Pre-op Worries: What if I don’t lose any weight?

I’m fairly sure every single person who is about to have weight loss surgery goes into the operating theatre with a small fear that they are going to be the first person in the world to undergo weight loss surgery and not lose any weight, not a single gram. I have no idea if this has ever happened, I’m fairly sure not, but please know you are not alone in this worry.

The neverending cycle of weight loss and regain that I think most weight loss surgery patients have had in their lives leading up to bariatric surgery almost gets to the point of convincing us that we’re useless and will never be able to lose and maintain weight loss, even with surgery. We get so conditioned by the experience we have had with our weight in the past that we basically expect ourselves to fail and be no good at this too.

I’m fairly confident that whatever happens you will lose weight after surgery. In the first six or so months or so there is not going to be very much you could do to stop it even if you wanted to. Your brain will try and tell you there’s a small chance that losing nothing will actually happen to you but don’t let yourself listen to it. Please let me assure you that this worry has a life expectancy and in the first couple of weeks after surgery you will realise you were really worrying about nothing.

A few weeks after surgery when you start weighing yourself and see that you have indeed lost weight you then start to worry that your weight loss is going to stop at any time. Seriously, our brains are jerks and try and mess us around as much as they possibly can. Bariatric surgery is not easy and the results are not guaranteed. You need to make sure you do what you know you need to and to look after yourself as much as possible to make sure you get the best results you can.

My best piece of advice is to try not to fall into negative thought patterns. It’s too easy to criticise ourselves, doubt ourselves and tell ourselves that we’re useless. You can do this, you are worth every great thing that will come of it and you are so strong and courageous for deciding to take the steps you have to claim back your health and be able to live your life at full capacity again. Be your own biggest cheerleader first because if you’re not backing yourself you can’t expect anyone else to.

Part of building new good and healthy habits post-op revolves around the head stuff and the things you tell yourself. Start practiscing it before your surgery and it will be more natural and will come easier post-op when things get a bit hard and confronting in the first few weeks after bariatric surgery. Trust the process, your body will do some crazy stuff and will slow down when you least expect it to but don’t expect failure or the worst for yourself.

Did you have this worry leading up to bariatric surgery too? Comment below and let me know I’d like to see how common it really is.

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There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Tinks at 1:22 pm

    A large part of my (private health care) post operative routine is psychological and counselling catch ups. Surgery and restricted eating will get you so far but once that honeymoon period is over then the really really hard work begins.
    We also just attended a 4 night 5 day retreat where the focus is 90% on self care and especially the battle of the brain. I’m very very pleased to have found a bariatric surgeon who believes in working holistically. David Schroeder and the Waikato Weight Loss Surgery team have jointly saved my life and shown me many many many tools that will ensure that I can successfully take the reins back from here!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 1:27 pm

      That’s fantastic that the level of care is that involved and targeted long-term post-op for you guys! The downside of the public system us that there is no psychological support and certainly no retreats or anything like that to keep your focus in the right place as time goes on. It is such a mental battle and I’m really glad they recognize that!

  2. Gemma at 6:07 pm

    This is not to put anyone off but I’m afraid it certainly does happen. My surgery was 6 months ago and over the 1st month I lost 6kg. Since then I have gained it back and am now eating (!) into the 30kg I had lost prior to surgery. I’ve felt hunger from the very start and can tolerate any foods in quite large quantities as long as it isn’t dense protein ie what I’m SUPPOSED to be eating. I agree that if you follow all the rules exactly as instructed it will work beautifully but I have a rebellious streak and I haven’t been able to do it. I believe a change in absorption of my antidepressant medication may have caused a huge drop in mood for a few months that’s only just coming right and know I’ve missed that supposedly ‘magical’ first 6 months. I now believe I should have chosen a bypass rather than sleeve so as to make sugar and fat harder to tolerate as now I find myself eating junk food because it’s easy to fit a lot in (ie more chewing pleasure) – something that in the past I never did. I’m working on it through OA and counselling but for me, the surgery sort of triggered a return of my teenage disordered eating and just messed with my head. I don’t regret it and think I can still make it work for me, but this isn’t exactly where I expected to be at this point.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:16 am

      I’m really sorry to hear your surgery hasn’t worked out for you the way you were expecting it. The mind side of what happens after surgery can’t be underestimated and it sucks that it’s brought back old disordered eating habits. I’m glad to hear you’re working with the right people to get through this. Keep going and working hard and I’m sure you will manage to turn it around.

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