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The Emotional Side of Bariatric Surgery – Bariatric Edition

Navigating the Journey


Bariatric surgery is a life-changing decision that goes beyond just physical transformation. It also involves a profound emotional journey. Let’s explore the emotional aspects of bariatric surgery with suggestions on how to navigate this transformative process.


The Decision

The decision to pursue bariatric surgery is not one that is taken lightly. It often stems from a deep well of emotions – a desire for improved health, increased confidence, and a better quality of life. This journey begins with a courageous decision, driven by the hope for a healthier future.


Pre-Surgery Emotions

As the surgery date approaches, a mix of emotions washes over individuals. There’s excitement about the positive changes that lie ahead, but there can also be anxiety and fear of the unknown. It’s during this phase that emotional support from friends, family, or support groups becomes invaluable. The reassurance and understanding of others who have walked this path are like a comforting hand on your shoulder.


The Surgery Day

The day of surgery can be emotionally intense. The anticipation, the sterile surroundings, and the realization that this is the moment of transformation can trigger a whirlwind of emotions. It’s here that healthcare providers play a vital role, offering both medical expertise and the human touch to ease anxieties and provide guidance.


Post-Surgery Adjustments

Following bariatric surgery, individuals often experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Physical discomfort and adjusting to new eating habits can be challenging. It’s important to remember that this journey is a process, and patience and self-compassion are essential. Every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory.


Body Image and Self-Esteem

As weight loss becomes apparent, changes in body image and self-esteem are common. Rapid weight loss can leave individuals feeling like they’re in a new body, which can be emotionally challenging. It’s important to cultivate a positive self-image and self-worth throughout the journey. Remember, the way you feel about yourself is just as important as the way you look.


Support Systems

Support, both emotional and practical, is a cornerstone of bariatric success. Connecting with others who share a similar journey can provide solace and encouragement. Support groups, whether in person or online, can become a lifeline, offering understanding and a sense of community. Additionally, healthcare providers play a crucial role in offering emotional support and guidance. 


Coping with Changes

Emotional challenges are part of the journey, and there are ways to cope. Journaling your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic. Mindfulness techniques can help you stay present and manage stress. If emotional challenges become overwhelming, professional counseling is a valuable resource. It’s okay to seek help; you’re not alone in this.


Celebrating Milestones

Along this journey, it’s essential to celebrate more than just the numbers on the scale. Non-scale victories, like improved health, increased energy, and a better quality of life, deserve recognition. Setting and achieving realistic goals during your recovery is a powerful way to stay motivated.


Bariatric surgery is not just a physical transformation; it’s an emotional journey filled with ups and downs. Remember that it’s okay to experience a range of emotions. Seek support, be patient with yourself, and celebrate your progress along the way. Your emotional well-being is an essential part of your bariatric success.


As you navigate the emotional side of bariatric surgery, know that you’re on a path to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. This journey is not just about changing your body; it’s about transforming your life. Embrace it, and remember, you are not alone.


Healthy Hugs,


About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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