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Mentally preparing yourself for weight loss surgery is something that is really necessary but is incredibly hard to do. How do you know what’s going to happen and how you are going to react? There’s absolutely no way to know beforehand. If you don’t do anything before surgery to try and ready yourself it’s going to be much harder after surgery, so in this regard doing something, anything is infinitely better than doing nothing.
I came up with a perfect analogy the other day and I’d like to share it with you. Unfortunately, if you haven’t been lucky/crazy/blessed enough to have kids this isn’t going to be much help. Going through the weight loss surgery process is much like preparing yourself for the arrival of your first baby. You read and research as much as you possibly can beforehand, so many people give you advice and you get to a point where you really truly believe that you know exactly what’s coming. Then it happens and you have the biggest ‘what the actual f*%&’ moment and it dawns on you the actual magnitude of what everyone was trying to tell you.
I really truly believe that while there’s no way you can be perfectly prepared for a journey like this there are some specific things you can do to make the transition easier and get yourself in a good space mentally for what’s coming. I thought I’d list some specific things I’m able to articulate to help you get a head start if you’re coming up to or thinking about pursuing bariatric surgery.
Time is so beneficial.
One thing that drove me crazy to begin with was just how long it took me to get through the public system from when I was referred to when I finally ended up having my surgery. In hindsight, now I can see exactly how valuable that time was it really let me come to terms with what I was giving up and the changes I was going to need to make to my lifestyle permanently. If you can afford to go privately and the process seems to be quite fast then don’t hesitate to do all of the initial consultations and then ask for a few months to really think it over. Even if you don’t feel like you need it, I still highly recommend you take that time.
You need to figure out your habits and triggers.
Almost everyone I know who has had weight loss surgery has used food like they would a drug. You can be fine and in control for a while but then something really hard and stressful comes along so your eating habits go out the window and you abuse food for a while. This is just not going to fly after surgery so you need to figure out in the months leading up what the things are that set you off and what are the best ways to identify it’s happening and then find ways you can avoid it happening to begin with.
Start getting more introspective and honest with yourself.
This is related to the point I made directly above. If you do not take the time to watch your own behaviour in relation to food, get comfortable with thinking about what you could have done better and starting to get really honest with yourself then things are going to puzzle you afterwards. Being honest with yourself is so crucial and important because it gives you a better perspective and lets you admit to others, if necessary, when things aren’t going as planned.
Make an effort to totally drop the absolute no-no’s before surgery.
I had a horrendous Red Bull and V energy drink habit before my surgery. I knew there was no way my body would cope with them after surgery so to make it easier on myself I totally removed them from my diet beforehand. I needed to so I met the initial surgery goal my team set for me, once I was okay with that I dropped all soft drinks completely. The same goes for any vices that you currently have that are on the ‘No’ list post-op.
One huge thing I have learnt after my gastric bypass is just how pervasive habits are and just how easy it is to create new bad ones when your focus shifts a bit from where it should be. Do you get cravings when you’re tired? Do you under eat throughout the day and then go totally overboard at night-time? This is the stuff you need to look inwardly, recognise and be very honest with yourself about because it will give you the best chance at success after surgery.
Take the time to think, get right up in your own head and make yourself pay attention to what’s going on up there. We are so good at being our own worst enemies and the amount of time and effort to get to know yourself and take your time to recognise your habits that aren’t helpful and build some new strategies to deal with them. The more you do this, and time can often be the most influential factor here, the better you’re going to cope with the magnitude of the changes after surgery.
If you have other factors and things going on in your life that complicates the mental and emotional side of the journey it’s a good idea to make sure, if it’s at all possible, to have extra support already set up and available to you after surgery. It’s not included in the public system (that I know of) but if you feel you would benefit from talking to a counsellor or psychologist then please make sure you do. Give yourself the best chance of getting amazing results, you’re worth it!
Are you going to get busy mentally preparing yourself for weight loss surgery? Can you think of anything I missed or anything you did in particular to prepare yourself mentally for bariatric surgery? Comment below and share it with us all because we’re all in this together and by sharing our tips and tricks we make it easier for everyone 😀
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