the bounce

It’s the reality. Somewhere around 18-24 months post-op, bariatric surgery patients experience a bounce in their weight. Everyone loves seeing that scale go down month after month. And… then it stops. And… then it goes up a little. And… then a little more. And… then people go crazy! I see it happening in the fellow Lapbanders and RNY folks that I chat with and see in my local support group.

It’s been some time since I have given an update on my progress after weight loss surgery. I would like to report that it is because I have little to say. It’s mostly because I’ve experienced some of that “bounce” over the past few months. We all know the culprits: the cruise, the holidays and just plain laziness during the winter. It’s easy to blame these so called out-of-my-control things, but the reality is that it is under my control. I’ve just been plain lax in eating properly.

In late October I hit 186 pounds, my lowest weight in probably 21 years. In early January I was up to 194 pounds. Today, I’m on my way back down and am about 191. 191 was that magic number for me during weight loss. It was when my BMI said I was “overweight” as opposed to “obese”. There is just something more palatable to being overweight than obese.

A common theme of Weight Watchers and bariatric centers is, “It’s not just about the weight.” That is a very true statement that is hard to grasp since both Weight Watchers and bariatric centers measure your progress by the scale. What they are really saying that long term success is defined by how well you adapt your lifestyle to remain in good health and maintain a healthy diet. The scale is one of the best indicators of that.

Yesterday I had my scheduled check-up with my primary care physician. I worried about what his scale would say. It turned out I weighed in at the identical weight I had weighed in early October. I expected some disappointment from him but instead he commented on how well all my blood work looked, my low cholesterol, and the lowest blood pressure I have had in years. He said my test results looked like a person in their 20s. He congratulated me on making such a dramatic transformation. I realized that life was not so bad after all. I am always so critical of my progress.

So, I’ll continue battling that “bounce” in the coming months and years. After yesterday, I realize even more how far I have come. I am not perfect and know I could do better. For me “the bounce” has become a motivator to be more vigilant and stay on the right track. Before I looked at it as a sign that I was going to slowly spiral upwards in weight. I know I felt that way because it was the reality in the diets I tried over the years. The bottom line is that I am much healthier and happy at my current weight. I am comfortable at my weight but have a personal goal to shed another 10 pounds. In 2010 I am exercising more and really going to step up my cycling.

If you are experiencing “the bounce”, my advice to you is not to get emotionally out of control. What good does that do you or the people around you? What you need to do is take inventory of how far you have come, where you are today and where you need to be in the next 6 months. Good luck!

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