Have you heard the story about the boy who cried wolf?

I remember reading that story to my son years ago, and how frightened he was by the wolves.
In the story, the boy thought it was clever to run toward the villagers screaming, “Wolf! Wolf!” at the top of his lungs, even though there was no wolf.

He probably got a kick out causing people to panic. He probably loved the way they rushed to his aid, guns drawn. He felt quite clever, I’m sure.

One day, though, as the boy was out exploring in the woods, a real wolf jumped from behind a tree, bared his teeth, and growled viciously.

The boy screamed at the top of his lungs and ran back toward the village crying, “Wolf! Wolf!”

But no villagers came to help. The boy was a great dinner for the wolf, I imagine.

As bariatric surgery patients, we hear a lot of medical information and are given many warnings about one thing or another being bad for us, and one thing or another being good for us.

With all that information, we can become like the villagers and tune out the cries of “Wolf!”

It drives me crazy, though, when people don’t listen to the warnings about the need for calcium supplementation after weight loss surgery.

A few months ago, a woman in my coaching group shared she was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis, which was found when she broke her back – in three places. She was in a lot of pain and frustrated to be calling in from her bed.

She admitted she had never taken calcium supplements following her gastric bypass.

“I’ve always been too busy to do it,” she explained.

The truth is many people don’t do as well with taking their supplements as they’d like after bariatric surgery. But that doesn’t mean their supplements aren’t important.

As the women in my group demonstrated, calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and other health problems.

All bariatric patients will benefit from making sure their calcium intake is adequate. Your bariatric surgery practice is the best resource for you to sort out how much calcium you should be taking.

Another option is to see a dietitian who specializes in bariatric surgery.

Your bones are living and require ongoing nourishment to stay healthy.

To get enough calcium:

Look for calcium citrate, which is the most absorbable form of calcium.
You can buy calcium citrate made specifically for bariatric patients. These supplements come in many forms, including pills, capsules, liquids, and powders. So, if you have trouble swallowing pills or hate the taste of the chewables, you have options!
Dairy products are a great source of calcium, but some bariatric patients become lactose intolerant. Numerous foods exist that will add calcium to your diet, including soybeans, tofu, collard greens, chestnuts, sardines, dried green peas, and some sea vegetables, such as nori.

Remember, always check with your doctor before adding to (or changing) your vitamin and supplement regimen. We all learn so much from the internet and our friends, and that’s great, but new studies come out and new information is being learned all the time. So, check with your surgeon or dietitian to be safe.

If you are reading this and proudly thinking, “I take my calcium,” go down the checklist and see if you’re missing out on other things you’re supposed to take or do. Things like:

Taking your multivitamins, iron, B12, etc.
Getting in enough water, protein, exercise, etc.
Getting enough of the right kind of support to help you take the best possible care of yourself.

If you’re feeling resistant, I hope you’ll consider the pain suffered by my client with the broken back. She lamented, “I feel so embarrassed! They told me to take all that stuff, but I felt great. I didn’t think I needed it!”

So, take the vitamins and supplements you were told to take after bariatric surgery, because the consequences for not taking them could be worse than you realize.

I’m not crying wolf!