“I CAN DO THIS“..repeat after me…write a sticky that says that and post it on your mirror, in your wallet, on the fridge, beside your running shoes, on your dashboard. And while you are at it write one that says something along the lines of “I ROCK“. I’m serious. Research has shown that the more we repeat to ourselves self-descriptive mantras, be they positive or negative, the more we believe them. So why not make them all positive and start really believing in ourselves and allowing positive changes to take place?
Cut Yourselves Some Slack….
From the experience I have had as a nurse and with my patients I have come to the realization that a large majority of you bandsters are INCREDIBLY hard on yourselves. If you don’t lose a pound a week, or heaven forbid gain a pound…you beat yourselves up. Some people are too embarrassed to come back to their clinic if they have ‘fallen off the wagon’. This should never be the case. No matter who your caregiver is, the door should ALWAYS be open and there should ALWAYS be a listening, compassionate ear.
For this journey to be a successful one it takes hard work, committment, support and motivation there are no two ways about it.
Lets Face It…Like anything worth having it takes Hard Work…
The hard work and committment comes from you. Some people are lucky in that the band controls their hunger and therefore they do not eat until hungry, and they very easily lose weight. For many others though there are a myriad of reasons for why they eat and identifying and dealing with these reasons is where a lot of the hard work comes in. I’m sure you will all agree that there are few things more maddening than when some uninformed person states that having the band is “the easy way out”. WE know that this is not true. The band is merely a tool to control hunger and when adjusted and used properly it does just that. To be successful in your weight loss you have to be and stay committed and you have to work hard. You have to want this more than anyone else. This doesn’t mean that there won’t always be ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’ but so long as the good days outnumber the bad we are making progress.
Support is so important to success with weight loss and the band. Many people, but not all, are fortunate in that they have a supportive partner, supportive family, friends and co-workers. Some people choose not to let anyone know that they have been banded and must rely on other forms of support. Luckily as the population of banded individuals grows so too does the on-line support available. There are countless fantastic blogs out there by banded patients (check out http://somethingsomethingsomethingfatchick.blogspot.ca and http://purplepetticoat.blogspot.ca for starters) that provide information, humour, compassion and support. For those with an Allergan band you will have access to their information/support site “Lapband Connect”. Or just google ‘gastric band forums’ and you will have access to different forums worldwide. (Always be aware however that information received on these sites is often personal opinion and not necessarily accurate or correct).
Finally, motivation is of course key and, well, some days its there and others…not so much. Some days you are likely cruising along, wind in your hair motivated to the max and feeling grrrrreat! Other days…that motivation ride comes to a complete and grinding halt. How do you get that motivation back? How do you make that ‘one bad day’ simply that: one bad day, and not a slippery downward slope to many many bad days? Well in conclusion to todays blog I’ll leave you with some ideas that I’ve come across that work for me and for many of my patients.
- Set realistic achievable goals. Don’t set the bar so high that you will never get over it and feel discouraged in the process. Set short-term, achievable and realistic goals such as “I will try my best to lose one lb this week” rather than “I will lose 100 lbs this year”.
- Pick up on visual cues. Subscribe to a fitness/health magazine, tune into a motivating fitness show (Biggest Loser anyone?), go on-line, read a motivating blog. We are visual creatures so use that to your advantage!
- Keep a motivation journal. Include only positive, motivational thoughts. Document your successes no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time. All these things add up to spell success. Write down motivational sayings that move you. Focus on feelings of better health rather than just losing weight. This may help you to stay motivated during those times when the scale doesn’t seem to want to budge!
- Be your own cheerleader. This is where the sticky notes come in! Post motivational notes around the house, in your car, at your computer, beside the remote…places you may often go and that also may be triggers for food.
- Connect with others. Connection and interaction are motivating. If you need motivation to get and stay exercising enlist a work-out buddy. If your clinic offers a support group check it out. You may want to go on-line and check out the support group/forums/blogs available there.
- Celebrate your victories big and small!! A pedicure, massage, an undisturbed bubble bath with a good book, a new piece of work out gear..all are great non-food ways to celebrate your successes and stay motivated.
- and repeat after me: “I CAN DO THIS AND I ROCK”!!!
Yours in Health and Fitness,