7 things to prepare yourself for after Bariatric Surgery
Life after bariatric surgery isn’t always what people envision. In addition to changes in your appetite, you may experience unplanned changes in your eating habits, lifestyle, social life, relationships, emotions, mental health, and finances. The differences often surprise people who hoped that the procedure would offer an easy way to lose weight.
Many people enjoy an improved quality of life after bariatric surgery. However, the surgery is not for everyone. Here are seven things you should prepare yourself for after the surgery.
1. Change in eating and lifestyle habits
Weight loss surgery isn’t an alternative to diet and exercise. It’s an aid for diet and exercise. Good eating habits and regular exercise become even more essential after bariatric surgery. To sustain the results of your surgery, you’ll need to practice healthy behavior daily.
You have to journal your food intake and measure the quantities and types of food you eat to ensure proper dietary and nutritional intake.
2. New social habits
As you begin to build a new relationship with food, you may not be able to participate in social gatherings that mainly involve food. Instead, you will learn to schedule social outings around physical activity, which some of your friends may not enjoy.
3. Loss of relationships
Your changing social habits may frustrate the friends you had before surgery. It may even estrange those you were once close to.
You’ll need to work with your family and friends to accept your new behaviors. And that may be a challenge because most people don’t welcome change. This includes bad habits that may have caused your weight gain in the first place.
4. Emotional disappointment
If you expect weight loss surgery to solve social or emotional problems and make your life better, you may be disappointed. Some people who gain weight use food for emotional comfort. This isn’t a problem that surgery can solve. If emotional issues are present before surgery, they are likely to be present after surgery.
5. Excess skin
Your weight loss may deliver favorable results on the scale, but you may not like what you see in the mirror. Excess skin is a problem for bariatric patients who lose weight. For some, the sight of loose skin is just as bad or even worse than excessive weight.
6. Alcohol use disorder
Some patients who undergo surgery, particularly gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, experience alcohol use disorders after surgery. It may result from how the procedures alter how the body processes alcohol. Because of this, some patients may be at higher risk for alcohol use disorder.
7. Weight regain
While the success rates for weight loss surgery continue to improve, some weight regains in the years after bariatric surgery is not uncommon. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, most weight loss occurs in the first two years following surgery.
While weight regain is common after five years, most can keep 50% of the excess weight off.
All surgeries have risks and benefits to consider. For some patients, having a bariatric procedure, like gastric bypass, is worth it.
For a committed patient, weight loss surgery is an effective tool for losing weight. Patients may be able to lose 60% to 77% of their excess weight in the first year after surgery.
Talk to your specialist for guidance if you’re considering this surgery.