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Deciding whether or not to have bariatric surgery is the biggest decision I have ever had to make for myself. Bariatric surgery is a long-term, permanent solution which does not give you any guarantees to the outcome. I had always struggled to manage my weight and after trying literally everything I saw bariatric surgery as my absolute last chance.
There are many things to consider and think about when you start to investigate whether bariatric surgery is right for you. Personally I did a huge amount of research into gastric bypass before I even approached my GP because I wanted to know exactly what to expect and what it was all about.
Sacrifice is a huge part of anyones bariatric journey. There are many advantages, although some of those could be seen as disadvantages depending on how you frame it, but there will be things for you in life that will never be the same after bariatric surgery. I talk about my surgery to a lot of people and the first reaction I get from a lot of them is, “I couldn’t do that,” “I couldn’t go without that,” “I couldn’t live on so little food,” and so on.
I’m really glad I had such a long lead up to my gastric bypass surgery because it gave me time to really consider how I felt about and come to terms with giving up large parts of what, at that time, was my normal day to day life. There are a few things you have to accept and be okay with, hopefully before surgery, so you know bariatric surgery is the right choice for you.
You need to accept that your relationship with food will never be the same again. This is a big one and it’s still something that even though I was well prepared emotionally for still makes me sad from time to time. It especially hits me when I’m not well and the main way I would comfort myself prior to surgery was with food and I just can’t do that anymore.
I see many of the functions of how my gastric bypass helps me as positives, not negatives. Not being able to eat gigantic portions, being restricted in levels of sugar and fat in things I can consume and not being able to drink alcohol in the same ways as normal people do are things that I see as positive outcomes from my surgery. I knew I needed the mechanism of physical control that my bypass would give me to be able to change and maintain the lifestyle changes that are necessary to maintain my healthy weight.
My new normals often surprise people and they seem to be more upset about what I can’t do now than I am. Ultimately, I decided that reaching a healthy body weight and having a shot at manitaining it were far more important than being able to eat and drink how I like. I was so desperate to get my weight under control that those were sacrifices I was willing to make.
I think in accepting life as a bariatric patient you need a really clear vision of what is ultimately important to you. For me living a healthy life for as long as I possibly could was more important to me than food and the relationship that I had with it. If, after considering everything the pros of having bariatric surgery outweigh the cons and you can accept the sacrifices you have to make then you’re on your way to accepting life after bariatric surgery.
If you are post-op and you are having a tough time coming to terms with how you have to live life afterwards because it’s not what you expected then give yourself time. Time to think, process it, create your new normal where you feel comfortable. It’s not going to happen immediately after surgery and as it is such a massive life change there is going to be an adjustment period.
Life after bariatric surgery is different, exciting, full of change and will probably lead you discover things about yourself you didn’t know or realise. Go with it, embrace it and see where it takes you! Have you accepted life and your status as a post-op bariatric surgery patient? Comment below and let me know I’d love to see how you have adjusted.