If you are considering bariatric surgery, a physical exam will help make sure your body is healthy enough for the procedure. But physical health isn’t the only requirement. Your emotional state is just as vital for a successful surgery and the weight loss to follow.
1. Start with realistic expectations
You won’t wake up thin after bariatric surgery. In fact, you may leave the hospital weighing more because of accumulated fluid. Keep in mind that your surgery is not the immediate answer to weight loss, rather, it’s an internal tool — in the form of a smaller stomach — that will help you on your weight-loss journey.
You can expect to take at least six months to lose half of your excess weight. It will likely take another year for you to achieve your weight loss goal.
Know that your weight loss will be a journey that will take some time and effort. Having a clear idea of the process ahead can help you stay on track and not give up.
2. Don’t try to go it alone
If you are thinking about surgery, it’s important to have support.
Seek out your primary care provider, and also possibly a family member or a friend to help you set long-term goals. Recruit someone to help track your weight-loss milestones and help you stay motivated.
3. Recognize and confront a food addiction
If you have a food addiction, you’ll need to address that before surgery. Having a smaller stomach through bariatric surgery is not going to fill the emotional needs that eating meets.
4. Depression may be an issue for you
Bariatric surgery is about 80 percent effective, but it takes time and focus to keep weight off.
After surgery, your body is recovering and eating is physically restricted. If you suffer from depression, it’s even harder to stay on track, particularly if you struggle with food addiction.
Work with your doctor or a counselor to develop and maintain a positive attitude about the process.
5. Understand the risks of other addictions
Alcohol and tobacco addictions also can undermine your efforts to lose weight — with or without surgery.
Alcohol is high in calories and reduces your inhibitions, which makes you more susceptible to overeating.
Tobacco use increases the risk of surgical complications, respiratory problems and ulcers — patients who return to smoking after surgery can develop a post-surgical stomach irritation or ulcer.