s we enter a new year, I think we can agree that 2020 was probably not the year of anyone’s dreams. Nonetheless, if we dig deep enough, we can hopefully recall some unexpected positive outcome(s) (spending more time with family, resuming a former hobby, or reconnecting with distant family or friends via social media) that materialized out of a very unusual and unpredictable situation. Maybe, some of us even realized that we are much more adaptable than we would have imagined last year or pre-pandemic. By now you may be wondering what this has to do with bariatric success. Maybe nothing or maybe everything!
eing a lover of words, before we proceed, I would like to define some terms (courtesy of Merriam-Webster Dictionary) that may help determine the self-care path you choose this year, despite any obstacles that may stand in your way:
RESOLUTION: A firm decision to do or not do something; The act of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter; The act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem.
REVOLUTION: A rebellion or complete shift or disruption; A dramatic or radical change or alteration.
ADAPTION: Modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its environment.
EVOLUTION: The gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
hile some post-op patients took this unusual year to further adapt to their smaller stomachs and accompanying lifestyle changes in the best possible way (achieving weight and exercise goals, meal planning, and home-cooking, reaching out to supports), others were sadly thrust back into their past “on-again/off- again” diet cycling, making the same resolutions they have made for the past 20 years. While some patients are evolving into healthy, mindful and moderate eaters, others are still stuck in the “black and white” or “good and bad” mentality, regarding their relationship with food. While we all know how that story ends, it is NEVER too late to change!
esolutions involving deprivation (“No carbs for 6 months!”) and/or “never agains” (“I will never have ice cream again!”) are generally unsustainable, short-lived, and easily disrupted by minor life events. The revolution against one’s own resolutions generally occurs within 6 weeks of the pronouncement, and those familiar feelings of embarrassment or failure can lead you to: (1) try another fad diet and continue the cycle or (2) embark on a period of rapid weight gain, neither of which leads to long-term success. Adaptation, on the other hand, comes with the understanding that perfection and/or deprivation are unnecessary if you are willing to abide by a new and holistic set of rules that will allow you to thrive under your new circumstances. While resolutions and revolutions often lead to short-term and drastic change, adaptation and evolution take patience and time. Bariatric success should not depend on resolutions, promises, or deprivation, but patience, mindfulness, and a strong desire to reconnect with, and listen to your body. Which will you choose this year?