Preparing Your Mindset for Weight Loss Surgery
You might know the physical qualifications for bariatric surgery, but do you know how to mentally prepare for gastric sleeve surgery? You can educate yourself and learn more about the procedure. The more you know, the less stressed you will be. But educating yourself is not the only way to better readiness. You must have realistic expectations and one way to become ready for those expectations is meditation. You should also change your mindset and make yourself your own peace of mind your first priority. In this article, I’ll explain even more ways on how to prepare mentally for bariatric surgery.
1- Make Yourself Your First Priority
During the consultation and follow-up sessions, I see a lot of patients focusing on the effects of their surgery on their family members more than on themselves. As a family man, I understand the commitment of one to the health and calmness of their families. But the fact is that unless you are healthy and happy, there is no way you can contribute to the happiness of your family.
Beware that after surgery might affect you psychologically. There will be times when you may regret your decision, or experience mood swings or even depression. How you handle those moments matters significantly. So, imagine you’re having one of those times, and a loved one needs to talk to you about a serious matter. Don’t be afraid they will be upset if you tell them the truth. Just say that you need to take some time to yourself and will be back to them when you feel better. They love you, so they will definitely understand. And even if they don’t, no one wants to complain to someone who is already feeling down.
If you’re mentally not ready to be your life’s first priority, try to be before surgery. Otherwise, everything will be even harder.
2- Be realistic
In my years of a bariatric surgeon, I’ve seen many people looking for an easy, fast way to lose weight and never to gain it back again. The sad news is, that solution does not exist! Obesity surgery needs hard work, especially the more invasive ones like gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. You have to eliminate all your unhealthy habits and prepare yourself for an all-healthy lifestyle. You should eliminate or at least minimize smoking or drinking, and many other things. Are you ready to make such a sacrifice?
The other fact is that each procedure type brings about different amounts of weight loss. For instance, the loss of weight after gastric balloon treatment is not comparable to gastric sleeve surgery and will definitely return if you quit your healthy habits once the balloon is out of your stomach.
Gastric sleeve results in losing almost 70% of your excess weight. But the pace of your weight loss might differ from the one of another patient. So, don’t compare yourself to others. If you’re expecting to undergo exactly what another patient did, you’re being unrealistic. Just keep following the instructions prescribed by your doctor and just look on your own path, not anybody else’s.
3- Find Out the Main Reason for Your Overeating
To solve a problem permanently, you need to address it correctly. Therefore, you need to find the root of your overeating so that you can deal with your new eating habits with less difficulty.
Here’s an example; if eating is associated with stress for you, then you have to work on your stress level and try to control that. Otherwise, still, there is a noticeable annoying barrier in your life that even if does not direct you to eat, disrupts your ease of mind, and you don’t want that in your post-op life.
To find the reason, it is better to visit a psychiatrist.
Meditation is one of the most effective activities you can add up to your post-op life. It helps you stay aware of the reasons you went for surgery, thus staying motivated to continue your healthy habits. But to get the best results, I recommend that you start before the surgery. If you’ve never tried meditation and don’t know how to start, there are plenty of free videos online that you can watch and practice.
5- Plan and Implement
All the bariatric resources and surgeons talk about the necessity of fundamental changes in your eating habits and exercise plan after the surgery. This is not a destructive change at all, but thinking of it might cause frustration because you’ll think “what if I can’t do this?”
To prevent this discontent and lessen your anxiety, you can plan how to make these changes. Mostly your diet should consist of small portions of protein-based food and also enough liquids. You can ask your doctor for more recommendations and try your new eating habits before the surgery starts.
Also, you should increase your activity gradually. Start by taking short walks. You can combine this and the previous idea. Take a walk in nature and meditate on your new journey and how it will make your life more enjoyable.
6- Find Ways Other than Eating to Cope with Stress
I’ve got a few suggestions. First, you can find a supportive group of people who are undergoing the same procedure. You can attend seminars or online discussions about weight loss surgery and connect with other bariatric patients. This is both beneficial before and after the surgery.
The other influential solution is having regular sessions with a consultant or psychiatrist. Believe me when I tell you I’ve seen major differences between patients who got help from professionals and those who did not.
On the whole, spend time with people who love you and surround yourself with positivity. If anyone gives you any bad vibes if you cannot eliminate them from your life permanently, at least do it for a short time.
7- Set Milestones and Reward Yourself
This final recommendation is mostly for your post-operation life when you are struggling with your new life and can cheer you up when setting minor milestones and show self-appreciation when they’re done. Remember, what you are going to do is a big step and you’ve shown great bravery so far.
Don’t expect yourself to become a new person overnight. Instead, set milestones and reward yourself for them. For instance, have daily plans for your meals and activities, and each night reflect on what you’ve done that day. If you’ve reached the little milestones in your daily plans, reward yourself with something the next day. And if you excel all the days of a week, reward yourself with something even greater at the end of the week.
Post-op life is not easy, but so is life with obesity. Constantly think about your reasons for surgery and how your efforts for weight loss have been fruitless so far. This is a big step, but the final one; the one that will help you build a better life. Reflect on your life when you’ve lost weight and are in better health and shape so that you can be prepared mentally 🙂