drinks or another seems determined to derail your healthy habits. You might need to rethink damaging friendships, at least until you’re strong enough to stand up to their pressure.

Losing weight can be difficult, which is why structuring a healthy environment is key to a happy, successful VSG journey.

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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.