Weight loss surgery can help you deal with the physical challenges of losing weight, but will not immediately resolve the psychological impacts of living with obesity. Though losing weight can help you overcome issues like low self-esteem, lack of confidence and depression, the complex emotions you experienced before surgery can persist long after. When you turn back to bad habits to cope with these problems, it can slow your progress and threaten your motivation.
It’s understandable to feel some strong emotions during your weight loss program—after all, weight loss surgery is a big step and requires many drastic changes in your way of life. However, it’s important to remember that you’re never alone in your weight loss journey. Dr. Taylor can help you stay healthy both physically and mentally, as can support groups, counseling and your friends and family. Discussing your issues with your support network can be a tremendous help in feeling better and staying focused.
Here are some emotional challenges you may face after weight loss surgery:
- Insecurity. Your mind has gotten used to an overweight body image and it will take time to adjust to your new normal. Even as you near your goal weight, it may be difficult to let go of a negative perception of your looks. Talking to others who have gone through similar transformations, like those in your support groups, can help.
- Anxiety. Losing weight can open many doors to new activities and social situations. It’s normal to feel anxious about these new opportunities and talking out your feelings can help you adjust. However, if anxiety becomes overwhelming, it may be best to seek therapy.
- Depression. Most people experience depression at some point in life, but inflated expectations, strict dietary changes and sagging skin left after weight loss make depression especially common in patients of weight loss surgery. Know that these emotions are normal and that steps can be taken to overcome them. Some may need a psychologist or medication to cope with depression.
- Relationship changes. Weight loss surgery usually does not drastically change relationships, but can make good ones better and bad ones worse. For some, an improved body image and self-esteem can lead to a more active sex life and greater intimacy. However, your progress may also make your significant other feel threatened or jealous. Reassuring your significant other and being open about your feelings can help, as can seeking couple’s counseling.
Your emotions after weight loss surgery may be stronger and harder to deal with than you are prepared for. This is what makes support so valuable. Talking to your loved ones about your issues can help you vent frustrations and come up with solutions to problems, while attending support groups can help you learn from others who have struggled with the same issues. Because it may take time to resolve emotional issues, it helps most to begin dealing with them before surgery.
Regardless of the thoughts and feelings you grapple with, it’s important to be open with Dr. Taylor about your emotional state. He can help you find the most proactive way to deal with your emotions.