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Bariatric Surgery – The Decision and Your Mental Health

Overweight woman sits in counselor's office as they discuss her feelings about her weight, eating, and weight loss journey ahead with bariatric surgery at MIIS Weight Loss Institute in Florida.

While it’s true that life after bariatric surgery will never be the same, in many ways, those changes begin once you’ve made the decision to undergo surgery. The common misconception holds that bariatric surgery is a quick fix. But in reality, the only “quick” part of this life-changing journey is the actual surgery itself. The process begins long before the procedure takes place and will continue as a life-long betterment of your health, appearance, and well-being.

Once you decide to undergo surgery, a mental shift begins. While conscious on many levels – as you begin making specific nutritional and activity changes to daily habits to best prepare body for surgery and recovery – there is also a significant subconscious mental shift that can affect patients in different ways. And no one way is the “right” or “normal” way.

We can all agree that change in life has impact. How we handle change determines how we come through. While you may be skipping out of your surgeon’s office ready to
“do this,” the impact of what you’re embarking on may not fully hit you right away.

You are changing you.

You are committing to changing something that has been part of you for a very long time. Something that has probably been the fundamental obstacle in your way to better health, the way you look in the mirror, and the way you join (or retreat from) the world. But even deeper, you are confronting years of conceivable self-harm, medicating behaviors, and even bad or unhealthy relationships. Subconsciously, we know these things will come to a head. Yes, we will be purging many of them, but some of them aren’t so easily left behind.

The negative voice in your ear – either your own or that person who has never really been supportive – is now forced through a different filter. These truths can be glaring. This filter is not surgery, rather it is you – finally putting yourself first, taking control of your health, and the years ahead that you deserve to live fully.  The conversation is now more honest, and while not necessarily easier because now we must confront those habits and relationships that conditioned your old behaviors, you see things in a different way. And this is how the real changes begin. Weight loss is secondary. It’s glorious, but secondary. Health and mental changes are what will impact you the most.

Since you are taking charge of your physical health, be mindful to check in with your mental health. Don’t squash even the “silly questions” or feelings. Bring them up with your surgeon. And be proud of this total transformation inside and out.

Remember, your success is ours as well. We will be there by your side from the moment you decide to have bariatric surgery to long after incisions have healed, and the weight has vanished.