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The experience of having weight loss surgery is like nothing else you have or will ever do in life. There are a million and one different reasons and circumstances that bring each of us to this point where we decide that weight loss surgery is the best option. All of our experiences going through weight loss surgery will be unique to each of us but there’s a lot of common experience and we don’t always talk about it. I’ve put together a list of things that most of us wished we knew, or even just knew to expect, after weight loss surgery.
Here we go:
The first week SUCKS
The first week post-op is really not much fun. You will probably feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. You’ll be sore physically, be going through a big mental adjustment in coming to terms with what’s happened and it’s really common to have a moment of thinking, “What have I done!” The good news is that you will feel slightly better each day, and a few months down the track you won’t even remember how much that first week sucked.
You will lose friends
The enormous transformation you are going through is going to change almost everything in your life. Your relationships with other people are no exception. These are always changing and evolving over time anyway but bariatric surgery is a turbo charged way to find out if a friendship is going to last or not. The upside to this is that you will make new friends too. As your transformation continues and you start to get real and be true to yourself more you will need new friends to go with your new hobbies.
You will still have issues with your body
We should all know by now that having a lower number on the scale does not necessarily make you happier. You hopefully won’t be so caught up with your weight anymore but it will take work to make peace with your new body and accept it for what it is. I have got to a point where I am very comfortable in my own skin and it’s a feeling I’ve never had before but that’s taken a lot of work in my own head to get there. Are there things I would change about my body? Absolutely. Have I made a decision to appreciate how far I’ve come and not let that stuff get me down? Absolutely.
You were inspired to begin this journey but soon, you will be the inspiration
You might know someone who had weight loss surgery and watched them with amazement or you might have found your inspiration online. I think it’s very common for us to have had other people as our major inspiration to start this journey. We kind of need to see it work out well for someone else to decide that we should take that gamble. It won’t be long until you become inspiration for someone else and it’s the most amazing thing ever (fingers crossed they tell you!) Knowing that your actions helped someone else decide to do this for themselves is one of the most satisfying things to happen after weight loss surgery.
You will hit weight loss stalls
I think this is something we all read about beforehand and think, ah that will never happen to me. It can, does and will happen to you at some point and maybe more than once or twice. I frequently see people posting in WLS support groups slightly freaked out that their weight hasn’t shifted in a few weeks and asking if this is it. Stalls are really hard mentally but you have to remember it happens and you just need to stay on track doing the right things and your weight loss will continue.
You will find more joy than you can imagine
While not everything after weight loss surgery is rainbows and butterflies there will be so many moments of pure joy for you. Seeing numbers on the scale that you haven’t seen in years, fitting into a clothing size you never even dreamed that you would fit, getting into a bath and being able to fully submerge your whole body, and so many more things will give you the best feeling. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it’s going to be!
Your new way of eating will feel normal, eventually
The way I have to eat now, high protein, low carb and avoid as much sugar and fat as possible, is second nature to me now. I don’t even really have to think about it in a sense, of course I think about the food I’m eating but it’s not as much mental work anymore because it’s just how things are. I don’t get anxious about menus when I go out, I don’t worry about going to other people’s houses because I know I can make it work. Once you’re out of the puree and soft food stages that’s your normal for life and you well and truly get used to it.
Constipation can be a real problem for some
I’ve never talked about it on my blog because it’s never been an issue I’ve dealt with after surgery but I know for some it’s been a real cause for concern. There are WLS approved ways of dealing with it though so ask in the Facebook groups of it’s something you come up against.
It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done
Weight loss surgery is the opposite from the easy way out to deal with being very overweight. It is no walk in the park, it’s certainly not a silver bullet and it takes a lot of work. The mental transformation alone takes a lot of work that only you can do up inside your own head. You will have hard times for a multitude of reasons but if you’re anything like me it will end up being the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.
You will realise how physically hard it was being so big
I was a reasonably healthy morbidly obese person without any mobility issues. Or so I thought. As I lost weight I began to notice all the ways I would change how I moved or had to compensate for my size because things were difficult. I would bend down to pick something up in a certain way, could not cross my legs while sitting, didn’t like exercise because it was so hard and a number of other things. It was exhausting getting my old body through each day and I will never take for granted how easy that is now, and I totally appreciate it’s probably why I feel like I have so much more energy in a general sense these days.
The one thing I will happily tell everyone about weight loss surgery is that it’s something I don’t regret in the slightest. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I can’t imagine where I and my life would be now if I hadn’t of done it. I knew my weight was holding me back but things have changed more than I dared dream they ever would in the most awesome and positive ways possible. I will always be an advocate for bariatric and weight loss surgery for those who know it’s the right solution for themselves.