Recently I noticed that near the beach areas there are new signs posted stating \"Entering Tsunami Hazard Zone\" and when leaving the beach, \"Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone.\" I am not sure if these are new or if I am just now noticing them. I guess like many others living near the beach I prefer to be in blissful denial that I actually live in a potential tsunami area. Given what I have seen on the Discovery Channel, tsunamis do not look very pleasant. However, realistically, I do need to give it some thought at least some time. After all if one actually hit, I would need to have a plan of evacuation and safety
This got me thinking. There are a lot of areas in our lives where we could probably use signs reminding us of \"Hazard zones,\" particularly after weight loss surgery. Take a minute to think about what areas for your are difficult to manage either your cravings, possible overeating or social pressures to eat. Maybe a hazard zone might be when your work place has a potluck lunch. Everyone is eating and overeating and wondering why you aren\'t. Another one might be the food court at the mall. One woman in our support group described how the soft preztels in the mall seemed to call her name each time she walked past. Maybe it is visiting your grandmother when undoubtedly she is going to serve you your favorite childhood dish and insist that you take several helpings. A common hazard zone is mindless eating while watching television after work.
Much like the tsunami warning areas, you have to identify the boundaries of your hazard area. Once you have identified the warning zones, make a plan ahead of time. Part of the reason for the \"Tsunami Hazard Zone\" signs are to prompt us to think about what we would do should we be faced with such a disaster. It is all in the planning. So let\'s think of it this way:
1. Identify your hazard zone--what areas are most difficult for you to stay on track with the post-operative lifestyle? Actually sit down and make a list. Write it out. Writing things down even if we never look at them again can be a powerful way to get the information to really sink in.
2. Plan your evacuation--Have a back-up plan in mind BEFORE you enter the hazard zone. It doesn\'t help to be in the middle of the disaster and not have a plan. If you have a plan on how to handle the after work mindless eating danger zone before you walk through the front door, you will more likely be successful in not ingesting extra calories. Can you go for a walk? Can you meet with a friend instead of going right home? How can you break up your routine? We are creatures of habit even though we don\'t like to think so. Mix it up. Before going to the mall knowing that the soft pretzels will wield power over you, load up on protein so you aren\'t so hungry. Walk on the other side of mall.
3. Review your plan regularly. Even when we live within the hazard zones, it is important to review our evacuation plans often. Again, we are creatures of habit. The more we go over something the more likely it is going to stick. Remember how every time you are an on airplane they go over the safety features, yahdahyahdah.... even if you have flown thousands of times, in the event of a \"true\" emergency you will probably know what to do because you have heard it so many times. The same goes for your hazard zones after surgery. Remind yourself regularly what your weak spots are and how you can overcome them.
If necessary, make a sign much like the \"Entering Tsunami Hazard Zone.\" You can do this by putting it in one of your many electronic devices--your phone, Outlook, etc. \"Tuesday--Family Dinner--Hazard Zone--need plan.\" This gets your mind thinking and brings up the evacuation plan you already thought about.
Success after surgery is really about planning. Taking one day--sometimes one meal at a time. Blissful denial is no longer an option.