Psychological Changes After Bariatric Surgery
Lifestyle do not only come in the form of diet and exercise, but also include behavioral and social changes. Just as important as losing weight is what you do with your newfound body and spirit. Taking advantage of all the opportunities and events that you may have missed over the past years is a key to enjoying your post-surgery life. The importance of making the most of the second chance at great health cannot be overstated. Enjoying your post-surgery life and weight loss makes it more likely that you will keep up your excellent diet and exercise regimens, ensuring health for years to come.
As your lifestyle changes however, those around you may not change with you. This is a very real part of life after surgery. As you change, so will your relationships. Many of your relationships will get better, however you should also prepare for those that may get worse. A common issue we see is a partner’s jealousy as you begin to receive more attention for how you look and the weight you’ve lost. Others may feel excluded as you perform activities that they simply cannot because of their weight or medical condition.
One of the ways to help the transition from pre- to post- bariatric surgery life is to sit down with the people that you truly care about and explain your weight loss and social/career goals. If those around you understand exactly who you want to become after surgery, they will be prepared for the changes that will inevitably come.
Stress management is also a significant part of the post bariatric surgery lifestyle. Stress and anxiety can cause you to eat more because it enhances the secretion of the hormone cortisol in the body. This, in turn, can keep you from reaching your goals. Whether through exercise, counseling, introspection or meditation you must purge at least some of the stress from your personal and career life. We have found that stretching and light resistance training in the form of yoga or Pilates are very effective in melting away the stress while also getting a good workout.
Remember that lifestyle change is not easy, however with a dedication to yourself and an unwavering focus on your health, it will yield great benefits for years to come. Further, understand that you are not alone. Family, friends, your support group peers, and all of us at the Weight Loss Center of Arkansas are here to assist you navigate any of the challenges and opportunities that you find yourself facing as you work towards your goals. Also, do not underestimate the power of social media and online forums as well as applications that can allow you to ask questions of those who have been in your position before (or read about the challenges that others face).
Please remember that surgery is not just about losing weight. It’s about changing your life and making yourself healthier both physically and psychologically. That means regaining a balance that you may not have seen in years – or ever. Enjoy hitting your milestones one by one, while keeping your understandably lofty goals in the back of your mind. Finally, remember that you are starting a new life in which the opportunities are virtually endless.