Weight Loss Surgery: Expectations Vs. Reality

It’s easy to see the success stories and think that bariatric surgery will solve all your weight loss problems, but the reality is there will still be challenges. Weight loss surgery is intended to support important lifestyle changes, and that takes effort.

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Before opting for weight loss surgery, you’ll need to be certain that the benefits outweigh the costs. Some of the most common benefits include the following.

Accelerated Weight Loss

Most people who undergo bariatric surgery can expect to lose weight at a very rapid pace starting out. Gastric bypass, for instance, has been shown to have dramatic results, with patients losing about 65% of their weight on average. In addition, 85% of patients manage to maintain half of their initial weight loss, so it can be highly effective.

Remission of Comorbid Conditions

Obesity comes with a wide range of comorbid conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, and so on. Losing that excess weight can help to alleviate these conditions.

Better Mood

Weight and mood are often linked, with mood changes and stress feeding into overeating and other habits that lead to weight gain. Gaining weight, in turn, could negatively impact mood, creating a cycle that’s hard to escape. As you begin to lose weight and establish healthy habits, you can break that cycle.

Healthier Lifestyle

Finally, bariatric surgery is intended to support a healthy lifestyle. Everything from the restrictions on what you can digest to the limitations on portion sizes help to reinforce a healthy diet. When supplemented with exercise and effective support from peers and professionals, it can help you improve your way of life.

What to Expect After Weight Loss Surgery

Given that weight loss surgery is best used as a tool to improve your lifestyle, it’s important to be aware of the challenges you will likely face after surgery. That way, you can make sure your expectations are realistic.

Success Isn’t Automatic

Naturally, weight loss surgery isn’t going to automatically cure obesity. It definitely helps, but you need to put in the effort to improve your diet, exercise more, and rework your relationship with food. That effort needs to be consistent—remember, the goal is to create lasting changes that support a healthy weight, not just shed pounds.

There Are Mental and Physical Components

People often fixate on the physical aspects of obesity and weight loss, but there’s a psychological component as well. The mental and emotional reasons for unhealthy habits must be addressed in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, they’re likely to persist after surgery.

Typically, your surgeon will make sure you’re assessed for the emotional and mental factors of your weight in order to make sure you get the support you need post operation.

It Will Be a Bumpy Ride

Finally, progress isn’t always going to be constant. Weight loss commonly stalls out after several months, and that can be discouraging. However, it’s important to remember that this is a natural part of losing weight. It will take persistence to get through, so don’t give up!

Setting Yourself Up for Success After Bariatric Surgery

When it comes to setting yourself up for success after weight loss surgery, these pointers can help.

Manage Your Expectations

First, manage your expectations. Be aware of the challenges, but also be mindful of the potential for success you’ll have. Talk to others who have been through it as well as an experienced surgeon.

Plan on Lifestyle Changes

Second, plan on lifestyle changes. Be ready to change your whole life around, not just your weight. Consider what a healthy life will look like for you and find ways to visualize it. Then, make concrete plans to change.

Create Healthy Habits

Healthy habits are the core of a healthy lifestyle. Diet, exercise, eating habits, stress management techniques, and more are all components of not only losing weight, but keeping the pounds off long-term.

Surround Yourself with Allies

Finally, it’s important to surround yourself with allies who will support you as you strive to reach your goal weight. Friends and family can help, as can others who have undergone weight loss surgery themselves. Your surgeon can connect you with resources you need in order to progress on your journey, including support groups, dietitians, psychiatrists, and more.

To find out how a bariatric surgeon can help you, learn more about Dr. Malladi and how her practice helps people reach their goals.