Shifts in the enjoyment of healthy and unhealthy behaviors affect short- and long-term postbariatric weight loss
Objective: To investigate whether bariatric patients experience changes in the enjoyment of health-promoting behaviors, and how those changes relate to weight loss success.
Methods: Online lifestyle survey for bariatric patients ≥18 years old who had undergone gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy ≥1 year prior. Changes in the enjoyment of eating behaviors and exercise were surveyed, and associations with weight loss success were analyzed. The role of obtaining external support since surgery was investigated.
Results: Of 877 respondents, 475 were eligible (95% women, 53.3 ± 9.0 years, body mass index 34.2 ± 8.0 kg/m2), of whom 21%, 36%, and 43% had had surgery 12-24, 24-60, and >60 months earlier, respectively. Postsurgery, patients enjoyed eating healthy foods more (63%), exercise more (46%), eating junk food less (67%), and overeating less (95%). Increased enjoyment of healthy foods and exercise were only associated with weight loss success among patients with surgery ≥24 months previously. While obtaining external support was associated with overall successful weight loss, external support correlated with enjoying healthy food, and exercise more in patients who had had their surgery at least 60 months previously.
Discussion: Learning to enjoy health-promoting behaviors after bariatric surgery may not coincide with improved weight loss outcomes before 2 years have passed.