The Mental Struggle of Weight Loss Surgery
By Tina, professional, wife, mom, and bariatric patient
If you’re overweight, you know the psychological impact of that reality. It can be emotionally taxing, depressing, and affect your self-confidence. It’s quite possible that you’re limited physically, which can in turn limit you emotionally.
When you’re overweight, your feelings about your self-image are not generally positive. You become very good at stuffing them inside; you live in a state of denial about your reality. You put a smile on your face and continue on with the bad habits that are slowly destroying you.
I’ve been there – and it’s not fun.
Are You Ready?
As I prepared for bariatric surgery last year, I was certain my body was ready. But how could I know if my heart and mind were ready, too? Could my emotions handle the impact of the changes before AND after surgery? These were all important questions to think about and answer before I could determine if bariatric surgery was the right option for me.
The Genesis Center for Weight Management and most insurance plans require an evaluation of your mental health and emotional well-being before approving you for bariatric surgery. It’s important to assess and confirm that you have adequate coping skills, support systems, overall stability, and the necessary readiness for change.
You’re much more likely to be successful when these things are solidly in place. And, it’s equally important to maintain this good foundation after surgery to ensure you don’t replace one type of unhealthy behavior (i.e., overeating) with other addictive behaviors such as alcohol/drug abuse, shopping, gambling, etc. Transfer addiction is not a healthy or positive alternative to being overweight!
It's Never Easy--But It's Worth It
I won’t lie – the waters can be a little rough at first, and there’s still a bit of a stigma with it. People who don’t understand this option or your situation may think you haven’t tried hard enough on your own. Others are supportive before your surgery then afterwards find it hard to accept their own feelings around the changes they see in you.
Perhaps they’re overweight, too. Or maybe they’re worried about how your changes will impact them. It’s not always easy and there are a variety of emotions you will experience. You have to be equipped to process your own thoughts as well as the feelings that others may project onto you.
Fortunately, negative reactions from others have been few and far between for me. But I know that if I was struggling, the Genesis Center for Weight Management is there to help me work through it. Regular checkups with Dr. Aanestad and his team will always be an important part of maintaining my good health – they understand the special and unique needs of a bariatric patient.
They know my story.