This post follows on from last weeks Pre-op edition so…
I will start this post by saying that we each have a very different experience in life and our own sense of self esteem is influenced by so many different things. I’m going to talk about this in the only way I can, from my own life experience.
Being overweight is a huge influencing factor on your self esteem. I wouldn’t have said prior to surgery that I thought I was lacking much in self esteem because my values around my self esteem were based on far more than my outwards appearance. My coping mechanism and I guess my approach to life when I didn’t have enough self esteem was ‘fake it till you make it.”
I think one of the biggest emotional factors that determines overall and long term success post bariatric surgery is self esteem. I think because my self esteem was mainly built on other aspects of myself not just my appearance and body shape I haven’t found this aspect of the change too hard. I think there’s one huge way that the change in my self esteem change can be measured and that’s how many selfies I take (shameless I know) and the fact that I now don’t immediately hate my image in any photo I see of myself.
One important thing about self esteem that needs to change as your body has a huge change is your own belief of what you deserve. You may have struggled with this in other parts of your life as well as in terms of your weight. I think a really big part influencer of self sabotage is your own self esteem and the belief you hold in terms of what you think you ‘deserve’ and ultimately, this can be one of the determining factors on whether you reach you goal weight or not. This of course translates directly into how easily you will deal with the initial stages of very fast weight loss and maintenance in an emotional way.
I’m going to tell you something you need to hear whether you are starting out or are already going down the road of bariatric surgery to regain your life back. Or you may have another personal goal that you are struggling to reach, whatever you want to achieve you deserve the happiness it will bring. It might be hard and it certainly won’t be easy but I can tell you that its so, so worth it. YOU are SO SO worth it. Believe in yourself, your determination and your willingness to make this work and if you have to, remind yourself everyday of what you are going to achieve.
I hated seeing myself in the mirror and avoided photos for years because it would upset and shock me seeing just how big I had become. In the start taking progess photos was done out of pure curiosity and I didn’t even necessarily like those photos much to start with. You don’t know how many times I would make my husband retake them to make them, in my mind anyway, as un-ugly as possible.
It’s a big turning point when you realise your self esteem has started to change and you actually are starting to like yourself a bit more. I think what goes hand in hand with this is not being so self conscious ALL THE TIME. I think this shift started happening for me around six months after my gastric bypass surgery and has grown and changed significantly in the time since then too.
While prior to surgery I wouldn’t have said my self esteem was too closely linked to my weight and appearance because it is based on much, much more than that I do see now just how much it did. It also permeates everything else that your self esteem is based on and because it is such a huge (sorry such a bad and unintended pun!) weight off my mind it reduces the amount of faking it I have to do to get through life in general.
Is self esteem something that you have struggled with before or after a huge physical change such as bariatric surgery? Let me know in the comments below if there’s any part of my experience you can identify with.