An examination of common thoughts and feelings experienced as a result of your bariatric surgery.
You may be dealing with some complex emotions both before and after surgery. It's perfectly normal for the emotions you feel after surgery to be similar to those you feel before you have the surgery; many of the self-esteem and confidence issues that help lead us to surgery aren't immediately fixed by bariatric surgery, or even after weight loss begins.
As a matter of fact, you could go through a period of feeling worse after the surgery than you did before. You might feel anxious, depressed, disappointed, out of control, and helpless one minute and then happy and excited the next. Many of the same issues that affected your emotional well-being before surgery will still exist, and still affect you, after surgery.
The changes that are necessary for weight-loss surgery to be successful can also trigger emotional issues. After all, actually losing weight post-surgery requires a major lifestyle change that involves new eating habits, a new routine, and even new relationships. These are huge changes, and all of them involve eliminating or seriously limiting things that were once major sources of comfort. As a result, depression, anxiety, and loneliness are possible side effects.
Here are some things you might begin to feel as you start losing weight:
- Feelings of insecurity as you lose weight and adjust to your new identity while saying goodbye to the old.
- Feelings of vulnerability as you lose the protective blanket of weight that you never realized made you feel somehow safer.
- Feelings of anxiety as you face your new lifestyle and new ability to be active and social.
It's possible that these changes will be more emotionally taxing than you anticipated. When you feel this way, you need to turn to your online and offline support groups for help and guidance. Exchanging these thoughts and feelings with other people who have been in your shoes will go a long way toward helping you feel better and keeping you motivated to succeed.
It will also help stop you from adopting bad eating habits as a way to cope with your emotions, an activity which could lead to weight gain and undo all the hard work you put in to your weight loss.
You should also bring these feelings up with your doctor so he or she can help you manage them and make sure you're healthy, both physically and emotionally.
Why you should consider being involved in a bariatric surgery support group.
Having a support group to turn to when things get rough is extremely important for weight loss success. Your support group should be filled with people who understand what you're going through because they've experienced it. These individuals will have tried-and-true methods for success as a result.
No one can make you attend a support group meeting. Find a way to fit them into your schedule and actually attend them. If your schedule is packed, try a group that meets online.
Benefits of Support Group Meetings
1. Firsthand experience: The people in your support group are your peers. They have firsthand experience with the same weight loss issues and surgery you've gone through. There is no more valuable and trusted a resource than someone who truly understands your situation.
2. Education: From expert guest speakers to doctors to other weight loss surgery patients, your support group should be filled with knowledgeable people who can educate you on nutrition, pain management, exercise, and motivation.
3. Help solving problems: You may encounter problems or challenges that you didn't anticipate and couldn't prepare for. Individuals who have already experienced those challenges that are unforeseen to you can help you prepare for them.
4. New friends: After weight loss surgery, you might have to end relationships that aren't good for your health and weight loss success. These relationships, while dangerous to your health, might also be emotionally painful when they end. Your support group can offer an entirely new group of friends who are not only invested in your success, but who are also seeking their own. It's a mutually beneficial relationship to which you certainly have something important to offer.
5. Success: Years of research have proven that people who are active in a weight loss surgery support group have more success in losing the weight.