Season 2 of The Big Ward, oh how I waited…
One of the main reasons I started my blog and continue to blog about my journey after weight loss surgery is to give a real perspective of what life is like long-term afterwards. I thought I might change my approach and be a bit more brutally honest for this post and cover the harsh reality of life after weight loss surgery. Losing 70kg has been incredible for me but it certainly isn’t all rainbows and unicorns for the rest of your life!
You will still focus on food.
I had a long honeymoon period after my gastric bypass and I really thought for a while there that I was free from obsessing over and thinking about food. It’s come to dawn on my lately that I still have to think about it a lot of the time and while it’s more to do with planning and making sure I get my protein in it still does take up a lot of space in my head. You do get better at knowing approximately if you’ve had enough protein but it’s a daily consideration that I never had before surgery. I spend far more time on food prep each week than I ever did before. Mainly because I prepping different things for different people in my family but it does add to the load.
You will still worry about your weight.
The fear of gaining all of the weight you lost will be something you worry about for the rest of your days. Initially losing weight quickly and it happening seemingly regardless of what you do seems too good to be true. After a couple of years when the true work of maintaining your weight becomes apparent you do worry about every little fluctuation and fear of failure grows as the time passes to some degree. I’ve gone from weighing myself daily to weekly to try and reduce the anxiety it causes.
Going out/to functions/other people’s houses to eat can be hard and stressful.
If you have time to research you can usually pick somewhere to go out to eat where you will be able to order something suitable for you. Catered functions are hard, especially if there’s only canapés because you don’t have any other options! Visiting other people can be awkward because I’ve found no matter how many times you tell some people your dietary restrictions they still don’t quite get it and I hate feeling rude not eating much at all, especially if they went to some effort to try and do something suitable just for you.
You can’t use food to lean on like you used to and sometimes it sucks.
The times I miss being able to use food as a crutch are when I’m sick (like cold/flu sick), when I’m really stressed and when things are really shitty and I just need something to take my mind off things and comfort me. When I’m really stressed I sometimes curse myself for putting myself in the position where I can’t go and eat whatever I want to make me feel better. Logically I now know that it actually doesn’t make much difference what I eat in that situation but when you’re caught up in the moment it’s hard to see that sometimes. When I’m sick and just want some comfort food it makes me feel more sorry for myself that I don’t have a quick fix like I used to.
The hard realisation that the surgery is JUST a tool.
If your surgical team is at all awesome they would have told you until they were blue in the face that your surgery is just a tool and it is definitely not a silver bullet. It helps and it greatly improves your chances of success but if you don’t use it right it’s not going to work. I think it’s part of the human condition that we all think we are the one that will be different. The old, ‘that won’t happen to me,’ kicks in and we start to think we have a perception of how it’s going to turn out for us. It was about the time that my weight started creeping over my goal weight after dropping to my lowest low that I started to figure this out for real. Bariatric surgery, of any kind, is work. You need to work to do your absolute best and get as much weight as possible off in the first 12 months and then work to maintain the good habits you have built during that time so that you maintain your weight at a good maintenance point long-term.
You won’t end up with a banging body.
Unless you have a heap of money to invest in plastic surgery afterwards unfortunately it’s very unlikely you’re going to end up with your dream body after losing a large amount of weight. You need to enter this with realistic expectations and not get too hung up on what you think your body is going to look life after. This aspect is one you really can’t predict and to avoid being bitterly disappointed it’s so important not to pin too many hopes on what you hope is going to happen. You will become more comfortable in your new body over time but it can take acceptance on your part to be happy with it.
Vitamins are absolutely non-negotiable.
If you can’t commit to the cost and routine of having to take multivitamins every single day for the rest of your life, then going ahead and having surgery would be very irresponsible. Yes, taking vitamins twice a day, every day gets a bit tedious but they are absolutely essential after bariatric surgery and it’s a fast way to get yourself six feet under if you don’t. Taking a couple of vitamins a day is far better than the many pills some people have to take every day prior to surgery so it’s not such a bad compromise.
All of this aside, bariatric surgery is still hands down the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. While this post outlines some of the harsh realities of life after weight loss surgery I still wouldn’t change it for the world. I try to be generally quite positive here on my blog in regards to weight loss surgery because if you’re the right kind of person to have it I want to be the best advocate I can be for the amazing outcomes you can have and I have achieved. In saying that though I don’t want to lead anyone down the garden path and give a falsely positive representation of life afterwards because that wouldn’t be fair to anyone.
Can you think of any particular harsh reality that you have to live with after bariatric surgery that I haven’t covered here? Comment below and let me know xx
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