o here we go again – fighting bravely against the onslaught of diet scams and magical weight-loss plans that almost screech out to us from newspapers, magazines, books, the radio, TV, podcasts, and all the rest. It’s hard to cut through the ‘noise’, isn’t it every January or New Year? And none more so than this week, this month or start to the year, when we will be bombarded with ‘get thin quick’ schemes. And maybe especially after all the Covid-19 restrictive time when so many have struggled.

hese folk are clever because they mine into our insecurities at a time when we’re low, maybe have experienced regain or a stall, and are looking for anything to resolve this problem … and quickly.

 understand this – I have been on this hamster wheel for decades and it was only until I had WLS that I got a reprieve and some sanity back. But … there’s always a but isn’t there? … life gets in the way, old problems and issues resurface, and maybe, just maybe, you think, I’ll give this ‘new take or new opportunity’ a chance.

his is when I scream PLEASE DON’T! – there isn’t a diet I haven’t considered, researched (or tried) that substitutes the Back to Basics One that is endorsed by all WLS professionals – and believe me they are on your side and have your back.

orget the ‘intermittent fasting’, pouch re-sets, no carbs, and even more fanciful regimens – THEY DON’T WORK LONG TERM (and some are even dangerous for the WLS patient to adopt). If you want sure-fire results then go back to basics (see here if you need a refresher) and chat to your dietitian or team if you still have contact.

There are however a few things you can do to gain motivation to progress this – mindset can be all for motivation. I believe there are 6 things you can employ in your arsenal to build some hope and a good firm foundation for the coming weeks and year ahead. Check them out …

So empower yourself with as much of it as you can. Remember those days pre- and early post-op when you had a real hunger for information? Go back to them. Re-read everything you were told, check out new information, and brush up on the basics again (even print ours out from here). Be fanatical about it like in those early days. Days here are short and nights are long – perfect time for reading, making notes and then putting them into action. A note of caution: don’t dwell on the ‘downers’ too much – they are all out there but you need inspiring and uplifting encouragement at this time (so turn down this kind of ‘noise’).

Yes. I know this flies in the face of saying ‘go back to tried and trusted basics’ but what I mean here is tinker with the back to basics so that you get a better hold and grip of them. Maybe change your food choices, your exercise regimen for something better suited to this time of year, start a new journal, check out new forums, groups and products as aids. Make a plan that’s SMART to facilitate this. Do it in stages – don’t try To do everything at once – take your WLS LIFE one calculated step at a time. We’re looking for progress not perfection here.

Life management means setting SMART GOALS (SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC, AND TIMED). So set a date, fix a specific goal for yourself. Ask yourself if it’s realistic and achievable and accountable (by being measurable). A journal helps enormously with this and helps you to plot and plan and measure your progress. It doesn’t have to be set in stone – many original life management plans need re-visiting and refining and don’t mean success and failure per se. Indeed I would say your best successes are often built on learning from failures.

IT’S A  Your life management plan is just a road map of intentions and will have many ups and downs (just like weight-loss isn’t linear and predictable). You have to get your mind around this and work out what works for you, and along the way, practice some self-love. TALK YO YOURSELF AS YOU WOULD A DEAR FRIEND. Self-acceptance of our shortcomings is the key to moving on to better things. By doing so you can harness the power of hope rather than despair. It isn’t easy but ‘hope’ and a positive, but forgiving mindset can release such positive energy to forge ahead. Accepting that something doesn’t work is just as powerful a tool as finding one that does – it narrows the field of options and allows you to make a better choice next time.

There is so much to be gained from joining others who understand your predicament. This may be from WLS support groups, Forums, a supportive family, a cheer-leading group of individuals who have your back, and, of course, your bariatric team. As an individual you can achieve a great deal, but with the support of others so much more. A friend compares it to us all being like small individual twigs (that are suspect to fragility and snapping) – but bind us together and we become as strong as a branch or log! If you haven’t attended a support group for a time then why not look at returning; if you can’t personally attend anything then look for on-line support – there’s lots around.

Sometimes along the journey of WLS post-op eating we lose enthusiasm for food, our regimen and our ‘get up and go’. I think that’s especially true at this time of year. We’re weary of ‘holiday food’, usually skint or short of money, seasonal food can be thin on the shelves, and we have lost our va va voom!

I hope this is where I can come in to encourage you to eat well and make friends with food (rather than view it as the enemy). There are seasonal recipes on the bariatriccookery.com website, I post recipes on Facebook regularly, there are Instagram updates with my food choices that might act as a spring board for your own, and my books all have round the year, purse-savvy and all-stage ideas for eating well. I post recipes for the family, solo dining, for the lunch box and just about any other scenario you care to mention (vegan ideas have been coming thick and fast since plant-based eating has new interest). Please do check them out.

There is no need to eat the same thing, day in and day out, regardless of season, and new favorites may well await you.

Sometimes this may well mean eating different to the rest of the family for some meals and on some occasions (although I would always prescribe that you try to get family and friends on board and join you with healthy style eating). The 2 recipes in this month’s digital magazine provide a couple of ideas for a speedy meal for 1 should you need a springboard for this type of meal occasion – I hope you will try and enjoy.




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