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part 2: solutions to get you back-on-track

So now what?

If what you’ve been doing isn’t working then STOP DOING IT.

It’s time to start thinking about things differently.

That same old dieting advice that didn’t work for you before surgery isn’t going to work after either.

But, don’t worry, Katy is here to help. She has worked with hundreds of people who have had weight loss surgery. She has honed in on some key factors that will actually make a difference for you. Katy says:

1. Do the things that matter.  It’s easy to get bombarded with information and overthink it. You can spin your wheels doing things that don’t matter.  I had a client who kept trying all these special protein-fortified foods and finally I told him, “You’re spending a lot of energy on these special foods, and you’re still gaining weight. Let’s look at some other factors that might be impacting you.” He wasn’t seeing that his lack of sleep and snacking were working against him. Once we targeted those issues he started losing weight again.

2. Implement a system. Don’t rely on willpower. Willpower doesn’t work because it’s finite, and it gets depleted by everyday stressors. You’ll inevitably find yourself lacking willpower with food when you most need it if you don’t have a system. Ever been through a drive thru on the way home from work after a stressful day?  That’s because your willpower was depleted earlier at work. If you have a system for dealing with stressors at work such as automation of tasks, delegation, stress management techniques, and perhaps a wind-down ritual at the end of the day, you’re much less likely to hit the drive thru on the way home. 

Try a new approach. For example, your dinners could be automated by a rotating monthly calendar or a delivery system such as Blue Apron. Make yourself a route to drive home that doesn’t go by any fast food restaurants, and BAM! we’ve created a system. 

3. Develop habits.  People who are successful at something have boring habits. It’s never quick and easy like we’re led to believe. You don’t accidentally win an Olympic gold medal or find it with magical solutions, like taking supplements. Nope, it takes years of intentional and intense training. Same thing with your eating.  You don’t accidentally or magically lose a ton of weight just by having surgery and taking vitamins.  And you certainly don’t accidentally keep it off for the long run. You need habits that you stick to every single day. 

Things such as planning your meals ahead of time, grocery shopping on a specific day of the week, exercising at the same time each day. These are the habits that will pay off over time.   

Systems and habits reduce the cognitive load of having to make lots of tiny decisions all day long. Just like willpower, our decision-making ability gets fatigued and we start to take the easy way out.  If something is a habit you’re much more likely to do it - rather than sitting there trying to decide whether or not you feel like doing something. Chances are there are plenty of times you’re not going to feel like going to the grocery store, or cooking dinner, or exercising. If you only do it when you feel like it you’re probably not going to lose weight. 

How to get started: What to do today

Today, sit down and take a look at what you’re really eating. Don’t lie to yourself, it won’t help. Be brutally honest.  Write it all down.  Then identify ONE thing that you want to change.  Something that if you did it, would actually make a significant difference.  Find a way to implement a system around this change, and do it until it becomes a habit.

The result: You’ve now shown yourself that you can make sustainable behavior change. You can repeat this process over and over again to create new systems and habits.  Keep doing it, and I promise you’ll start losing weight and feeling better, having more energy, feeling more confident. You’ll feel like you’re in control of your life.  And that’s pretty awesome.

Check out this site for more in-depth help getting back on track

Katy is giving away a free gift to help Miles to Go readers get moving, have more energy, and feel great.

Have you made any changes that made a big impact on your weight loss? What did you do to stick with it?  If so Katy would like to hear from you.

Katy Harvey, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD, is a registered dietitian, author, blogger and ultimately a teacher at heart.  She is an expert in bariatric surgery, eating disorders, and the psychology of eating.  Her blog can be found here, and her online course can be found here

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