Setting Goals after Bariatric Surgery
LAP-BAND surgery offers you a proven path to successful weight loss, but setting your own goals can keep you motivated and focused as you travel along that path. Your personal goals can be like stepping stones, each one building your confidence as you come closer and closer to your final destination.
These goals are not directly related to your goal weight. Though this final objective is important, it will take time to reach your goal weight, and smaller goals can help you along the way. The goals you set for yourself will be process goals like becoming more active, instead of outcome goals like losing 100 pounds.
By crafting these goals carefully, you can help yourself stick to the guidelines of your bariatric program and achieve better results. But to make your goals as helpful as possible, you should remember to make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Tied to a Deadline.
A vague goal like “I will exercise more often” is not very useful. This goal lacks concrete objectives, and though it has your best interests at heart, it won’t actually help you make any progress in improving your fitness.
Instead, think through your goals in detail, considering when and how you’ll reach them. By making your goals specific, you’ll give yourself a framework for progress and make it easier to evaluate whether or not you’ve been successful.
- Instead of: I will start exercising more often.
- Try: I will walk for 30 minutes three times this week.
You’ll need to track your progress every day to see if you’ve achieved your goals. To do this, your goals will need to have quantifiable measurements like time, number of reps or grams of protein eaten. You can record these units in a journal or spreadsheet to make it easier to assess your advancement.
- Instead of: I will eat more protein this week.
- Try: I will eat 60 grams of protein every day this week.
Though your goals should challenge you, they shouldn’t frustrate you. Reaching progressively harder goals will motivate you by showing that you can successfully change your habits, but working endlessly towards goals you cannot realistically achieve will only be discouraging.
Start with small, simple goals and build on your achievements each week by setting a goal that is slightly more difficult than the one before it.
- Instead of: I will run a mile in 10 minutes by Friday.
- Try: I will walk three times this week for 5 minutes longer per session than last week.
Your goals should not be related to the number of pounds you’re losing, but they should still incorporate some aspect of your weight loss program. You can work towards countless weight-related objectives besides pounds lost, like building more energy or improving health conditions.
Remembering why your goals are relevant to improving your health and lifestyle will help you stay motivated by reminding you of why you wanted to lose weight in the first place.
- Instead of: I will go on a 30-minute walk three times this week.
- Try: I will go on a 30-minute walk three times this week because it will help me control my diabetes and give me more strength and energy to play with my children.
Tied to a Deadline
Setting a deadline will help you make continual progress by discouraging procrastination. With a set time limit, you’ll be more motivated to follow through on your plan to reach your goal.
- Instead of: I will eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Try: I will try two new LAP-BAND-friendly vegetables by Sunday.
Each time you set a goal, remember to test them against these five parameters. By writing down your SMART goals and focusing on each step you take forward, you’ll make it easier to maintain your motivation and achieve lasting weight loss.