Emotional Stages of a Bariatric Journey

I hate using the word ‘journey’ when referring to this process of going through bariatric surgery and the resulting stuff that comes after but there’s no better word I can think of to describe it. It’s full of ups and downs and some boring bits in between. Emotionally it’s a crazy ride and there are so many great, not so great and all at the same time hugely conflicting things you feel it can get a bit crazy up in your head.

At the start of the journey there’s lots of angst, worry and wondering. There’s lots to work through in your head along the way and as you get closer to that all important ‘date’ hopefully you have come to a point of inner peace with what you are about to go through. No one can predict how it’s going to turn out for you but there’s hope that a better life is not too far away.

One of the biggest things that messed with my head before my surgery was self doubt. I wasn’t sure I could do this and wondered if I would be the only person ever to have gastric bypass surgery and not lose any weight. I think an important part of getting over this was building my self esteem a bit more and getting to the point where I believed I deserved this.

In the rapid weight loss phase there’s lots of highs. Conquering new goals on a regular basis and the constant comments from other people about how good you are looking. It does get a bit frustrating when your body has a mind of its own and doesn’t reach some of those goals as quickly as you had hoped but there’s so much good stuff going on that for me at least, it far outweighed the low points.

There can be times when your weight loss completely slows down and all you can think is, “This is it, I’m not ever going to lose any more weight.” These stalls in your weight loss are really frustrating. If you know you are doing all you can in terms of diet and exercise they are nothing to worry about. If you have room to improve these are really good points giving you the kick you need to get yourself back to doing what you know you need to.

Then you reach your goal weight. GOAL WEIGHT, how crazy is that. It’s a day you never thought or even hoped to think would come and it feels like the biggest achievement ever. The high of this carries on for a bit and it’s so gratifying to be able to tell people you have reached your goal weight. I really, really hoped that I would reach my goal weight but didn’t want to tell myself it was definitely going to happen because I didn’t want to be too disappointed if it didn’t happen.

Then comes maintenance. This is the longest part of the journey because once you reach a point where you hopefully reach a healthy weight and stop losing lots of weight you are going to be there for the rest of your life. This phase is nowhere near as exciting as the rapid weight loss phase and unless you create some goals there’s no big list to tick off. I tend to counteract this with fitness related goals because I need something to be working towards and looking forward to or I get bored and it’s easier to get offtrack.

Maintenance is amusing in it’s own right though. People who didn’t know you before you reached the point of you maintaining your weight gape at you openmouthed when you tell them how much weight you have lost. People ask you if your driver’s licence is really you because you haven’t updated the picture. I constantly have to reassure people that yes the person in my before pictures is me.

I’ve think I’ve had a pretty good ride post gastric bypass so others may have had a different proportion of good to bad days. In life genarally I choose to see the good in things and try not to let the things I can’t control get me down too much. This journey certainly hasn’t been easy but my hard work physically and mentally is paying off and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Has your emotional journey through bariatric surgery been what you expected? What’s the one main thing that’s taken you by surprise, comment below and let me know.

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There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Michelle at 6:27 pm

    I’m struggling massively with this, I’m not even 2 weeks post op, have hardly lost anything and head hunger is killing me. To top it off I don’t feel any different than I did before. It’s making me worry that the surgery is not going to work for me. Stressful times! Good to know you had similar fears.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 6:40 pm

      It will work you just need to give it time. Our bodies all react differently and as long as you’re following the dietary recommendations of your team the weight will start falling off. It’s really hard to get your head around and you just need to try and do the best you can until your head catches up with your body.

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