One of the side effects that happens to many people…
The process of weight loss surgery is all consuming. It takes up so much space in your life, head and body that you start to wonder if it will ever not be at the front of your mind. I remember my dietician asking me, maybe not even a year out from surgery, if I ever forget that I had had weight loss surgery. I said a resounding, “No!” And, at that point, honestly couldn’t have imagined ever getting to a point where that would be true.
Life carries on, things change and life goes somewhat back to normal after a while though. Now, three years out from my surgery, I have to say sometimes I forget that I’m not a normal person with no restrictions on what I can put in my body. Now I have to make this clear, it’s not like I forget for a week at a time and have amnesia around it, that would be silly. It’s more in that sometimes I forget and order a muffin with my coffee or I go out to eat, order something great and forget I’m not going to be able to eat even half of it.
It took me about 10 months to get through the pre-op stuff from when I first got referred for weight loss surgery to getting a surgery date. It consumed my thinking for so much of this time that internally at least was focused on getting this outcome. Then when the time comes there’s so much to learn and so much you need to do to get through the pre-op diet and dietary stages afterwards that food and what you can eat, your weight loss, your ever shrinking dress size and so many of the other related things that happen at that time overtake you.
Then, eventually, the weight loss stops, your weight stabilises, you might gain a little bit back and you find yourself not having to focus on it all the time. Your rituals around food are well established, you know what you need to do day to day and you just carry on with life. It’s something you think about at times, you can’t ignore the fact you had weight loss surgery, but it’s just part of life for you now.
My weight loss surgery is not my biggest focus anymore and over time it has become a part of the fabric to who I am. It informs the person I have become at this point in my life and gives me so much context and life experience to draw from but I don’t think it’s the most interesting thing about me anymore. Life has gone back to normal for me now, in almost every sense. Writing this has made me realise just how much progress I have made since my surgery, far more of it is in the mental/psychological sense than the amount of physical progress I have made.
Life long-term after weight loss surgery is just that, life. Things are different, some things will never be the same, but day-to-day you just get on with living. Isn’t that the best outcome though? I think getting to this point, without even realising it before I sat down to write this post, is what my initial end goal should have looked like.
I think about and have to monitor my weight, that will never stop. I plan and prep food in advance as much as I can to make eating the best things for my body the easy choice to make. I exercise and am far more active than I ever was because I actually enjoy it and love how it makes my body feel, this still surprises me and blows my mind on a regular basis.
Life long-term will be different for all of us but I really believe it will be what you make it for yourself. Allow yourself time to adjust to the new way you will live your life. Make sure you embed new behaviours and routines deeply into your daily life. Make the right choices most of the time, when you make a good choice you’re choosing you and putting yourself first. Finally, allow yourself room to grow. You will never be quite the same as you were before weight loss surgery and that can be a really incredible thing.