I have found since my surgery one of the questions…
I’ve had a couple of interactions this week that have stuck around in my mind and have led to this post. As you can tell from my blog I’m pretty open about my decision to have weight loss surgery and don’t mind discussing it with pretty much anyone. There’s still so many people who don’t know much about bariatric surgery and I find it interesting to discuss the things that come up like happiness after gastric bypass surgery.
It started with a comment on my self-esteem post and the lovely Meagan from This is Meagan Kerr who commented that changing your weight is not a magic cure-all for everyone in terms of their self-esteem levels which is very true. This was further reinforced when the next day, in a conversation with someone I had just met for the first time, I was asked if losing all this weight had made me, “So much happier?” And the question was asked like there was only one obvious, enthusiastic answer.
In trying to articulate a reply in that conversation I don’t think I did a very good job and it has got me to thinking the last few days. I’m pretty sure the short answer to the, are you SO much happier question, in short, is “No.” I would be lying if I didn’t say that losing 70 kilos has made me happier about some aspects of my life but I don’t think it’s necessarily in the way people tend to assume.
First and foremost, I did this for my health, to give myself back some life expectancy and hopefully have a much healthier run through life. Am I happy that I’ve significantly reduced risk factors for every health problem that’s exacerbated or caused by being obese? Heck Yes. Am I happy that I don’t have to have more babies being morbidly obese? Heck Yes. Am I happy I can do whatever exercise I want to and instinctively know my body is much stronger and capable than it was before? Heck Yes. Were these the main drivers in my decision to have gastric bypass surgery? Yes.
Am I happy I don’t stand out in a crowd for being the biggest? Yes. Am I happy that I can comfortably fit into seats be it chairs with arms, in cinemas and on public transport and planes? Yes. There are too many little things that I don’t even think or worry about now and am I happy it’s removed some worry and anxiety? Yes. Is it amazing being able to walk into any clothing store and buy things off the rack that I like in a normal size? Yes. Were these the main reasons why I chose to have surgery? Nope, but they are all pretty awesome outcomes that I enjoy taking advantage of now.
I was pretty happy with my life in general before my gastric bypass surgery. I was (and still am) happily married. I have a beautiful son. I have a great family and really great supportive friends. I think my natural disposition helps in that respect because if you haven’t already noticed I tend to have a pretty positive and happy outlook to life. I think to a certain point you can choose to be happy and that I certainly do!
I’m happy I made the hard and confronting decision to have gastric bypass surgery and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. But am I SO much happier? No, I really don’t think so. I don’t believe weight loss surgery is at all magic bullet in making life better and it won’t solve all of your problems. Like any life changing decision there will be pros and there will be cons.
If you are considering any kind of weight loss surgery be it gastric bypass or otherwise if you have areas in your life that aren’t good and need some work then this is not going to fix them. It will improve lots of things and should make life easier in many respects but it won’t fix everything, that I can promise you. I think it’s natural for us all to think things like, “If I was smaller, skinnier, prettier, whatever else than we perceive ourselves not to be, then my life would be so much better, easier, fixed et cetera.”
With some issues in life, weight loss surgery can exacerbate any underlying problems as the process around bariatric surgery can be quite self involved and stressful and the resulting pressure it creates can make things harder or push them to breaking point. It’s quite common for relationships to break up after one partner has weight loss surgery. It can quite dramatically change the dynamics, especially in close relationships and if things weren’t great to start with you can just be adding fuel to the fire.
What I also find interesting is that my husband also gets asked if he’s “happy” that I’ve lost so much weight. From a health perspective he is, especially with the heart attack risk in my family being quite high it was something that played on his mind. People always assume he must be so happy to have, and I quote, “A skinny new wife,” but seriously if that’s what he was most happy about then he
probably absolutely wouldn’t still be my husband.
I guess I’m lucky that I was pretty happy before my surgery and while my life has improved in so many ways that it’s hard to articulate just how much, I still have the same happy and positive outlook on life. So, yes of course I’m happy but not SO much happier if you know what I mean.
Let me know if you can at all relate to this or if I’m talking gobbledegook. Comment below and let me know what your expectations are if you’re pre-op or if you’re post-op let me know how you think your happiness levels have changed since having your surgery.