by Kaye Bailey
As patients of weight loss surgery there are some proactive things we can do to increase our luck for success at weight management using the surgical tool. Here I have divided those things into efforts we can do before surgery, during the first year following surgery and finally throughout the course of our life with weight loss surgery. Consider your stage in this journey to find opportunities to improve your own luck.Before Surgery:
1. Research your options. At this time three procedures (gastric bypass, gastric banding and gastric sleeve) are the most commonly performed surgeries for weight loss. A good reference is The Expert's Guide to Weight-Loss Surgery
by Dr. Garth Davis. Published in 2008 this book details the surgeries currently offered and is written in user friendly terms outlining the benefits and risks of each procedure. Apply your personal health history including lifestyle and dietary habits to the conditions of all surgical restrictions to best predict which surgery will work best for you. In other words, fit the surgery to you so that you may optimize it and improve your luck in making it work for you.
2. Find a qualified surgeon & established bariatric center. Look for a surgeon who is a certified member of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) who practices in a "Centers for Excellence" facility. Beyond that speak with your primary care doctor and other patients to learn about their experience with that doctor and facility. Avoid any practitioner who does weight loss surgery as a side practice or who does not provide lifetime follow-up care for gastric surgery patients.
3. Build your support network. Share your knowledge and concerns as you build a team of supporters. This team may include family members, friends, coworkers, local support groups and online support networks. It is crucial to your good luck that you surround yourself with those who will support and empower you throughout the process of surgery and during the transformation from disease to improved health as you recover from obesity. The LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood
is a great place to connect online for support.First Year Post-op:
1. Follow directions precisely. Over the last several years I have observed that patients who follow their weight loss surgery instructions precisely for the first year reach goal and suffer very few setbacks. Patients who tweak the rules early on struggle and seldom reach their goals. It is also the patients who break the rules and are struggling that are most likely to say, "I'm just not one of the lucky ones that the surgery is going to work for." Follow the rules for the first year and put luck on your side.
2. Ask for help. Just like parents bringing home an infant weight loss surgery patients have brought home an infant digestive system for which we are uncertain how to care for. When you have doubts ask questions. When things aren't right, ask questions. It is not enough to hope for the best. Go back to that support network you put in place pre-surgery and find answers. Turn your luck around by becoming a willing student and excellent learner. Learn the Four Stages of Growth
3. Document your journey. The first year of life after weight loss surgery is one of the greatest odysseys of your life. Document it in words and pictures. Publish it online with a blog or keep it private. This will become a valuable tool to you down the road when maintenance is routine and old habits are knocking on your door. A reminder of how far you have traveled will keep you moving forward in the direction you desire.Lifetime:
1. Conduct routine assessments of your physical, mental & emotional health. This is a lifetime journey and achieving goal weight does not mean we are finished. Many confirm that weight control and health maintenance is more difficult than weight loss. Routinely assess your health to measure progress or setbacks. From your assessments make adjustments setting short term and long term goals: do not leave your health to chance. Again, use the support system and health care network that you have in place. Use the Personal Self Assessment tool
2. Continue your education. Just as you researched your options for WLS continue to seek knowledge about nutrition, health, wellness and longevity. Be an informed steward of your body and make wise choices in the care and nurturing of that body: don't leave the care of your body to Lady Luck. You
deal the cards and manage how this game is played.
3. Stay connected with your support community at all times. It is very common to sacrifice our support system when life gets in the way. Yet it is in times of stress we need our support network the most. Stay connected. We don't unbuckle the seat belt just before a crash, by the same token, we don't disconnect from those who can help when we need them the most. A well chosen support community is there for the good and bad times. Stay connected.
Luck gets much of the credit for the work of persistence. We have more power over our fate than sometimes we believe. So rather than leave things to chance or luck let's put things in place to pro-actively manipulate our own luck and make things happen. You can do this!
You deserve to thrive in the best healthy life you choose. I believe in you.
Luck is the by-product of busting your fanny.