Are you considering gastric sleeve surgery? You need to keep in mind that before the operation you should prepare yourself mentally. Being emotionally ready will help you a lot and make your recovery process much easier. Keep in mind that your physical, mental, and emotional state is equally important for your healing. There are many steps you can take to prepare yourself before you even start your weight loss journey. In this article, we are going to help you discover them one by one. So, if you are wondering how to mentally prepare for gastric sleeve surgery, let’s have a look!
1- Make yourself your first priority
When it comes to deciding whether to undergo gastric sleeve surgery, the only voice that truly matters is yours. Your family and friends can offer their opinions and support, but at the end of the day, this is your body and your health we’re talking about. It’s important to prioritize your own needs and feelings above all else, and to make a decision that feels right for you. You deserve to feel confident and empowered in this process, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
What you only need to do is to focus on yourself and your mental health. Listen to yourself and understand what you’re feeling.
Make sure you are emotionally ready to take this important step in changing your life for the better. If you don’t feel emotionally ready for the surgery, it may affect your recovery process negatively. Take all the pros and cons into consideration before you make this life-changing decision.
2- Be realistic
You need to keep in mind that every patient is different, so your results may differ from what other people experienced. Don’t compare yourself with anyone. Beware that you and your body are unique.
Your new stomach is just a way to help you on your weight loss journey. It’s a long-term process that will take some time and require your patience. Remember that sleeve gastrectomy is only a starting point of your post-operation journey and it extends beyond your hospital stay. Realistic goals and expectations are going to make the healing process so much easier for you.
3- Find out the main reason for your overeating
Relationship with food is different for every individual. It will be a great help for creating healthy diet habits in the future if you understand your relationship with food better. Remember that seeing the meals as a reward or a punishment would affect your relationship with food in a negative way.
To find the reason lying behind the tendency, it might be a good idea to visit a psychologist. This way you are not left alone with your post-operation recovery stress. Psychologists along with dieticians will guide you. A psychologist will help you find the right path and a dietitian will lead you to it. It’s a good idea to meet a psychologist so that you are not left alone with your post-operation recovery stress.
Meditation is one of the most effective activities, but to get the best results, it’s great that you start it before the surgery. What if you never tried meditation before? Well, there are plenty of free videos online that you can watch and practice on your own. They will definitely help you start!
Meditation affects our overall well-being and has an impact on many somatic symptoms that are related to stress. It will help you relax, calm down and ease your nerves so you can start your new healthy habits after your weight loss surgery. Meditating is also going to help you with your self-control and concentration.
5- Find ways other than eating to cope with stress
Choose an exercise plan that is right for you and your lifestyle. If you are not currently exercising, start with small steps and create your own training routine. The physical activity that you choose for yourself should be appropriate to your fitness level. You can go for a walk or climb the stairs at home, maybe ride a stationary bike while watching TV. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy doing and practice consistently.
6- Plan & implement
Lifestyle changes will have a major effect on your long-term success after the surgery. Exercises and a healthy diet are crucial in your weight loss journey. We recommend you plan your daily physical and dietary activities some weeks before surgery. This way you will be able to implement new healthy habits into your daily routine much easier after your gastric sleeve operation.
Keeping a record of your food and exercise routine can help you understand your habits better and identify your needs properly. This will make it easier to help you achieve your goals. There are many apps on mobiles that can help you with this.
You can also search for your new diet recipes and exercise videos online. Don’t hang back from trying new things. This is going to be good preparation before the surgery and will definitely give you motivation during your weight loss journey! To get even more motivation though, not only plan and implement but also set your milestones.
7- Set milestones and reward yourself
Setting achievable milestones will increase your dopamine level. Dopamine affects well-being, energy, willingness to act, and overall motivation. It is all related to the reward system of your brain. The level of dopamine increases when we are waiting for an event that gives us pleasure, for example, a favorite form of relaxation or entertainment. (2)
For instance, have daily plans for your meals and activities, and each night reflect on what you did that day. If you reached your little milestones, the reward will come back to you as an increased dopamine level and good results.
8- Witness other people's success stories
Generally speaking, seeing people face to face rather than on-screen can be more convincing and therefore helpful. That’s why you can find a supportive group of people who are undergoing the same procedure. Gastric sleeve support groups may be a really useful source of information and a great help! You can attend seminars or online discussions about weight loss surgery and connect with a gastric sleeve community. This will have a beneficial effect both before and after the surgery.
What about gastric sleeve success stories of other patients? Whenever you lose your motivation, you may watch a few YouTube videos about gastric sleeve patient stories. Remember you can follow social media, attend support group meetings, join Facebook groups, and ask your questions to other patients. Online communities are going to show you how to mentally prepare for gastric sleeve surgery because people there will share their honest opinions.
(1) Flores CA. Psychological assessment for bariatric surgery: current practices. Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2014;27 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):59-62. doi: 10.1590/s0102-6720201400s100015. PMID: 25409969; PMCID: PMC4743522. Link
(2) Lerner TN, Holloway AL, Seiler JL. Dopamine, Updated: Reward Prediction Error and Beyond. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2021 Apr;67:123-130. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2020.10.012. Epub 2020 Nov 14. PMID: 33197709; PMCID: PMC8116345. Link