Post-Bariatric Surgery: Thinking Outside the Scale

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Before and after bariatric surgery, patients are confronted with a lot of numbers: their blood pressure and cholesterol readings, body mass index (BMI), calories in and out, and of course, the all-important number on the scale. While it can be exciting to watch that number dip, especially shortly after surgery, when weight loss tends to be the most drastic, that digital readout is far from the only measure of slim-down success.


There are a number of milestones on the journey to a smaller size that have nothing to do with the scale, which can help ward off discouragement and frustration when it seems like that needle is glued in place. Here are a few:

  • Not having to book or take up two seats when travelling.
  • Using a seat belt without an extender.
  • Using a regular belt—and needing it!
  • Trading in clothes for a smaller size (or wearing something previously avoided due to weight, such as sleeveless tops, shorts, or bathing suits).
  • Climbing stairs without being out of breath.
  • Running on a treadmill without feeling like your lungs are on fire.
  • Participating in a fitness competition or challenge, whether it’s a 5K walk or a triathalon.
  • Taking a really killer “after” photo.
  • Not being recognized by someone at this new weight.
  • Getting a clean bill of health from your physician.

When a patient’s progress seems slow, it can help them to remember that weight loss is a journey, and there are plenty of pit-stops along the way. They will surely have their own “non-scale” victories to add to the list above.  Learn more about the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program by signing up for a free weight-loss surgery information session today.

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