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    Featured Article
    Finding The Goal Again
    Thoughts from Kaye - October 9, 2005

    by Kaye Bailey

    As the LivingAfterWLS community grows I learn more and more that weight loss surgery is not easy. In fact, many of us struggle to lose weight and keep it off. This causes me to question, what is wrong with us that we fight this would-be miracle of modern medicine? Are we weak failures destined to be fat no matter what extreme measures we take to not be obese? Why is it so hard day after day?

    These are harsh self-loathing questions.

    Not long ago I received a letter from Anita, a generous person and LivingAfterWLS community member. Last week was her 1-year WLS anniversary. She wrote, "I have really done some soul searching and reading since I emailed you. In reality I lost all sight of what I should be doing with my diet and exercise."

    Her sentence "I really lost all sight of what I should be doing " spoke to my heart. Could the absence of long-term accountability be one reason we lose sight of the goal and struggle after WLS? We know the slogans, "WLS is only a tool" and "WLS is for life" but those statements are vague lacking accountability and action. What if we accounted to ourselves and committed to paper an action plan for improvement? Imagine a tangible tool to account, applaud and assess our present state and plot our direction with WLS? Could that be the key to greater success long term with WLS?

    WLS patients are notoriously prudent to follow the pre-op directions. After surgery we religiously attend our first year follow-up appointments and support groups. After the first year we tend to slack off, we start feeling normal. Support groups seem repetitious and focus on pre-ops or newbies. Perhaps a backslide keeps us home; we are embarrassed to have stalled at losing or have regained a few pounds. Distance from my center has been an easy excuse for me, and now I don't call because staff turnover means I have to talk to strangers. By losing touch with my WLS center I have surrendered any accountability for how I use "The Tool."

    Today, because I needed community support as much as anyone, we have the LivingAfterWLS Community: A no-nonsense resource for living after weight loss surgery. As an exclusive tool available only to subscribers I present the first ever "LivingAfterWLS Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment" worksheet. Having read hundreds of emails I narrowed down some questions we can ask in a sincere effort to assess our present state and make an action plan for the next three months. This worksheet should be used as a private tool with the intent to pursue better living with WLS. It is a solemn personal contract; a contract of honor and self-respect. Anyone brave enough to have WLS deserves to treat him or herself well and engage in appropriate long-term behaviors to make the most of life after WLS.

    Download the LivingAfterWLS Self-Assessment Worksheet

    The "Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment" tool is a two-page worksheet. Yesterday I spent quiet time in self-assessment. It was much harder to answer the questions than I thought it would be. I spoke to my husband about this. As expected his wisdom was insightful. He said, "You know, Hindsight 20/20 is an expression for a reason. It is easy to look back and see what we have done right or wrong. You and the (LAWLS) community members look back all the time and beat-up yourselves. But what you are asking with this worksheet is to look hard at yourself in the present and make a plan for improvement. Of course filling it out is hard, but it is necessary. Living without accountability is harder."

    I completed my worksheet and signed the solemn contract with myself. It felt great to account to myself and promise specific actions of improvement to make my WLS work better for me. I like seeing on paper the actions for which I am now accountable. I am looking forward to reviewing this contract over the next few months. I deserve to honor these commitments and succeed long-term with WLS.

    You deserve to make commitments to yourself for better living with WLS.

    Download the LivingAfterWLS Self-Assessment Worksheet

    Please accept this invitation to join me in the Quarterly Personal Self-Assessment. Print the worksheet, take some quiet time to evaluate where you are and where you are going. Put your WLS goal back in sight. Pre-ops, Newbies and Old-timers can all use this tool. You don't have to share it with anyone or you can share it with the world. If it works for you let me know. If it's missing something let me know.

    I will include gentle accountability reminders on the website and in the newsletters. Let's work together and see how well we can make this tool work for living better after WLS.

    Please accept my thanks and best wishes to Anita and the entire LivingAfterWLS community. I am inspired daily by you.

    Yours in the battle,
    Kaye

     

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