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Forget the Scale: Better Ways to Measure Success after WLS

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers on the scale, tape measure, and clothes. Afterall, weight loss and changes in body size are some of the main ways that many people measure how far they have come on their journey after surgery.  But what if the focus were on the things that directly affect your day-to-day life rather than numbers?  Let’s dig a little deeper into some tangible ways to measure success after bariatric surgery.  

Improvements in Diseases and Conditions 

The main reason that people have bariatric surgery is to improve their health.   And why wouldn’t it be?  Almost all areas of health, including physical, mental, and social health, improve after WLS.  So, it makes sense that we should use these as the main way to measure success after bariatric surgery.   Consider these questions when thinking about how successful your journey after surgery has been.

  • How has my health improved since surgery?  
  • What medications have I crossed off my list?
  • Do I need to use my CPAP anymore? 

Quality of Life

Research has shown that bariatric surgery can increase a person’s quality of life. This is not surprising considering many quality-of-life studies focus on mental, physical, and social well-being. But what is perhaps even more interesting in this study is that the amount of weight lost did not have an impact on quality of life.   This gives even more fuel to the idea that you should not let the scale determine your success after surgery. Here are a few questions to ask yourself regarding the quality of life as a measure of success after WLS: 

  • Are there certain things that are easier for you now than before surgery?
  • Do you have more energy to do the things you want to do?
  • Has your interaction with the world around you changed since surgery?

Feeling Better Overall 

Without having to put a label on it, most people find that they simply feel better overall since their WLS.  Two comments that I often hear patients say are, “I only wish I had done it sooner,” and “This was the best decision I’ve ever made.” Those feelings alone are huge measures of the impact surgery has on our lives regardless of anything else. To list a few more questions, why not ask yourself the following:

  • How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? 
  • How do you feel about your health? 
  • What are your feelings about yourself since you had surgery? 
These are just a few ways to measure success regardless of numbers on the scale, tape measure, or clothing.  What are some other ways that you measure success after bariatric surgery? 

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