Bariatric Surgery Doesn’t Change How You Think; You Must
You’ve heard it before. Bariatric surgery is just a tool. But it also requires serious psychological changes that aren’t always easy to process. Like any other life-changing decision, you must think about your mindset and intentions before having bariatric surgery. You need to be prepared mentally. And to prepare yourself, you must consider a few things:
Are you considering bariatric surgery because you want to improve your health, or are you just concerned with how you look? You need to understand what success means in order to achieve it. If you’re only thinking about the cosmetic aspects of bariatric surgery, you may not be ready. And don’t do it because others tell you to. This is your decision.
Post-surgery you will likely experience tremendous weight loss results; however, as time passes – usually after 8 to 12 months – the rate of weight loss will decrease. When you reach this point, you need to remain focused. You can start your new, healthy mindset well before surgery, so you’re already at an advantage in the days and months following it. A healthy, realistic, and consistent approach to your nutrition and fitness lifestyle will be the foundation of creating this mindset.
Recognizing patterns and triggers in weight gain will help you better prepare for those challenges after bariatric surgery. The operation is just the beginning of your journey. Consistency and maintenance are necessary. You must continue to press onward even while dealing with weight plateaus. Also remember that you will have ups and downs in your weight. These are inevitable. Don’t get worried or frustrated; ask for help if needed.
Tell your doctor if you have any known psychiatric conditions, even if they don’t seem related to weight loss surgery. This helps ensure your safety before, during, and after surgery. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety are typically analyzed before surgery during your psych eval, but it’s good to ask for help if you need it. After pondering your current situation and what your future may look like, you can either choose to take the leap or stay where you are. If you desire change, you also choose commitment.
So, you’ve had surgery. Step one is complete! Now the longer-term challenge begins. The remaining steps will only be possible if you can also transform your mindset. Here’s a checklist of tips and ideas that may help make this easier for you.
- Self-awareness – understand your triggers (stress, emotional eating, etc.)
- Recognize old patterns
- Plan for success
- Become a visionary and see your healthy life unfolding
- Think about how your body feels, and do not just rely on the numbers on the scale
- Small goals and steps followed by gradually bigger goals and more significant steps
- Focus on progress, not perfection
- Keep notes or post-its around your home or workspace to remind you why you decided to start this journey.
- Be your biggest fan and shower yourself with positive energy and thoughts
- Start journaling to track and reflect on all your physical and emotional highs and lows
- Create a bucket list of non-weight-related goals that you want to achieve
- Recruit a support system – family, friends, etc – to help you stay accountable
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to work on creating a new mindset while reshaping your body.
Do not lose sight of the fact you chose this path for yourself. There was a reason you did. You had a vision of what you could become, so keep that forefront in your mind. Continue to grow it. Feed it. And then there will come the point where you think, “How did I ever not live this way?”