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Setting Goals for the New Year: Weight Loss Surgery

By Dr. Dieter Pohl

The new year is always a great time to not only reflect on the year behind, but to think about the future and set goals for working toward a healthier lifestyle. If you’ve had or are thinking about having weight loss surgery, this is the time to start thinking about how to set achievable goals for the upcoming year. The keyword here is “achievable”, as it’s one thing to set goals for yourself, but you want to make sure they are practical and realistic.

Benefits of Setting Achievable Goals

Bariatric surgery is just one part of your weight loss journey. While it does make losing weight easier, there are still difficulties that can arise even after surgery. Setting achievable goals for yourself is the best way to motivate yourself and stay on track in your weight loss journey.

Here are some tips for setting and sticking to your weight loss goals.

Setting Goals

Diversify your goals – setting different kinds of goals can help you maintain a balanced approach to weight loss. For example, your goal might be to add a serving of vegetables to each meal or to walk a certain amount of time each week.

Break down your goals – Big picture goals are good, but you want to make sure you have more manageable goals that work as stepping stones toward the larger ones.

Make your goals measurable – specific, concrete goals are easier to achieve than vague ones. A goal such as “exercise more” is less effective than “exercise one more day per week” or “workout for an extra five minutes each day”. Making your goals measurable and specific allows you to better track your progress.

Sticking to Your Goals

Sticking to your goals is always the hard part. While keeping the above in mind when setting your goals, here are some tips to help you stick to them:

  • Surround yourself with supportive people
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions
  • Journal to keep track of how you feel and the foods you eat
  • Prepare for setbacks
  • Celebrate successes

Prepare for Mental and Physical Challenges

Like any major changes in your lifestyle, weight loss surgery doesn’t come without physical and mental challenges. These roadblocks can derail your progress and keep you from meeting your goals if you allow them to. If you begin to experience these challenges, it’s recommended that you seek counseling, join a weight loss support group, or speak to your surgeon and their team. They are there to help you along the way and want you to be successful in meeting your goals.

Setting goals for yourself is easy, it’s making sure they are achievable and meeting them that’s the hard part. But, as you begin to reach your goals, you’ll start to experience a mental boost. Keeping that positive momentum is crucial for working toward long-term progress, and making your weight loss journey one of success.

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