10 common causes of weight gain after bariatric surgery

A misconception about weight loss surgery is that bariatric surgery makes for a skinny person. Bariatric surgery is a tool that makes weight loss faster and maintaining a healthy weight easier. It is the patient who controls the success of surgery. There is no money back return policy on weight loss issued at surgery.

The most common discussion topic in the bariatric community is “Why am I gaining weight?” For most, that question pops up around the second year after weight loss surgery. There is no single answer why weight gain occurs. I have noticed definite patterns from my five years in the bariatric community.  Here are my thoughts about the common causes for weight gain after bariatric surgery. The list is not comprehensive and by no means scientific.  

  1. Loss of vigilance – Patients in the first year after weight loss surgery are all gung ho. Surgeon’s and nutritionist guidelines are closely followed. Newness begins to fade and soon important principles are filed away in the back recesses of our minds. Practice vigilance every day. 
  2. Lack of change – Change is something each of us must own. Although our appearance is the most visible sign of change, we must change how we approach food, exercise, relationships, and our view of life to make weight loss permanent. Do you own the change in your life?
  3. Lack of exercise – Exercise burns calories and makes us healthier. Falling into an enjoyable exercise routine is hard. The key is to find the activity that fits your lifestyle. A daily walk is an excellent start. Exercise makes me happier. Find the exercise that makes you happier.
  4. gap20132Defeating your surgery – Bariatric post-ops learn how to work around their surgery. We discover how to eat just a little more or eat forbidden fruit. It is good to know the signals our surgery gives us. It is another thing to abuse that knowledge. Face your habits and put them at bay.
  5. Being too comfortable – After great weight loss, it is natural to enjoy our appearance and the new found activities we can accomplish. Life is always moving, and we must move with it. The plan our surgeon put in place during our first year needs to be revisited for the rest of our life.
  6. Forgot the basics – We were taught the basics of living with bariatric surgery when we started our journeys. Respecting portion sizes, taking our vitamins and supplements, getting the proper amount of protein, and eating healthy foods should be on your mind for the rest of your life.
  7. Sabotaging yourself – Our bodies make great strides in changing while our minds linger in the past. The body image we carry is often not the slimmer person in the mirror. Silence the inner voice of defeat that says you are not thin enough or good enough.
  8. Sabotaged by others – We do not live in solitary confinement. Our friends and family influence our lives. Their intentions may sabotage our weight loss. It is often from misunderstanding our surgery and life as a post-op. Take these defeating actions head-on and put them to rest.
  9. Not at goal – Too much importance is given to the number on your scale. A weight goal is just a number. Do not let being 10, 20 or 30 pounds from goal negate your hard work. Look positively at the weight you have lost and the changes in your life. Living positively assures success.
  10. Change is hard –Human nature is to take the course of least resistance. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.  We have to take on the challenges we face. Start with a few minor changes. Move on with more difficult changes. In the end, change will become a permanent part of your new life.
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