Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN
Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, providing education and support prior to and following weight loss surgery.
If you’re considering weight loss surgery, you’ve probably heard about the importance of journaling before and after your procedure. But why is it so important to document your journey? How do you get started? And when should you journal?
Among the many reasons to journal, it’s a way to document your progress, your decisions, why you do the things you do, your difficulties and wins, etc... It's also an opportunity to reflect on how far you’ve come and ensure that you stay on track with your goals. Let's take a deeper look at why journaling should be part of your weight loss strategy!
1) Why should you journal before WLS? Journaling before weight loss surgery helps you gain clarity on what led you to this decision in the first place. It allows you to write down any questions or doubts during this time. These notes will provide valuable insight as you're going through the WLS decision-making process. Additionally, writing your thoughts can help ease any anxiety or stress that may arise from considering such a significant life change.
2) When should you start journaling after WLS? The importance of journaling does not end once you've had your surgery — it's just as critical after the procedure. Journaling can do more than help you keep tabs on how much weight you lose... It can also provide insight into how far you’ve come in terms of your mindset. Journaling can help boost self-confidence by enabling you to see how much progress has been made since your pre-op days. It also gives patients a safe space to express the negative emotions they may be feeling during the recovery process. Writing things down makes it easier for you and your medical team to monitor your recovery process and make adjustments if necessary.
3) What's the best way to start journaling? If journaling is new to you, don't worry! Journaling doesn't have to be complicated! All it takes is a few basic supplies (such as paper or a notebook) and a few minutes each day. Maybe you choose a quiet time in the morning or recap the day by journaling before bed. There may even be times you want to journal in the moment if your thoughts are swirling and you need to get something out of your head and onto the paper. Start by writing down some positive affirmations about yourself and why this journey is essential; these affirmations will act as reminders throughout the process. And don't forget to use other tools like pictures or drawings if words aren't enough! By taking these simple steps, journaling will become an integral part of your post-surgery success.
4) What makes effective journaling? Don’t worry if your writing isn't perfect — journaling doesn’t require literary genius! All that matters is that it reflects what's going on inside your head and heart. Instead of just writing about what happened each day, focus on how certain events made you feel or think differently about yourself.
For example, instead of “I went for a walk today," try something like “I went for a walk today and felt proud of myself for taking care of my health." Or “I felt down today because of ___, and I didn’t feel motivated to ___”. Journaling these thoughts or reflections can help you understand yourself better and allow you to think about adjustments you can make to keep going.
Journaling before and after weight loss surgery is essential for tracking progress and staying motivated throughout this challenging journey. Keeping a written record allows patients to reflect on their decisions leading up to the surgery and document their post-surgery course of action every step of the way. From jotting down positive affirmations to helping you better understand your actions, journaling is an accessible method for everyone involved in this major lifestyle change!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.