“Is Weight Loss Surgery the Answer? Well, It’s Good for a Start!”
That was the headline of BSCI’s first brochure, way back in the late 1990’s. You see, as a weight loss surgery patient from 1995, I quickly recognized, that while the surgical care, multi-disciplinary clinical team and support groups were important, there was something more that was needed.
Like most of you, I suspect, I knew how to lose weight. I had spent my life researching diets, preparing for diets, on diets, screwing up diets. I could and did lose hundreds of pounds over and over again. When I went in for my surgical consultation, I recall saying to the doctor, with tears in my eyes, “please help me fix this!” I knew that a surgical intervention was needed, I knew that I would lose weight and fast! But, I also knew that I was responsible for changing my life and implementing habits that would ensure that I was able to maintain.
The first year was unbelievable! I started at 250 pounds and in exactly one year, I had lost exactly half my body weight. At my one-year check up, I was 125 pounds! Wahoo! I was bullet proof and so excited about my new healthy self.
But, once I reached my goal, my focus and my needs changed. I no longer needed classes, consultations about surgery options, possible complications, pre and post op diets, insurance and costs, and what would happen in the hospital. I no longer need support groups where the discussion focused mostly on the newbies.
I knew that there was so much more that I needed to learn about myself, my metabolism, my food addictions. I had to find out what successful long-term WLS patients knew and do what they did. I needed to learn how to think and behave like a thin person. I needed to learn and embrace a bariatric lifestyle.
Yes, weight loss surgery was an essential intervention for me. But it was just the beginning of my commitment to learn and succeed. It was just the beginning of the work and the ups and the downs of learning to use my “tool” to manage my weight. Surgery was good for a start.
Now for the rest of the story. As they say, find a need and fill it. For over 23 years, I and our BSCI Dream Team have created much needed educational and support programs to help patients learn how to live a successful bariatric lifestyle. We have helped tens of thousands of weight loss surgery patients all over the world to embrace a lifetime of learning to manage and maintain their weight.
Wherever you are on your weight loss journey, my advice to you is simple. Be a lifetime learner. Commit the time, resources and focus necessary to learn about yourself, and what it will take for you to manage and maintain your goals. Learn and then learn some more. And as you might expect, here are some resources to get you started!
LEARN the what successful patients know: The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients
LEARN how to personalize your own maintenance plan: 5 Day Bariatric R.E.S.E.T.
LEARN how to get back on track and manage set-backs; Back On Track Program
LEARN how to lead, inspire and support others. Support Group Leader Certification
All my best to you for a lifetime of good health and happiness,
Colleen M. Cook, President, Speaker, Author