Written By: Emma Squillace
Before people have bariatric surgery, many of them picture losing a lot of weight and being over the moon about how they look. Lots of bariatric surgery patients are not only happy with their results, but also believe their surgery was the start of their new life. However, the road to significant weight loss can be a difficult one as well as a rewarding one. The reality is that some people struggle with their physical appearance, even after losing a substantial amount of weight with bariatric surgery.
One reason may be that the weight can come off quite quickly with operations like the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve. So while peoples’ bodies may get smaller quickly, their minds may not have a chance to keep up. It’s very normal for someone who has lost a lot of weight to feel self-conscious, and as though they’re still at their heavier weight.
Another reason people may feel self-conscious is because of excess skin. For some people, losing a large amount of weight quickly can result is loose, baggy skin. This skin may make people shy about their bodies, and frustrated about a more sleek, thin physical appearance they thought they’d achieve after their weight loss.
If you are struggling with a negative self-image after losing a substantial amount of weight, here are some things to keep in mind:
Talking to someone can help
It’s normal to want keep insecurities to yourself, but often times people feel better when they confide in someone trusted about their feelings. There are bariatric surgery support groups set up just for this purpose. Our team is also always hear to listen to you and make recommendations if you reach a hurdle. Beyond being a group of friendly people to speak to, supporters with experience in bariatric surgery can help you stay realistic, and understand that there is success beyond the hurdles you may be facing.
Focus on non-numerical goals
If you feel as though the number on the scale, or the size of the pants you fit into, are driving your ability to feel good or bad about yourself – try to lessen your focus on numbers. There are many ways to feel good about your accomplishments, without numbers. For instance, can you walk farther without getting tired? Have you taken up a new physical activity? Did something you were afraid to do before bariatric surgery? Started cooking for yourself or your family more often? These are all important reasons to feel good about where you are and what you have achieved.
Make new connections
Sometimes it helps to have a new group of people to spend time with. Some of our patients have felt it was particularly helpful to join a walking group or new fitness class. Another positive activity is joining a group related to something outside of health or wellness. For instance, you can have fun and make good connections at an art group, volunteer committee, or class at a community center.
Be kind to yourself
Just because you have not reached the exact goal weight you have in mind, does not mean there’s any less reason to be proud. Feeling positive about each milestone is very important to your overall journey. If you put yourself down or expect perfection, you are bound to be disappointed. Instead, celebrate small victories and appreciate how far you’ve come.
Research your alternatives
If something like excess skin is getting in the way of you finally appreciating the hard work you’ve done, and celebrating your accomplishments, look into treatment options. Excess skin removal is a surgery that some bariatric patients choose to have, and this can be the final step they need in achieving the body image they hoped for.
If you are thinking about having bariatric surgery, it’s important to go into the operation with a realistic outlook. You may be embarking on one of the most important and rewarding journeys of your life. But with that success can come struggles as well. A strong support system can be one of the biggest keys to success after weight loss surgery. At West Medical, we are always here to support you and help you work through any questions or concerns you may have. Call us anytime at (855) 690-0565.