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Lifestyle Change is the Key to Weight Loss — Even After Bariatric Surgery


Weight loss surgery is a powerful tool that often helps people lose weight, but it’s not a magic pill. It is also necessary to make lifestyle changes for weight loss success.

Weight loss surgery is simply a tool that helps you make lifestyle changes," said Steven Hendrick, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified surgeon specializing in weight loss surgery at Harper BMI. "It's the lifestyle changes that enable you to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. If you don't embrace the lifestyle changes, if you don't make them part of your life and your daily routine, the surgery isn't going to work over the long term.

The good news: Most people who choose to have bariatric surgery have already made a personal commitment to weight loss. It’s a big decision and most Harper BMI patients are excited about making significant changes in their lives. When you are excited and committed to making lifestyle changes for weight loss, these changes can come more easily.

It's important to capture that sense of excitement and motivation early in the process,” said Beth Garretson, a nurse practitioner at Harper BMI. “I always tell patients to make lifestyle changes as soon as possible after surgery. That’s how they become second nature for a lifetime.

What sort of lifestyle changes are needed? Journey to a Healthy Life asked Dr. Hendrick and Beth Garretson, N.P., to share a few things you can start doing today.       

  • Eat the right foods. Follow the diet guidelines established by your doctor. Generally, start your meals with a good, lean protein followed by vegetables and fruit. Leave whole-grain starches for last and avoid the “white foods” — things like rice, pasta and bread.
  • Practice portion control. You can still enjoy foods you love, just be aware of the appropriate portion sizes. Most restaurants give you two to three times more food than you need. Eat only the portion that is right for you and ask for a to-go box. 
  • Make healthy choices. If you love steak, order the six-ounce filet instead of the 22-ounce, “cowboy cut” rib eye. If fried chicken wings are your favorite, try baked or grilled wings instead.
  • Eat slowly. Take your time when eating and really chew your food. It not only helps with digestion, it also helps you satisfy your hunger and avoid overeating.
  • Take your supplements. As you lose weight, it’s very important to get a sufficient amount of protein, vitamins and minerals. That’s why your doctor customizes a supplement regimen just for you. Make sure you take your supplements as directed.
  • Keep your appointments with the doctor. After your surgery, you’ll need to follow-up with your Harper BMI doctor periodically. Make a commitment to keeping every appointment. This is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain your weight-loss goals.
  • Find a physical activity you enjoy. You don’t need to spend five hours in the gym every day, but you should try to do something active for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. Even just walking for 10 minutes several times a day will make a big difference in your overall health and weight loss. But make sure you choose an activity you enjoy. You’ll be less likely to keep your commitment if you choose an activity you don’t like.

Join a support group. A support group helps you stay accountable and motivated. It’s one of the most important ways you can commit to a healthy life. People who attend Harper BMI support groups are three times more likely to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals.

For more information on implementing lifestyle change for weight loss success visit our Diet and Exercise FAQ page or call us at 877.362.9898.

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About your new self at Detroit Center in Michigan

Detroit Medical Center is the premier provider of weight loss surgery in Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. DMC operates offices in the Madison Heights and Southfield areas of Detroit, Michigan, and serves other areas including Ypsilanti, Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Livonia, Monroe, Lansing, Dearborn, Novi and Troy. Your New Self also serves Canadian bariatric patients as a preferred provider for the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Your New Self at Detroit Medical Center boasts four expert bariatric surgeons who specialize in LAP-BAND®, REALIZE® Band, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass bariatric surgeries.

Patients interested in weight loss surgery should sign up for a free informational seminar to learn more about their surgical options and get started today.