How to set reasonable, incremental goals after sleeve gastrectomy, duodenal switch or gastric bypass
Though a procedure like sleeve gastrectomy will help you lose a significant amount of excess weight, it’s important to keep your weight loss expectations realistic. During your initial consultation, you likely spoke with Dr. Stewart about the amount of weight you could hope to lose with weight loss surgery—expecting more than this is a surefire path to frustration and dissatisfaction.
Yet hoping to reach this eventual goal at superhuman speed can also be frustrating. It’s easy to get sucked into the fluctuations of the scale, but obsessing over minute changes in your weight will do you no favors. With time and dedication, you can reach your goal, but you’ll need something to keep you motivated and focused on improvement in the meantime.
This is what makes it so important to have incremental, easy-to-reach goals on your way to that distant, difficult one. By setting personal goals that let help you celebrate smaller victories, you can bolster your resolve to continue. Though you might think that these goals pale in comparison to your final goal weight, their rewards can be significant and their impact can be impressive.
Setting Your Own Bar
You can set as many goals as you want on the road to a healthy body, but it may be best to focus on one at a time. Remember that these do not have to be—and usually should not be—related to weight loss. Instead, form your goals around other important elements of your weight loss program, like your improving physical fitness and dedication to a healthy diet.
Think about why you want to lose weight and all the good that slimming down will do for you. If you’re just starting to adjust to an exercise routine, a sensible first goal may be to simply exercise four times a week. This may not seem like a difficult task, but accomplishing it will pay off: you’ll burn calories, improve your fitness and continue pushing yourself towards that far-off final weight loss goal.
Bariatric procedures like sleeve gastrectomy are all about improving your health and wellness. A reduced weight is the ultimate indicator that you’ve achieved this feat, but it is not the only one. Incremental goals like the one above will help you improve your health in many ways, so give them the credit they deserve.
Gauging Your Progress
It’s important to write down your goals and the steps you take to reach them—this is the only way you’ll be able to see the progress you’re making. There are many ways to record your goals—a journal, an Excel spreadsheet, a smartphone app—so pick one that’s comfortable and convenient for you.
The more detail you use when recording your goals, the better picture you’ll get of your progress. If you keep a detailed record of your efforts, it will be easier to figure out how to adjust your approach when you fall short of a goal, or how to keep moving forward when you feel you’ve reached a standstill. Just remember that our goals don’t always pan out as planned. If you don’t reach a goal, it isn’t the end of the world—use it as a learning experience and remember that any change worth making takes time.
What goals have helped you stay motivated after a procedure like sleeve gastrectomy? Share your experiences in the comments below.