Does weight loss surgery affect your Self-Esteem?


I will start this post by saying that we each have a very different experience in life and our own sense of self-esteem is influenced by so many different things. I’m going to talk about this in the only way I can, from my own life experience.

Being overweight is a huge influencing factor on your self-esteem. I wouldn’t have said prior to surgery that I thought I was lacking much in self-esteem because the way I valued my self-esteem was based on far more than my outwards appearance. My coping mechanism, and I guess my approach to life, when I didn’t have enough self-esteem was ‘fake it till you make it.”

I think one of the biggest emotional factors that determines overall and long-term success post bariatric surgery is self-esteem. I think because my self-esteem was mainly built on other aspects of myself not just my appearance and body shape I haven’t found this aspect of the change too hard. I think there’s one huge way that the change in my self-esteem change can be measured and that’s how many selfies I take (shameless I know) and the fact that I now don’t immediately hate my image in any photo I see of myself.

One important thing about self-esteem that needs to change as your body has a huge change is your own belief of what you deserve. You may have struggled with this in other parts of your life as well as in terms of your weight. I think a really big influencer of self sabotage is your own self-esteem and the belief you hold in terms of what you think you ‘deserve’ and ultimately, this can be one of the determining factors on whether you reach you goal weight or not. This of course translates directly into how easily you will deal with the initial stages of very fast weight loss and maintenance in an emotional way.

I’m going to tell you something you need to hear whether you are starting out or are already going down the road of bariatric surgery to regain your life back. Or you may have another personal goal that you are struggling to reach, whatever you want to achieve you deserve the happiness it will bring. It might be hard and it certainly won’t be easy but I can tell you that it’s so, so worth it. YOU are SO SO worth it. Believe in yourself, your determination and your willingness to make this work and if you have to, remind yourself everyday of what you are going to achieve.

I hated seeing myself in the mirror and avoided photos for years because it would upset and shock me seeing just how big I had become. In the start taking progress photos was done out of pure curiosity and I didn’t even necessarily like those photos much to start with. You don’t know how many times I would make my husband retake them to make them, in my mind anyway, as un-ugly as possible.

It’s a big turning point when you realise your self-esteem has started to change and you actually are starting to like yourself a bit more. I think what goes hand in hand with this is not being so self-conscious ALL THE TIME. I think this shift started happening for me around six months after my gastric bypass surgery and has grown and changed significantly in the time since then too.

While prior to surgery I wouldn’t have said my self-esteem was too closely linked to my weight and appearance because it is based on much, much more than that I do see now just how much it did. It also permeates everything else that your self-esteem is based on and because it is such a huge (sorry such a bad and unintended pun!) weight off my mind it reduces the amount of faking it I have to do to get through life in general.

Is self-esteem something that you have struggled with before or after a huge physical change such as bariatric surgery? Let me know in the comments below if there’s any part of my experience you can identify with.

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There are 10 comments for this article
  1. Emma at 7:46 pm

    so so true Melissa. Wonderful, thought provoking post. I’m seeing and hearing this exact same issue with spy BodyTalk Clients – not all female as well. Thank you will be sharing

  2. Meagan at 7:47 am

    I think a lot of people have self esteem issues regardless of their weight, and it’s so important to work those out – especially if you’re going through a big change (like weight loss). I’ve worked with a number of women who have lost weight … but then realised that they’re still not happy with themselves. Changing how you look is not a magic cure-all for all people! So glad you’re delving into the emotional issues Melissa, this is definitely something that people don’t talk about enough. Keep taking those selfies, girl! xo

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:02 am

      Hey Meagan! Thanks for reading my blog I appreciate it. Self esteem is such a complex topic and it was hard to sum up in a post that wasn’t as long as a book but you’re right we should talk about things like this more because its hard to reach a point of honest self awareness around it and the more we talk about it the easier it will be for people to face. There’s no stopping the selfie train now 😀

  3. Michelle at 11:47 pm

    I really liked this post for not only some vital truths, but for your encouragement too. You seem to have endless ability yo encourage people, and you also have the talent for having people (well I for one lol) believe you x. Your encouragement in this post would have no doubt been an important thing for those thinking/doing of the surgery to read x.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 9:16 am

      Thanks Chelle! I think we all need to be our biggest cheerleaders and if we aren’t able to do that for whatever reason then hopefully the people around us will.

  4. Melissa C at 2:57 pm

    This is an awesome post. Just sat here pondering it for a bit. Makes me think you know, maybe I AM worth getting this done for myself! As a PS… that lippy on you! BOOM! 😀

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 3:54 pm

      I’m glad the main message that I was trying to get across came through. Yes you are worth doing this for and it will be one of the best things you can do for yourself, thank you lippy is my thing now 😀

  5. Carolyn at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for this thought provoking post.
    It is making me think seriously about counselling as I journey down this track to maybe having surgery…
    Love this photo of you!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 3:17 pm

      It’s a good idea to work with a counsellor or someone similar as you go through a bariatric journey. There is a lot mentally to work through and havng help is always going to be better than none. Thank you 😀

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