Five Things We Want Every Bariatric Patient to Know Before Surgery
Surgery has grown in popularity, along with the significant rise in morbid obesity in the United States and worldwide. Unfortunately, exercise only works for about 5 to 10% of people who lose a substantial amount of weight (and maintain it) without medical or surgical intervention. Even today, long-term weight loss is not guaranteed with new weight loss medications, for example. As such, we must discuss the five most pressing concepts we want every bariatric surgery patient to understand before surgery. Knowing and living by these things will undoubtedly make your postoperative life more successful.
Life After Bariatric Surgery Requires Dedication and Focus
Bariatric surgery requires a challenging lifestyle change. The concept that bariatric surgery is somehow a shortcut or a cop-out is unfortunately pervasive but helps no one. For one, anybody who says this does not understand the sacrifices that bariatric patients must make after their surgery. They must still diet and exercise and change their mindset and lifestyle to maintain their weight loss.
However, some patients also believe that bariatric surgery is the easy way out. However, any patient who believes this will be sorely disappointed after surgery and likely be unsuccessful as well. As such, for both reasons mentioned above, you must be ready and willing for what’s to come after surgery.
Do It for You
Undoubtedly, many patients, especially our younger patients, are teased, made fun of, or talked about because of their excess weight. Some have limited social lives and have been overlooked for career opportunities for the same reason. It’s an unfortunate reality, even in modern-day society. However, no matter the external pressures pushing you to make a change, the most critical piece of the puzzle is you. To fully commit to a new life, you need to be ready for it – that means wanting to do it for yourself before anyone else. Patients who understand this are more successful and fulfilled in their postop life.
Patients need to understand the concept of moderation. This goes both ways. Not only do we mean that you must eat and drink less after surgery, a core part of weight loss, but you also need to ensure that you don’t undereat and over-exercise after surgery. There is a powerful temptation to push yourself harder by depriving yourself of food and pushing your body too hard in the exercise realm. This does very little for long-term weight loss and can cause burnout, ultimately slowing your weight loss progress or even allowing you to regain weight. We have operated on thousands of patients and followed their weight loss journey, and with that knowledge, we have developed ideal protocols for our patients. Following your postoperative plan closely is the best way to ensure you have the best results after your surgery.
Your Relationships Will Change
As you change your life, the relationships around you will change as well. On the surface, these can feel positive or negative. For example, some of your friends or family members may feel like they are being left behind and, as such, may fight your decision to have surgery and lose weight. It may force you to reevaluate your relationship, at least in the short term. However, remember that you are improving your health and life in general, and whatever may come of your relationships, you must remember why you made your decision – your future. Fortunately, you will find that most people embrace the new you and become cheerleaders for your success. You may even inspire a few family members, friends, or acquaintances to change their lives.
We Are Here for You
Too often, our patients think they are somehow bothering us when they communicate outside of scheduled post-operative visits. We are here to help you, and our team understands that this relationship does not end on the day of surgery. We want you to be in touch with us because, ultimately, the success you achieve is our success as well. If you are struggling or need advice, never hesitate to contact us, as we can help you through it, much like we have for hundreds of patients like you.