Before I tell you what it is, let me tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t how much weight you lose after bariatric surgery.

The single biggest factor in determining your weight-loss surgery success is your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. This mostly means diet and exercise but also includes getting enough rest and surrounding yourself with supportive people.

When I speak with patients who are 5, 10, 15 or more years post-op and they’ve kept the weight off, I always ask them what strategy worked best for them. Across the board they tell me the same thingthey stayed committed. They promised themselves to never again go back to the severely obese weight that came with life-threatening medical conditions and brought them to the point of surgery. They choose to regularly exercise, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and maybe even eliminated a toxic relationship that wasn’t going to benefit them in getting to a healthier place.

Sounds great right? It is. But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I hear from plenty of other patients who may be two years post-op and utterly struggling to keep the weight off. In some cases, they’ve regained weight. I ask them the same question I ask the “success story” patients. Their answers are also largely the same, though they sometimes come packaged in different words–they haven’t stayed committed. Maybe it’s the lack of time they think they’re able to devote to exercise. Maybe it’s unhealthy food choices. Perhaps it’s a negative relationship in which they feel they need to retain some of the old, bad habits in order to remain “accepted.”

See, commitment is really just a big word for “hard work.” Now please don’t misunderstand me. If you’re struggling to keep the weight off, I am not saying that you’re not working hard enough. But maybe you need to take a look at the things you are working hard at, and channel some of that energy into the areas that need improvement. Are you eating healthier foods, but can’t seem to find the time to exercise? Try taking a walk on your lunch break. Carve out small blocks of time where you can find them. Do what you can, when you can. Before you know it, you may be walking the equivalent of a mile or more a day, without evening realizing it. What you are doing is staying committed.

When you chose this program for your weight-loss surgery procedure, we made a commitment to you. We promised we would be with you throughout your weight-loss journey. So, whether you’re two-weeks post-op or nearly a decade, we’re here to help you stay committed. Come and join patients who are experiencing the same things you are at one of our several support group locations throughout Southern California. Join us at our office in Fountain Valley for weekly strength-training exercise classes or monthly nutrition sessions. Get motivated by joining the growing community of fans on our Facebook page who share their stories of success on an ongoing basis. However you choose to go about it, we are committed to helping you stay committed.

Now get to work. Doctor’s orders.