The way you eat, the way you look, the way you act—many aspects of your life will change after weight loss surgery, but this is an undeniably positive thing. You’ve sought a procedure like sleeve gastrectomy precisely because it has such a great propensity to change lives for the better and help people develop healthier lifestyles where countless other methods have failed.
Dealing with the many changes in your life after weight loss surgery will not be easy, but it is possible. Every weight loss journey has its ups and downs. No momentous change will ever be made without experiencing a few setbacks. As the ups and downs come and go, you may pay the most attention to your successes, but it’s how you deal with failures that will truly define your progress.
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” –Abraham Lincoln
We are always learning. Though your bariatric surgeon and his team will provide you will all the tools you need to successfully complete your weight loss journey, it’s up to you to implement them—and to adjust your strategy when you find room for improvement. Because everyone is different, we all lose weight differently. Your weight loss surgeon will fit your weight loss plan to your individual needs, but you’ll be responsible for staying motivated and flexible as your progress continues.
You may have heard often that we learn more from our failures than our successes, but this sentiment really has some truth to it. Each time you overeat, skip a scheduled exercise session or scarf down something that’s not in your diet plan, it’s easy to grow frustrated, but this is also an opportunity to learn.
Picture yourself on the banks of a great river. Though you can’t clearly make out the other side, you know a better life awaits you on the opposite shore. In the murky, quick-flowing waters before you is a boulder, sturdy and dry—this will be the surest step, the one you make when you undergo surgery.
But the further you move beyond this boulder, the more uncertain your footing becomes. Though your stepping stones are becoming smaller and slicker, you’ve made it one-quarter of the way across the river without getting wet—then, suddenly, your foot slips on a mossy rock. Unbalanced, you find yourself struggling to retreat to safer ground, one foot dunked ankle-deep in the rapid waters.
Will you let yourself be swept away? Or will you pull your foot from the water, dry yourself off and devise a new path to avoid those mossy rocks in the future?
You might go to your favorite restaurant with the best intentions only to find yourself quickly reneging and ordering something that compromises the other good choices you’ve made throughout the day. Instead of condemnation, look at this mistake with curiosity. What could have caused this setback, and what could you have done differently? More importantly, how will you prevent this setback from hampering your weight loss journey a second time?
Throughout our lives, we’re constantly faced with new challenges. The only way to find out how to overcome them is to try, but don’t make the mistake of viewing your failures as worthless setbacks. Rather, view them as what they are: the catalysts that help you develop healthy behaviors and face new trials. Your weight loss journey is a time of great change, but we can’t change everything at once—by using your missteps as learning experiences, you can adjust your path accordingly.
What are some of the slip-ups you’ve encountered during your weight loss journey, and how have they helped you learn and progress? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.