The Traffic Light Method of Monitoring

You have had weight loss surgery for a reason and you want to be able to see the benefits. Therefore, some form of monitoring is important. However, it is important that way you monitor yourself is useful and effective in helping you move forward.

The typical form of monitoring following weight loss surgery is weighing. Yep, the dreaded scales. Weight loss surgery is titled that for a reason – it is about losing weight, and what better way to ensure you are losing weight than by weighing regularly, right? Well, not always.

Consider the client who tells us they weigh morning and night and are amazed at the difference a day can make. Or the client who comes for an 11am appointment starving hungry, saying they haven’t eaten a thing as they thought they would be weighed. For this person, eating breakfast would have been a far better choice in terms of a sustainable, healthy behaviour to help achieve their goals.

Jumping on and off the scale every time you work past them is not effective monitoring. Weight fluctuations day to day are not an effective measure of overall weight loss. Recent food intake, fluid retention, bladder and bowel contents are all factors which will cause daily fluctuations in weight. Often the less frequently you weigh (within reason), the easier it is to see a trend.

Sometimes the focus on the scale can be detrimental to weight loss efforts, as the number you see can set your mood and as a result, your behaviours for the day. Have you ever seen a number you were not happy with on the scale and thought, “What the heck, I’m not getting anywhere anyway, I may as well just eat what I want!” To put it in perspective, this is a little like dropping your phone on the floor, then thinking that now that it has been dropped you may as well step on it, crack the screen and throw it under the next bus. Who would seriously do that? The more reasonable scenario would be to pick it up, dust it off, be a little disappointed that it now has a small scratch on the screen, then go ahead and make a call.

Unfortunately, people see a gain of one kilogram on the scales and start thinking about weight regain and ‘failure’, when this is actually a normal physiological phenomenon.

The ‘traffic light’ method of monitoring which we found a much more appropriate way to look at your progress. Aim to weigh yourself no more than once or twice a week and use the following to assess where to go next.

GREEN: Weight is stable or you are losing weight (if above your target weight). Continue on as you are.

AMBER: A gain of 3kg. Consider this a warning. Revisit what you are doing each day and identify areas where you could improve your lifestyle.

RED: A gain of 5kg or more. Consider this the time to stop and make an appointment with your team.

We would love you to give the traffic light method a go and let us know how you find it.

If you feel you need a little more guidance and feedback on your journey, be sure to check out our All Inclusive Online Support.

Traffic Light Monitoring