Essentials for Lasting WLS Success

Yes, it’s been 27 years since I took control of my weight, improved my health and changed the direction of my life by choosing weight loss surgery. In 1995, many looked down on a surgical option as an intervention for the disease of obesity and making the decision to go under the knife was not an easy one. Especially when my insurance would not cover the cost. But I am so glad I did. My journey has been full of ups and downs, weight loss, weight gain, mistakes made, thrilling successes, and many lessons learned. 

Throughout my years as a WLS patient, I have worked in the bariatric community. (Bariatric Support Center Int’l). It has been my great privilege to provide education, inspiration, and motivation to tens of thousands of patients. I have lost with you, learned from you, and celebrated with you. I will be forever grateful for my place in the bariatric universe.

As I look back, reviewing my life’s decisions, mistakes and accomplishments, the choice to have weight loss surgery a defining decision was surely a life changer for me.  Since that new beginning, I have tried to focus on paying it forward, on supporting and encouraging others. Willingly, sharing the things I have learned along the way.

This year is a milestone; worthy of notice and a bit of reflection. I would like to share with you the following list of 25 lessons I have learned in my 25 years as a weight loss surgery patient. I have written books, many articles, blogs, produced videos, given keynote speeches, and I have referenced some of those in my list should you like to learn more about those lessons. Please learn and enjoy and may the next 25 years, (Oh my, I’ll be 85!) be full of more happiness, hope, and good health.

  1. Learn from long term losers. (Back to the Beginning Videos)
  2. Honeymoons are awesome! 5 Clues That Your WLS Honeymoon is Over and What to Do About It!
  3. Sugar is evil (Sugar Free Me)
  4. Don’t stop short of your goal. (Goal-Getting)
  5. Gluten is a problem for me.
  6. I must exercise every day. (Just Do It!)
  7. Always pay it forward (Paying It Forward Feature Article)
  8. I have learned to eat to live instead of living to eat.
  9. Good food is expensive, but so is chocolate!
  10. Peanut M&M’s are not really a protein.
  11. Old habits die hard. (Exchanging Habits)
  12. Intermittent Fasting works for weight maintenance. (Ways Intermittent Fasting Works For Me)
  13. My “Why’s” have become more important to me.
  14. I have both supporters and saboteurs in my life.
  15. Regain sneaks up; one pound a year… 25 years, 25 pounds
  16. I’ve learned to listen and to respond to my body’s signals.
  17. My food choices effect how I feel mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  18. Water rules (The Dangers of Dehydration)
  19. Vitamins are a must (Bariatric Vitamins)
  20. Embracing the Moments (Embracing Moments That Matter)
  21. Positivity is a choice every day (15 Positive Ways to Spend 15 Days)
  22. Knowing & understanding myself is essential Top 5 Things Every WLS Patient Must Know About Themselves
  23. I am my best self when I live in gratitude.
  24. To succeed, I must learn what successful patients know, and do what they did. (The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients 
  25. God is good, life is short. No Tomorrow?
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2 Responses to Essentials for Lasting WLS Success

  1. Karen Cavanagh, CSJ says:

    Congratulations and blessings, Colleen…. I have been following you for more than 16 years … I attended a support group in the months before my RNY in 2004 and you inspired me then as now. I have been able to maintain my 160 lb loss … I’m very small (4’8”) and weigh @ 100 lbs … less then goal but ok for my size and small bone structure … it has been a miracle and something I am grateful for every day… I will be 80 on my next birthday and 16 years ago doubted I’d live another year without this surgery… I still belong to support groups but very much miss the live one at my surgeons office… … am faithful to program , vitamins and hydration and annual health check up.
    I must admit that I sadly shocked at the preps some people seem to receive prior to surgery… and the lack of follow ups. You must see this often.
    Thanks for all you do. I am also committed to paying it forward
    Karen Cavanagh. Jamaica NY. Surgery. Advanced Surgeons At Westchester University Medical Center. Ashutosh Kaul, MD ( my hero )

  2. Josephine Valicenti says:

    You are so inspirational not just because it’s been 25 years but because you admit that you too still struggle with weight gain. You understand and take responsibility; you focus and get “back on track”! No one ever said it would be easy nor did they ever pretend that life would be perfect after weight loss. This journey has been a successful one for je after 16 years. I too struggle…… have gained weight but would never, never never take back that decision to have the surgery.

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