Written By: Emma Squillace
For many people, the day they had bariatric surgery is a day that changed their lives. Bariatric surgery patients often lose a substantial amount of weight, see improvements from obesity-related health conditions, and are able to do activities they’ve not done for years. Lots of these patients find that their weight loss and improved health are incredibly empowering and affirming. But with all the positivity around substantial weight loss, it’s important to be realistic that not every aspect is easy or positive. Here are some of the potential concerns you should be prepared for, in order to manage your expectations about life after bariatric surgery.
You might miss food
While losing weight is exciting, and you’ll likely find pride in your new lifestyle, there will be times where you might ‘miss’ your previous ability to indulge in food. For instance, patients may tell us their friends went to an all-you-can-eat buffet, and they resented their inability to participate like they used to. Other people will say that they are surprised to realize how much they miss their ability to have late night snacks or large hamburgers.
You may not see your own success
Sometimes our team will see a bariatric surgery patient and be amazed at their progress. However, sometimes that patient does not see the changes that everyone else is able to. People who have spent decades seeing themselves as overweight or obese may find it hard to shift their thinking. While it may seem as though you’ll be able to celebrate your progress as soon as the pounds start dropping, be prepared that recognizing your own success can be its own challenge.
You might worry about plateaus
The vast majority of bariatric surgery patients begin losing a notable amount of weight right after surgery. Of course this is thrilling for people who have worked for years to make weight loss progress, but it can also bring up questions. You might worry that your current strides will not last. What if you hit a plateau, or start regaining weight? What if bariatric surgery ‘fails’ the way so many diets do? It’s very reasonable to have fears like this. Remember that our team is here to support you through every step of the journey including any plateaus you hit. Also remember that bariatric surgery is truly different from diets, in terms of the rates of success and empowerment you’ll have to succeed.
You may have excess skin
One disappointment for some bariatric surgery patients is finding they have excess skin after their weight loss. If you lose weight quickly, your skin may not be able to keep up with the ‘shrinking’ that your body is doing. Additionally, as we age our skin becomes less elastic, so some people end up with a fairly substantial amount of hanging skin. This skin can get in the way of wearing the new clothes you were hoping for, and in some cases can impede movement or a more advanced fitness routine. If you are in this situation, you should consider skin removal surgery. This is not the right option for everyone, and certainly not a necessity after bariatric surgery. However, it is an important step that some people find makes a lot of difference in how they feel and perceive themselves.
If you have a substantial amount of weight to lose, bariatric surgery can be a life changing choice. It is important, however, to be realistic about life after bariatric surgery so that hurdles do not turn into regrets. All the positives that most patients experience are also balanced with inevitable struggles. Understanding this before surgery, and setting yourself up with a good support system and patience, are major steps in overcoming any concerns you may have. We are happy to speak to you about your weight loss options and talk about how to address any potential issues. You can learn more by calling us at (855) 690-0565.