Extreme Makeover: How To Meet Your Long-Term Weight Loss Goals With Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery may seem extreme, but it actually saves lives. Beyond the operating room, though, you, the patient, also have an extreme amount of responsibility, to ensure the surgery is a long-term success. Despite the encouraging news with adjustable gastric band, vertical sleeve gastrectomy and other bariatric procedures, it's ultimately up to you to make this extreme makeover work. Here's how:
Understand The Hormonal Changes You'll Experience
Depending on the type of bariatric surgery you have, your hormone production could undergo significant changes. Reducing stomach size, altering the flow of food through the digestive tract and disrupting the rate of nutrient absorption can all have a major impact on hormonal regulation. Your energy, appetite and even the need for medications may change, following surgery. For example, existing thyroid conditions may dramatically improve following significant weight loss (through surgery or other means), leading to a decreased need for thyroid medicine.
When your hormones change, everything usually changes, so ask your surgeon or primary physician how your hormonal balance may differ in the future. Being aware of the potential changes will help you prepare for them and, thus, long-term success.
Know That Eating Is A Also A Habit
Beyond the hormonal drive drawing you closer to the refrigerator and other sources of snacks, is the habit of eating itself. While the surgery may reduce or eliminate much of your hormone-driven hunger, it won't break your bad habits, at least not right away. Since you want to keep from gaining weight from the start, you may need to address these habits with a professional, especially if you're drawn to food as a means of self-medicating from too much stress, anxiety or other serious factor.
A therapist helps you identify your eating triggers, then resolve the underlying problems through other measures, such as meditation, breathing exercises and even cognitive therapy. You don't want to risk losing everything, by gaining all the weight back, so attack the habits that cause you to eat preemptively, as if your life depended on it, because it just might.
Realize The Influence Of Other People
While your friends and family care about you, they may not realize how poorly they can influence you, at times. If, for example, you're constantly offered goodies when you visit someone's house or people are always inviting you out for pizza and other unhealthy choices, you have to draw the line. Set firm rules that discourage anyone from tempting you and be aware of your own ability to resist, as it will fluctuate under different circumstances. You want to be able to enjoy the pleasure of their company, only without the food bonding rituals.
Face The Morbid Dangers Of Obesity
Being obese may make you feel self-conscious, and if you went through childhood being overweight, you likely were teased about it, too. Beyond the personal and social issues of obesity, there are real and morbid dangers, from heart disease to diabetes and a host of other life-threatening complications in between. Being severely overweight can take years off your life, along with decreasing the quality of life you lead, like having weight-related bone and joint pain, making movement difficult, or breathing impairments, which mean everything you do is hard. When you realize what's at stake with the results of your surgery, you should feel strong motivation to stick to your program and strive for long, long-term success.