While bariatric surgery helps you quickly shed a lot of pounds, you need a long-term weight loss mindset to maximize your results and sustain your success.

Changing Your Relationship With Food for Maximum Weight Loss Success

Talk to someone who's had weight loss surgery, and they'll tell you the procedure is just the beginning of the weight loss journey. While bariatric surgery helps you quickly shed a lot of pounds, you need a long-term weight loss mindset to maximize your results and sustain your success.

A crucial step? Making significant changes to your eating habits and your relationship with food. No, you don't have to say goodbye to enjoying normal foods. But you do need to adjust the way you think, and ultimately feel, about food to lose weight and keep it off.

Food as a coping mechanism

For many people, food offers a source of comfort when facing life's challenges. Many aspects of our culture center on food, and it's readily available almost anywhere you look. But many of the foods we enjoy are not healthy or nutritious. Instead, they're often full of fats, added sugar and empty calories that fail to provide adequate nutrition.

To make the necessary changes, consider whether food represents a primary coping mechanism for you. If it does, it's important to identify any factors that contribute to the relationship. If food is your go-to method of finding comfort, Sentara experts can help you determine better ways to meet your needs. Examples include developing healthier coping skills and learning better self-care techniques.

Shifting your weight loss mindset

Successfully slimming down starts with adjusting your mindset about food and your attitude toward weight loss. Determine your personal values, the weight loss goals you're trying to achieve and your motivations.

People pursue weight loss surgery for various reasons. Managing or preventing weight-related chronic health issues, looking better or having more energy are all valid reasons to pursue weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery is just one tool to manage your weight long term, though. If you don't commit to diet changes, you may see the gains slip away. While gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy remove large sections of stomach, the remaining pouch can still stretch, especially if you eat too much. This expansion allows you to consume more than recommended, with more calories — especially if you choose unhealthy or calorie-dense foods.

Resources to boost your weight loss motivation

Changing your relationship with food takes time and effort, and it's easy to go off track after your bariatric surgery. Prioritizing healthy eating habits and weight loss is a continuous process, and Sentara Healthcare offers additional help if you need it.

The Sentara Weight Loss program offers many opportunities for ongoing education and encouragement as you lose weight, including personalized weight loss coaching, individual counseling and focused support groups.

With each resource, our counselors, doctors and dietitians help you focus on healthy eating habits. They share techniques for mindful eating and creating environments that support success. They also help you deal with common issues, such as spouses or coworkers exposing you to unhealthy foods.

The Sentara Back on Track Program

Weight loss is an ongoing effort. If you find you need extra help with weight loss motivation a year or more after your procedure, Sentara offers the Back on Track program. This special motivational class helps people at least a year removed from weight loss surgery whose body mass index (BMI) remains above 30. Call 757-252-9500 to learn more.