A patient came in to my office the other day and said, “I keep eating all the wrong things. Every morning I start with a plan to do it right that day, and then I blow it.” I could tell that she had a lot of shame and was needing me to know that she already knew what she “should” be eating.
People often avoid seeing a dietitian because it feels like you’re going to the principal’s office. And truth be told, most people know what they “should” be eating after having bariatric surgery.
The Problem is, it’s Hard to Do it.
That’s why I like to give uncommon advice and tips that are different from what you usually hear. You don’t necessarily need to be told WHAT to eat. You need help figuring out how to do it consistently, and for the long haul. It’s all about human psychology – knowing how your brain works and using that information to your advantage.
Here are my 3 Uncommon Secrets to Success:
1. Don’t get Fixated on Weight: When it comes to eating and health, people tend to focus solely on weight-loss as the final answer. Instead of yo-yo’ing on and off of diets, it’s time to take a different approach and focus on what really matters: your HEALTH. Thus, rather than focusing on your weight, focus on how your body is functioning and do your best to take care of it. This might mean following up with your doctor, taking medications as prescribed, getting enough sleep and doing some form of physical movement most days. When it comes to eating there are some key principles:
- Ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” before you eat. If yes, then proceed with eating. If no, then don’t turn to food.
- Get in some form of protein at each meal, as this will help with satiety.
- Stop when you are satisfied (not full – satisfied).
2. Do the Things that Actually Matter: People waste a lot of time, money and energy on things that don’t make a difference (except leaving them feeling frustrated). There are no magic recipes, special foods, supplements, potions or detox teas out there that are going to “fix” you. If a magic bullet like this actually existed, don’t you think everybody would be doing it? Instead of getting distracted with these things, step back and think about what’s actually going to give you the biggest bang for your buck.
For people who have had bariatric surgery, some examples are:
- Eating 3 structured meals per day (not grazing)
- Getting enough protein
- Not drinking with meals
- Staying away from “slider” foods that aren’t satiating
- It’s the basics, the boring old basics, that matter.
3. Keep it Simple: Create a system for yourself. You know the old saying, “Work smarter, not harder.” I’m a firm believer in this. The more you can automate and systematize things related to your eating and exercise, the easier it is to stay on track.
- Pick a day of the week to do all of your menu planning and grocery shopping
- Eat at roughly the same times each day
- Stick to a consistent exercise schedule
This might mean signing up for exercise classes so it feels like an appointment. Don’t wait for the time that you feel like doing these things, because that time may never come. Make them part of your routine and before long it will become a habit. By implementing these strategies, you will find that it’s easier to stay on track than ever before.