It’s only 16 days until my sleeve operation, and there are so many thoughts running through my mind. Part of me is super-excited about having the operation; part of me is absolutely terrified. And that’s normal. I’ve been reminding myself of a few things to stay focused.
It’s not going to be easy in the beginning.
Let’s face it: the pre-op diet and the initial phases are not going to be a walk in the park, but if you’ve already been approved for a gastric sleeve you know that already. This is NOT a quick fix. Don’t treat it that way. See the Pre-Op Liquid Diet as the beginning of resetting your body. And those first months of Post-Op Sleeved Life are when you’re re-learning to eat and putting good habits into practice.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
I’ve been lucky in having people in my life who totally support me, but not everyone is so lucky. If your family and friends are against your decision, see if you can convince them to go to an information session or have them read information about bariatric surgery on Obesity Coverage, so they’ll have a better understanding of the procedure and why you want to do it. Also, ask your doctor about local support groups, join support groups on Facebook or follow fellow sleeve patients on Instagram. You need to find your tribe and having people who love and support you along the way, as well as fellow patients who’ve already gone through it, or will be going through it at the same time as you, will help. They’ll be your biggest cheerleaders, even when you think you can’t do it.
Don’t give up just because you have a setback.
We all stumble sometimes. There will probably be times when you eat the wrong thing or eat too much as you try to get used to your sleeve. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, consider keeping a journal, chart your journey into the sleeved life–progress and setbacks. Write down what food agrees or disagrees with your sleeve, jot down your new fitness levels. Give yourself a page a week for a To Do list or a weekly goal and add when you’ve achieved that goal. Reward yourself at the end of the week–treat yourself to a massage or a new outfit or something other than food. or That way, you’ll have a way of reminding yourself of all you’ve gone through and Use your journal as tool to keep you motivated–and a way to keep from repeating the same mistakes.
Prepare for the journey.
Even with the classes you attend before your operation, there will be questions you forget to ask (or maybe don’t feel comfortable asking) your surgeon or your nutritionist. Don’t be afraid to ask those questions though. They are there to help you, so ask away! If you’re already in a support group, ask the members. Buy bariatric-friendly cookbooks to help you plan your meals for all the phases of your Post-Op Life. If your surgery date is already set, stock your cupboards and fridge with everything you need for the first phase of your Post-Op Life, the liquid phase. That way, you won’t have to worry about what you should eat (or should I say drink?) as you recuperate from your surgery.
You’re doing this for YOU.
There are a lot of reasons that we decide to make changes to our lives. We might do things to help our families or friends. We might do things to get ahead at work. But this journey…this is all about YOU. Don’t make it about anyone else. You’re doing this because you want to feel better, you want to take control of your life. Don’t do it if you think it’s going to make people love you. Do it because YOU love YOU.