Working to achieve sustained weight loss after bariatric surgery is essential for maintaining good health and well-being. The global increase in obesity, with rates more than tripling since 1975, is alarming. In the U.S. alone, nearly 70% of adults are overweight or obese. Without intervention, it’s projected that all American adults could be affected by obesity by 2048. Weight loss surgery is often considered the most effective treatment for severe obesity, typically recommended for individuals with a BMI over 35 with associated health conditions, or a BMI over 40.

Regardless of whether surgery is part of your weight loss plan, making behavioral and dietary changes is crucial. The following five steps are designed to aid in successful weight loss, suitable for most individuals, barring those with specific uncontrolled metabolic conditions, such as untreated hypothyroidism. When these conditions are well-managed, these steps can be highly effective. Here’s a comprehensive guide to five key strategies for weight loss success:

5 Tips to Help You Achieve Sustained Weight Loss after Bariatric Surgery

1. Choosing Nutritious Foods

Opt for a diet that is rich in proteins and low in carbohydrates and fats. Favor lean proteins like fish, chicken, and turkey, and limit high-carb foods like pasta and bread. Making healthier substitutions is beneficial – for instance, choosing brown rice or quinoa over white rice, sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, and whole wheat pasta over regular pasta.

2. Portion Management

Accurately measuring your food portions is essential. Using tools like measuring cups and portion-controlled plates can help. Educating yourself about portion sizes is also important; this can include reading up on the subject from reliable sources.

3. Five Daily Meals

Eating five times a day can help maintain a steady metabolism. Each meal and snack should align with the guidelines of healthy eating and portion control. A typical day might include a breakfast of healthy oats and a hard-boiled egg, a mid-morning snack, a lunch of grilled chicken and vegetables, an afternoon snack, and a dinner consisting of a lean protein like baked fish, along with quinoa and vegetables. Snacks can include high-protein, low-calorie options like protein shakes, fruit, Greek yogurt, or cheese.

4. Mindful Eating

The time you take to eat a meal matters. Aim for at least 20 minutes per meal, which allows your body to properly signal fullness. This process involves the production of leptin, a hormone that signals to your brain that you’re satiated. Eating too quickly can lead to overeating and a quicker return of hunger. Practice dividing the act of eating into separate steps: taking a bite, chewing thoroughly (count to 30), and then swallowing (count to 30 again before the next bite).

5. Regular Physical Activity

Exercise is a cornerstone of effective weight loss and overall health. Recent research suggests that 4 to 6 hours of exercise per week is optimal. This can include a variety of activities, such as gym workouts, cycling, walking, boxing, or dance classes. It’s advisable to aim for about an hour of exercise daily, which can be broken down into shorter sessions to fit into a busy schedule. Simple strategies like using stairs instead of elevators, or incorporating exercises into routine activities, like arm workouts during phone calls, can also be effective.

In summary, these five steps encompass a comprehensive approach to weight loss:

  • Nutritious food choices to improve calorie quality.
  • Controlled portions to reduce overall calorie intake.
  • Regular, balanced meals to maintain a constant energy level and aid in hunger management.
  • Mindful eating to enhance satiety and prevent overeating.
  • Regular physical activity to boost metabolism and enhance calorie burning.

By following these strategies, individuals can not only achieve sustained weight loss but also adopt a healthier lifestyle that supports long-term weight management and overall wellness.