Barrier #3 – Poor Planning and Implementation
“Failing to Plan is Like Planning to Fail.” There are many twists on that saying. My friend Steve says, “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” The 5 P’s. No matter the words used or the poetry they may be contained within, the idea is that your chances of success in any weight loss effort are greater when you develop and use a plan.
Rule/guideline #3 – Don’t Even Consider WLS Until You Have a Pre and Post-Surgery Diet and Exercise Plan
Once you decide to pursue a WLS option, you need to begin the development and use of a Pre and Post Surgery Nutrition & Exercise plan.
- Planning breeds ownership. When you make a plan you own the plan. Everything you do from this day forward is by design and election… your plan design calls for eating well and exercising and you choose to conduct yourself accordingly.
- Planning allows for the ability to adopt and modify along the journey. A well told example of this can be found in NASA’s Apollo moon program. NASA had created a second by second plan for Apollo 11’s trip to the moon and back. The eight-day mission had been planned down to the second, all sixty seconds of each 60 minutes in each 24 hour day for eight days. The moon shot had 691,200 seconds from launch to splashdown and for each of those 691,200 seconds planners had calculated the exact location of the spaceship, the exact speed it would be traveling, and the specific vector to which it would be propelled. The only second of the entire 691,200 second flight where the planners calculated it correctly was the spot where the rocket lifted off… as it sat on the launch pad. Within the first seconds of flight various forces such as the wind and the temperature (variables that could only be estimated or guessed when the calculations were made and the plan designed) caused the rocket to sway just a few centimeters and roll just a fraction of a degree, but enough that the rocket was not in the exact place that the planners had calculated. However, because there was a plan for exactly where the rocket should be, it was easy for the rocket guidance system to move it back to its planned course. The point of that story is that we all remember what Apollo 11 did… its goal was to send a man to the moon and return him safely to earth. Apollo 11 accomplished that goal. It doesn’t matter that from one second into the eight-day flight they were always “correcting” their flight path, that for 99.9999% of the time they weren’t where they planned to be. They 100% completed their mission and the 5 P’s were key to that success.
- Planning provides both a road map and a timeline that can keep haste or delay from decreasing your chance of success. It is common to fear, when implementing something as radical as a new lifestyle, that your efforts or results to date have not been enough to make your goal, that you’ve done too little too late, when in fact you are right on track. It is also common to have a feeling that things are going better than they are and developing a bit of hubris, allowing yourself to become lax on implementation, when in fact you are not ahead at all. In either case, going on feelings and not by being able to compare actual results vs planned results, will decrease your chances of success.
Why a Pre surgery plan?
The result you want (the difference between describing yourself as you are now and describing yourself as you’d like to be) requires:
- Permanent changes in the way I eat – specifically, I need to eat first to fuel my body. This will likely change the types of foods I eat and I will likely eat less food (fewer calories) overall.
- Permanent changes in my activity level – specifically, I will be engaging in aerobic and other endurance activities, and weight lifting/strength training. My activity level will increase in both frequency and intensity.
Permanent means for the rest of your life. When does the rest of your life start? How about now! It may take anywhere from three to twelve months for your WLS to be scheduled. You are required to have a physical and a psychological evaluation before the surgery can be scheduled. There is no reason to put off making the lifestyle changes now.
Planning that includes pre surgery will create an environment where I am more likely to succeed in my goal of losing weight and maintaining that weight loss. Since gastric bypass is only a tool to aid with weight loss and weight maintenance, a plan should begin before surgery and incorporate surgery into the overall plans. Otherwise you are doing one of two things:
- You are procrastinating making an actual lifestyle change. You won’t create and carry out a pre surgery nutrition and exercise plan because you don’t really want to change and you are not ready for WLS
- You believe WLS will do the work for you… that after WLS you’ll be thinner, your temptations all assuaged and you weaknesses all overcome by the surgery. You are not ready for the work you will have to do and you are not ready for WLS.
Planning for only post WLS nutritional and exercise needs creates an environment where I am more likely to fail at achieving my weight loss and weight maintenance goals. It will leave me unprepared for the sudden changes that WLS may impose upon me.
The most important new trait that will need to be learned and implemented is to eat by design and election… what to eat, when to eat it, how much to eat. Eating well is to be a life-long pursuit, with habits developed through constantly electing to follow my designed nutrition plan. The more I practice eating via design and election, the easier it will be to adopt to the following:
- Eat well while working through the administrative details of scheduling my WLS (pre surgery),
- The first six months after surgery where I have absolutely no appetite and very limited food options,
- The time that my appetite returns and I have to deal with real feelings of hunger,
- The increase of options (temptations?) once my stomach can tolerate a wider range of foods,
- Eating after I have achieved my targeted weight loss,
- Special occasions that offer nutritional challenges – Thanksgiving, parties, Halloween, St Patrick’s Day, etc.
The second important new trait that will need to be learned and implemented is to exercise by design and election… when and where to exercise and what exercise to do. Exercising is to be a life-long pursuit, with habits developed through constantly electing to follow my designed exercise plan. The more I exercise via design and election, the easier it will be to make it habitual.
It doesn’t matter that there are so many variables and unknowns that the plan is unlikely to be implemented as designed. There are just too many unknown variables, too wide a range of potential options, so many unforeseen issues that will need a change of plans somewhere between a major overhaul and a fine tuning. But by having a pre and post-surgery nutrition and exercise plan, you’ll be able to change your approach to weight loss on the fly… as the need is recognized, you’ll be making the changes, and therefore staying on course to meet the end goal.
Step 1 – Describe yourself as you are now. Step 2 – Describe yourself as you’d like to be. Step 3 – Document the differences. Step 4 – Build a plan that gets you as you’d like to be in a realistic timeframe. Step 5 – Implement the plan. Step 6 – Periodically analyze your results and compare against the plan. Step 7 – If you are on goal… continue as planned, if not, revise your plan. Step 8 – Continue implementing the plan or begin implementing the revised plan. Repeat Steps 6, 7 and 8 until goal is achieved.
Having a pre and post nutrition and exercise plan is essential to the long-term success of WLS. Having one increases chances of success, not having one decreases your chances of success.
Rule/Guideline #4 – Thu June 26
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