So much of the personal journey many of us will…
One thing we all possess to some degree or another is influence. It’s not something that can be measured and the affect it has on others varies from time to time. One outcome you shouldn’t underestimate after having bariatric surgery and losing lots of weight is the amount of positive influence you can have on your nearest and dearest, and their motivation to copy your healthy habits in an effort to change their health for the better.
For everyone who has bariatric surgery there are some lifestyle changes that need to happen. Your dietary habits need to change considerably to fit the new way of eating required afterwards. For the first 6-12 months after surgery the kinds of things you eat are restricted to some degree and because you eat so little it does not go unnoticed by others. There tends to be a huge change in the amount of activity and exercise you do because as you lose weight it becomes so much easier to move around and exercise and it feels good to be able to use your body to its full potential again.
There are two main ways you can influence people after and the first is a direct influence and this may not even be a conscious exertion of influence all the time either. If you are responsible for making sure the rest of your family are fed (as I am) you will probably notice that over time the things you decide to give your family at mealtimes will change. For me this is out of pure laziness. I want to make one meal, I don’t have the time or patience to be making multiple things for different people, so meals are geared towards things that are suitable for me to eat.
Then there’s indirect influence. This is the most powerful one I think because we’re doing it without even realising it and that’s pretty freaking special. One of the biggest ways I have started to influence others is through the amount of activity and exercise I do now. This thrills me to no end and you may have seen my recent post where my son came for a run with me for the first time ever because he wants to do what Mummy is doing!
It’s also starting to rub off on my husband and he has started pacing around the little route I have in my house that I go around when I want to get my steps up but can’t get outside for a walk! (This may or may not have something to do with his new Apple Watch and him trying to close the activity rings but I’m going to take the credit!) This is another thing I never ever thought I’d see happen. I even get comments on my social media posts, particularly on Instagram, where people say they are inspired to do a bit more, reach their step goal or go for a run seeing the things I’ve been up to activity wise!
We all have different reasons and catalyst events that have led us down the road of bariatric surgery and for me some of things were complete and utter exhaustion of fighting with my weight for what was my whole life at that point. I felt a desperation to finally get on top of my weight problem and actually, for once, have a shot at being able to maintain it. What I saw as a move of desperation is often seen by others as being brave. This is an important point to remember because not everyone views us as we do ourselves.
I’m pretty sure most people who have been through bariatric surgery and have lost a large amount of weight have been called an inspiration at some point by someone else, it takes you by surprise and floors you the first few times someone utters that word to you. I still get taken aback by it now and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told I’m an inspiration to someone else. When you hear this it’s the biggest compliment and shows you just how highly someone thinks of you. Treasure it and take it as confirmation that you have influence far more than you know or can recognise yourself.
The physical changes after bariatric surgery and fast and impressive. This gets people interested in what you’re doing and even if they haven’t had bariatric surgery they will try and figure out if any of the things you are doing may be appropriate for them to try too. I’ve been really surprised how many non weight loss surgery people read my blog and find useful tips! When you’re considering having some type of bariatric surgery you don’t really think about the positive effects it may have on the people around you but it’s really worth being aware of, you are more influential than you know!
You having surgery and changing your life and health for the better is the most obvious benefit of having weight loss surgery to begin with. One of the main reasons I wanted to have gastric bypass and make such huge changes was to be a good example for my son and family. It’s incredibly affirming when this starts to happen and you begin to realise the true magnitude of this gift you have given and not only to yourself. I’ve also seen some of my post-op friends have the same effect on their kids with them wanting to exercise with mum or dad and I know of one whose son nagged for a Fitbit so he could compete with mum and try and do more steps each day than she was!
It really is incredible how much things change after surgery and when you start noticing the people around you change their habits for the better, and start to make some great progress with their health and wellbeing, is the point when you realise that your decision that you made for yourself was absolutely priceless! Have you noticed someone around you change their habits after your bariatric surgery to be more in line with your new, healthier habits? Comment below and let me know I’d love to see what you’ve noticed.