Tips for long-term weight loss success

To achieve weight loss, you need to change your current behaviors. You're asked to work on these changes from the very beginning of your program at the HonorHealth Bariatric Center and to lose up to 10 percent of your excess (not actual) weight prior to surgery.

After weight loss surgery, these essential changes will be reinforced by the surgery itself. Like a helping hand, it's there to help ensure that you can get the weight off and keep it off.

A nutrition consultation will teach you the eating behaviors and nutrition recommendations that will prepare you for surgery and life after surgery. Remember, weight loss surgery provides a powerful tool to assist you with your weight loss goals, but like any tool, it must be used properly. It's your job to achieve and maintain your weight loss through proper food choices and exercise. A registered dietitian is available to help you with your meal choices throughout the program.

Tips for long-term weight loss success from HonorHealth experts

Mindful eating

Mindful eating is one of the most important behaviors you need to embrace. To be mindful means to be fully present physically, mentally and emotionally in the moment. Your primary focus should be on eating and not on any other activity. Being mindful during mealtime will help you:

  1. Experience greater satisfaction with less food.
  2. Notice the difference between satisfaction and fullness.
  3. Feel more peaceful while eating.
  4. Reduce eating for non-hunger reasons.

Behavior modification

Follow these behaviors to ensure success:

  • Eat in a designated eating area such as the kitchen table.
  • Set "no eating zones." These include in front of a screen, in your bedroom or in your car.
  • Do not eat while engaged in some other form of distraction (watching TV, reading, working or using your computer/tablet.)
  • Just before you eat, get yourself centered by taking a few deep cleansing breaths. Focus on your plate of food and think to yourself: Take small bites and chew well, one bite at a time.
  • Use a small plate and child-size utensils, dessert forks or a shrimp cocktail fork to keep bites small.
  • Pause to check in with yourself after a few bites.
  • Eat the portions you have put on your plate over a 20-minute period.
  • Observe the aroma, appearance, temperature, taste and texture of the food you're eating.
  • Remove the food from in front of you as soon as you feel satisfied.
  • Continue to be mindful of your eating habits when socializing and dining out.

Nutrition goals

Balanced nutrition intake is important before and after surgery. Aim for a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates for all of your meals. After surgery you won't be able to eat full helpings. Remember to:

  • Eat three meals a day at scheduled times.
  • Eat one to three planned 100-calorie snacks consisting of protein and/or fiber between meals if there are three to four hours between each meal. (Your dietitian will give you a 100-calorie snack handout.)
  • Avoid eating for non-hunger reasons.
  • Find a substitute for eating if you're nervous, anxious or bored. Exercise is the best solution.
  • Eliminate carbonated beverages.
  • During the month before weight loss surgery, wean yourself off caffeine so that you don't go through withdrawal while you're in the hospital.

Life after surgery

Five rules for success after weight loss surgery:

  1. Eat protein first (lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, soy, dairy, beans).
  2. Drink plenty of water: 64 ounces or more daily. Follow the 10-20-30 rule:
    • Stop drinking 10 minutes prior to eating.
    • Eat slowly for about 20 minutes.
    • Start drinking 30 minutes after eating a meal.
    • Note: You do not have to stop drinking when you're having a 100-calorie planned snack.

  3. Exercise daily. This includes walking/using your pedometer.
  4. Avoid unplanned eating. Your assigned snacks are scheduled.
  5. Take your vitamins daily. You'll get a list of the vitamins necessary for your procedure at your next visit.

Get more information about long-term weight loss success through the HonorHealth weight loss and bariatric surgery program.