Happiness After Gastric Bypass Surgery

I’ve had a couple of interactions this week that have stuck around in my mind and have led to this post. As you can tell from my blog I’m pretty open about my decision to have weight loss surgery and don’t mind discussing it with pretty much anyone. There’s still so many people who don’t know much about bariatric surgery and I find it interesting to discuss the things that come up like happiness after gastric bypass surgery.

It started with a comment on my self-esteem post and the lovely Meagan from This is Meagan Kerr who commented that changing your weight is not a magic cure-all for everyone in terms of their self-esteem levels which is very true. This was further reinforced when the next day, in a conversation with someone I had just met for the first time, I was asked if losing all this weight had made me, “So much happier?” And the question was asked like there was only one obvious, enthusiastic answer.

In trying to articulate a reply in that conversation I don’t think I did a very good job and it has got me to thinking the last few days. I’m pretty sure the short answer to the, are you SO much happier question, in short, is “No.” I would be lying if I didn’t say that losing 70 kilos has made me happier about some aspects of my life but I don’t think it’s necessarily in the way people tend to assume.

First and foremost, I did this for my health, to give myself back some life expectancy and hopefully have a much healthier run through life. Am I happy that I’ve significantly reduced risk factors for every health problem that’s exacerbated or caused by being obese? Heck Yes. Am I happy that I don’t have to have more babies being morbidly obese? Heck Yes. Am I happy I can do whatever exercise I want to and instinctively know my body is much stronger and capable than it was before? Heck Yes. Were these the main drivers in my decision to have gastric bypass surgery? Yes.

Am I happy I don’t stand out in a crowd for being the biggest? Yes. Am I happy that I can comfortably fit into seats be it chairs with arms, in cinemas and on public transport and planes? Yes. There are too many little things that I don’t even think or worry about now and am I happy it’s removed some worry and anxiety? Yes. Is it amazing being able to walk into any clothing store and buy things off the rack that I like in a normal size? Yes. Were these the main reasons why I chose to have surgery? Nope, but they are all pretty awesome outcomes that I enjoy taking advantage of now.

I was pretty happy with my life in general before my gastric bypass surgery. I was (and still am) happily married. I have a beautiful son. I have a great family and really great supportive friends. I think my natural disposition helps in that respect because if you haven’t already noticed I tend to have a pretty positive and happy outlook to life. I think to a certain point you can choose to be happy and that I certainly do!

I’m happy I made the hard and confronting decision to have gastric bypass surgery and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. But am I SO much happier? No, I really don’t think so. I don’t believe weight loss surgery is at all magic bullet in making life better and it won’t solve all of your problems. Like any life changing decision there will be pros and there will be cons.

If you are considering any kind of weight loss surgery be it gastric bypass or otherwise if you have areas in your life that aren’t good and need some work then this is not going to fix them. It will improve lots of things and should make life easier in many respects but it won’t fix everything, that I can promise you. I think it’s natural for us all to think things like, “If I was smaller, skinnier, prettier, whatever else than we perceive ourselves not to be, then my life would be so much better, easier, fixed et cetera.”

With some issues in life, weight loss surgery can exacerbate any underlying problems as the process around bariatric surgery can be quite self involved and stressful and the resulting pressure it creates can make things harder or push them to breaking point. It’s quite common for relationships to break up after one partner has weight loss surgery. It can quite dramatically change the dynamics, especially in close relationships and if things weren’t great to start with you can just be adding fuel to the fire.

What I also find interesting is that my husband also gets asked if he’s “happy” that I’ve lost so much weight. From a health perspective he is, especially with the heart attack risk in my family being quite high it was something that played on his mind. People always assume he must be so happy to have, and I quote, “A skinny new wife,” but seriously if that’s what he was most happy about then he probably absolutely wouldn’t still be my husband.

I guess I’m lucky that I was pretty happy before my surgery and while my life has improved in so many ways that it’s hard to articulate just how much, I still have the same happy and positive outlook on life. So, yes of course I’m happy but not SO much happier if you know what I mean.

Let me know if you can at all relate to this or if I’m talking gobbledegook. Comment below and let me know what your expectations are if you’re pre-op or if you’re post-op let me know how you think your happiness levels have changed since having your surgery.

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There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Christine Gillies at 8:18 pm

    Mel, so we’ll put. This is what I have trouble portraying to folk too. That yr happiness comes from within. You are the same person you were before you lost weight except now you have a better quality of life re health and obviously all the little things you mentioned. The hardest thing I found having been both slim and big is that people who don’t know you quite so well treat you differently. I love what you have written, I’ve never been able to put that feeling into words as you have.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:21 pm

      Thank you Chrissy! I was so unsure if I should post this or not because I didn’t want it to come across in the wrong way but I think I managed to articulate it how it’s meant. I agree it astounds how differently I get treated now it shows how much people judge you bases on your looks. Thanks for reading my blog I really appreciate it!

  2. Julie at 9:22 am

    Thanks Melissa for that reading.Yes I do know what you are meaning.I had my operation 5 years ago.Yes I am thinner,yes I am healthier but happier no.I feel as though I have lost part of my happy self.I am not that happy fun person anymore.Me and my friends want the ol Julie back

  3. Carolyn at 4:17 pm

    Fantastic blog!
    A question about personality changes…..I have had a few people comment on people they know have had this surgery and are now very different. ..do not seem happy.
    Do you think it may be because people wore masks before? Not their true selfs? Happy, jolly person to make people not judge them on their size?
    I have worn masks….and may still do….makes me wonder…will the real me stand up!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 5:02 pm

      You do change a bit going through it but unless you know them very well I wouldn’t say they are unhappy. The scrutiny other people put on you going through this is rough at times and can find it hard when someone starts living their life for them if you know what I mean. I think doing something like this enables you to really be yourself and other people can get a bit annoyed about that because it doesn’t serve them anymore.

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