Gaining weight back after you’ve worked so hard to lose it can be discouraging and depressing. More often than not, there is a lifestyle factor or two contributing to your weight gain. Thankfully, you can get back on track by making changes to your typical routine. The following strategies can help you maintain your weight loss after bariatric surgery:
- Exercise regularly. The general rule of thumb is to exercise at least 150 minutes per week, or about 30 minutes five days a week. However, studies have shown that individuals who work out 200 minutes per week, about 30 minutes daily, have much greater success at maintaining their weight. The individuals with the greatest success maintaining their weight loss work out for an hour per day.
- Double down on your protein. Your bariatric surgeon likely emphasized the importance of protein after weight loss surgery. Every calorie counts while eating a bariatric diet. Eating sufficient protein is critical to meet your nutritional needs and prevent muscle wasting. Protein is also an effective appetite suppressant and helps you feel fuller for longer. Protein also reduces the hormones that trigger hunger. Your body burns more calories to digest protein compared to simple carbs, which helps you burn more calories while at rest.
- Drink more water. Dehydration is the most common reason why bariatric patients end up back in the hospital after surgery. Hydrating also provides weight-maintenance benefits. People who drink adequate water tend to burn slightly more calories during the day than those who don’t. Drinking water also helps you feel full. Thirst cues are also similar to hunger cues, which can lead you to think you’re hungry when you really need a drink of water.
- Know your weight. Some bariatric patients avoid the scale for a few reasons. They may be afraid to learn they’ve regained weight. They may not want to see how much weight they’ve gained back. They may be concerned about developing an unhealthy relationship with the scale. Whatever the reason, not knowing your weight can contribute to habits that cause weight gain. Individuals who weigh themselves often eat fewer calories than those that don’t as they are more cognizant of their weight.
- Exercise with weights. You’ll likely focus on walking or water workouts in the early stages of recovering from surgery. Once you’ve recovered enough and built up the necessary stamina, you can incorporate weights into your workout routines. Muscle is more effective at burning calories than fat. Rapid weight loss can diminish lean muscle, but lifting weights can counteract this. Individuals who strength train are also more successful at maintaining their weight loss.
- Don’t cheat all weekend long. Having a small treat from time to time isn’t a significant contributing factor to weight regain. However, having cheat meals, a cheat day, or cheating all weekend can derail your weight loss and cause your weight to creep back up on the scale. Individuals who follow a consistent diet all week, including the weekends, tend to have an easier time maintaining their weight loss.
- Get more sleep. Staying up late contributes to weight gain in several ways. Your body realizes you are still awake when you should be sleeping. It assumes you need more energy to stay awake, and it releases hormones that drive you to seek out food. Insufficient sleep also reduces hormones that help control appetite. Lastly, you’re less likely to work out if you’re tired. Aim to sleep at least seven hours per night.
Making simple changes can have a significant effect on the scale. If you’re experiencing weight gain after bariatric surgery, take a hard look at your diet and lifestyle choices. To learn more about the benefits of weight loss surgery, contact us to schedule a consultation.