The *Real* Bariatric Phases after Surgery?
Bariatric Diet Stages aside…a post-op patient explains these phases in the later years
Cindy had bariatric surgery 6 years ago and joined BFC Premier Access in late 2022. She consistently shares fantastic insights into our Community and permitted me to share this reflection of hers on bariatric phases after surgery.
Let me say this before I turn the “mic” over. I’m so grateful Cindy found her place here on Bariatric Food Coach. Her positive experience gives me such joy! While I certainly hope to be a helpful source to others, I also believe that everyone finds their path in their way and in their own time.
Whether it’s here with us inside Premier Access, or somewhere else altogether, I am wishing you a journey toward “the living phase” as Cindy describes below! – Steph
Cindy lost 200 pounds after surgery, then found herself in a different phase
Starting now, these words are from Cindy!
First, and most importantly, my observations are based on my personal experience and what has worked for me. Everyone’s experience is different, and you need to follow the advice of professionals who know what they are doing.
Second, I didn’t get to my current way of thinking overnight. It was an evolution over time, and I am still evolving.
I have gone through SEVERAL bariatric phases after surgery:
ONE: The famous honeymoon period (my personal favorite).
I carefully followed the plan as outlined for me, logged faithfully, exercised to the best of my ability, and the weight came off easily. I lost over 200 pounds and was just a few pounds from “normal” weight according to my BMI. This led to my second phase…
TWO: The testing phase.
Can I eat just a few bites of this? Will this bother my stomach? Will this cause me to have dumping syndrome or something close to it? Will any of these things affect my weight loss? I could have used this phase for learning and applying what I learned, but Instead, I kept pushing the limits. Which led to phase 3…
THREE: Eat whatever I want.
This was not a fun phase, but the more I forgot to implement my new bariatric habits, the worse it got. I regained over 70 pounds and felt pretty helpless.
FOUR: The try something else phase.
This phase involved trying other weight loss programs, but I could never lose more than 10 pounds without going off and going right back to bad habits.
FIVE: The next phase I call the “reach out for help but don’t do anything to help myself” phase.
I contacted my bariatric program and asked for help, which they were happy to give. I met with the dietitian and went through a series of pre-surgery classes to refresh my memory. I was feeling closer, but still didn’t feel like I could get started. I needed something concrete.
SIX: Around this same time (reach out for help phase)
I was looking for bariatric recipes and stumbled across Bariatric Food Coach while browsing recipes on the Baritastic app. Honestly, I joined because the monthly price was low and I like to support people who create content for others to use. That was in September of 2022, but I was still just in browsing mode and not willing to commit to change.
SEVEN: Around January 2023 I became an active participant at BFC, and everything changed for me at that point.
The first thing I participated in was the habit refresh, which was exactly the concrete advice I needed to get back on track. I learned that I hadn’t broken anything, and my surgery could still work for me if I let it. I started tracking again and cut out sweets (my main problem area.) I developed an eating plan that worked for me. After a few months of this, the bariatric habits and pillars were strengthened, and I was ready for the next phase.
EIGHT: The “after the honeymoon” course.
If you are in the post-honeymoon phase – whether you have regained weight or not – I highly recommend the After the Honeymoon course that Steph developed. It got me thinking about ways to approach eating and weight management that were less restrictive than a count-every-bite approach but were geared more toward living a bariatric-friendly lifestyle.
NINE: The living phase.
This is how I’m thinking about where I am now. I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect to still be reaching my goals. I’ve given up guilt and shame about anything I eat, and it has decreased my cravings. I don’t expect to be perfect every day, but I do expect that I will take my vitamins, eat enough protein, and drink enough water. Those are my non-negotiables, and everything else just follows that. I’m also learning to trust myself!
It has been a slow evolution (I’m 6 years out from surgery at the end of this month) but it was important for me to go through all of the phases to get to where I am now. It has involved a lot of reflection, and a lot of thinking out loud through my posts on this site (thanks for bearing with me!)
I feel like I’m at the best possible place now, focused on the right things and making continuous progress. I know that everyone goes through different phases at different rates, and wherever you are now is right for you. I’m just really happy I discovered BFC and decided to join in. It has made all of the difference for me.
Can you relate? What “phases” have you experienced?
If you made it this far – we’d love to hear from you! Can you relate to Cindy’s phases?
What phase are you in now? Let us know in the comments :)