Posted - August 29, 2012

Achieving Weight Loss with a Beginner’s mind

Getting Out after Bariatric Surgery

Have you ever truly “mastered” something? The feeling can be empowering at first, but quickly turns to dissatisfaction. Once you’ve become an expert, where do you go from there? By thinking you have nothing left to learn you risk frustration, stagnation and even regression.

You should strive for constant learning and improvement after a weight loss surgery like sleeve gastrectomy. It’s rare, if not impossible, for us to know everything there is to know about a single subject, even in our field of expertise. Though you may devote years to improving your lifestyle after weight loss surgery, there will always be more ways to improve and enrich your life with healthy habits.

Think like a Student

Highlighting the importance of maintaining an open mind, famed teacher Shunryu Suzuki told his students, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

Think about how you feel as a true novice. Because you’re learning something new, you have no expectations of yourself, no lofty goals to achieve. Your mind is open to new possibilities.

When you begin your weight loss journey, you have many things to learn. When you reach your goal weight, you still have many things to learn. Though this may seem intimidating at first, you shouldn’t get discouraged—this line of reasoning can keep you motivated for long-term success.

Once you’ve reached your goal weight, it will be tempting to declare your mission accomplished. But really, your mission is just beginning. You’ve laid the groundwork for a healthy life, and it’s up to you to build on that foundation, putting each brick of your positive new lifestyle into its proper place until you’ve built something towering and unshakeable.

But from there you can climb further still. By embracing your beginner’s mind, you ensure that no possibility stays out of reach, that your eyes remain steadily leveled on the stars no matter how close you come to touching them.

It’s unlikely that you’ll ever say to yourself, “I have achieved perfect health,” and you shouldn’t. Each of us is in a constant state of becoming. The lessons you learn along your weight loss journey will shape the person you become, but none of us will ever reach a form that cannot be.

Suzuki said that by discriminating too much, you limit yourself. Becoming too demanding will ruin the self-sufficiency of your beginner’s mind, leading you to violate your own principles. Instead, stay open and receptive. Each day, each hour, each second, each millisecond is a chance to grow. You will learn many things on your path to weight loss success, but there will always be something left to achieve—and this is a wonderful thing.