Have you had lap band surgery? Are you considering weight loss surgery? Are you interested in learning about how a real, long-term successful lap band patient stays motivated? I had lap band surgery four years ago and have been maintaining a normal, healthy weight since 2007.
When I moved cross-country to a place where no one knew me before lap band surgery a really strange thing happened. People assumed I never had a weight problem. While that may sound like a great thing it has been difficult for me at times. I was already at the point in my journey where the compliments had started slowing down; I was no longer receiving that daily dose of: “You look great! I didn’t even recognize you. You don’t look like a person who has ever had a weight problem…” Those compliments that had come many times a day, slowed down to a trickle; when I moved, they came to a screeching halt.
Since childhood I always fantasized about what it would be like to live in a normal body. Now I found myself in a normal body confused; I guess that should have been a reason to celebrate – an NSV (non-scale victory). Instead I felt lost, like someone had shut off a major spigot of motivation for me. To further complicate matters I am an extrovert. The definition of an extrovert is that you get energy from others. I found myself missing and craving those compliments, the constant reminders of how far I had come which are a huge motivating force for me. Thanks to my lap band I got what I asked for, now how would I stay motivated and maintain my weight loss success?
I found myself needing new sources of external motivation and having to accept that I need others to help propel me on my journey. I need support and encouragement along my journey. I can’t do this alone. I don’t want to do this alone. Some things that have helped me when the compliments stopped coming are:
- Reinforcement from my children – my daughter constantly reminds me that I am healthy, fit, and strong; my son likes to “work out” on my exercise equipment. My children model my behaviors. They tell their friends “Mom eats healthy. Mom exercises and takes care of her body.”
- Trying on clothes – whether it’s “shopping” in my own closet or in stores, when I am reminded that I wear single digits I get a lot of reinforcement.
- Joining a new gym – people looked at me as one of the fit people at the gym and I am now comfortable working out and trying new approaches to staying fit.
- Talking to my mentor on a daily basis – my lap band support network is more important than ever.
- Going back and re-reading my goals for surgery as well as old food journals. Both are constant reminders of how far I’ve come.
- Going public with my story. I was very private about my decision to have lap band surgery – now it’s all over the internet. I share my story with anyone who will listen.
- Reaching out to others in the lap band community and paying it forward.
- Listening to others who are on this journey. I’m always in awe of how much inspiration I get from people who are early on their own journeys, on a daily basis.
I have had to find new sources of motivation to maintain my success with lap band surgery. I hope some of these tips are useful for you or someone you care about.