Drastic weight loss, as powerful as it is for your body, doesn't just impact your physical health. When you lose a great deal of weight--especially if you lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, like you do when you have weight loss surgery--you may experience a number of psychological changes, as well. How does weight loss surgery really impact the mind? Consider some of these important elements.
Following substantial weight loss, you may find that you undergo a number of common changes. Many people, even though they've prepared for and even hoped for them ahead of time, are still surprised when these changes crop up in their lives.
You will have substantially more energy. Dragging an extra 40, 50, or more pounds around with you wherever you go takes a ton of energy. As a result, when you were overweight, you may have struggled to convince yourself to participate in even mundane activities. As you lose weight, however, you may find that you have much more energy, which means that you'll be more ready to engage in activities that bring you pleasure.
You may experience increased creativity. Have you found that your creative energy has dried up over the last few years, especially as your weight crept up? Have you struggled to engage in creative pursuits? Eating healthy can make a big difference in the way you act and feel. With healthy eating habits and a lower weight, you will have less inflammation and pressure throughout your body. Oxygen will circulate better, and you'll absorb nutrients more effectively. As a result, you'll often find a surprising burst of creativity following weight loss surgery.
Friendships and other relationships may change. Strong relationships with friends and family members often grow stronger following substantial weight loss: you now have more energy to enjoy activities with your loved ones, and you may be able to help them more when they have difficulties or need assistance. Weaker relationships, on the other hand, may drift away due to jealousy or because of your inability to indulge in areas where you once commonly chose to indulge.
You may have an increased zest for life. Following weight loss surgery, many things that seemed incredibly difficult before may be much easier. When traveling, you don't have to worry about purchasing an extra seat on the plane, but rather can slide normally into a (reasonably) comfortable seat. As you gain muscle and drop fat, you may be able to pursue activities that once seemed completely out of reach, including hiking, swimming, or even engaging in extreme sports. This often creates an increased zest and zeal for life as a whole: the feeling that you can do more things than you ever imagined, and that things that were once out of reach are now well within your grasp.
You may feel better about yourself. Many people find that, following weight loss, other people are more likely to compliment them and treat them kindly. As a result, they may start to feel more positively about themselves and develop a better self-image.
Struggling with the Change
While some things may change quickly after weight loss, even many things that you didn't expect, there are also things that may not change--or areas where you may struggle to deal with the perceived changes to your body. Be prepared to struggle with a few common concerns following massive weight loss or weight loss surgery--and make plans to handle it in a healthy way.
You may not change your perception of your body immediately. Even if you lose a substantial amount of weight and significantly change your BMI, you may still view yourself as "fat." While this may not be the case, it can be hard to change that mental image of yourself.
You may still have the same types of anxiety in public places. Following weight loss surgery, it can be difficult to realize that, for example, you now fit comfortably in that seat on the plane, or that you don't have to worry about turning sideways as a group of strangers walk toward you on the sidewalk. You may still have continuing, lingering issues with personal anxiety even after weight loss.
You may experience increased depression. Did you use eating as a way to deal with depression, sadness, or anxiety prior to weight loss? Even if force of will has helped you overcome those difficulties, you may find that you still struggle with depression--and with your preferred coping mechanism gone, it may be more difficult to manage. Some people who have experienced massive weight loss may turn to alcohol or drugs, especially if they experience a rebound in their weight. Knowing ahead of time that this could be an issue, however, can help you prepare to address feelings of sadness or depression in a healthier manner.
Weight loss alone may not address mental health concerns. Did you struggle with binge eating prior to weight loss? Have you dealt with other common psychiatric health concerns associated with weight gain, including Binge Eating Disorder, bulimia, or Night Eating Syndrome? While in some cases, addressing your weight concerns may help with some of these issues--you may, for example, have needed to develop healthy eating habits to help you lose the weight in the first place--weight loss, especially fast weight loss through bariatric surgery, does not resolve these concerns by itself.
Following weight loss, you may struggle with a number of common issues and difficulties. Some extreme weight loss patients experience primarily positive changes following massive weight loss. Others may have a longer road to mental health and a healthy body image. Fortunately, you don't have to struggle with those concerns alone. With the right support system in place, you may have a better chance of experiencing the positive side of psychological changes following weight loss, rather than the negative. Contact us today to learn more about your options for significant weight loss, including bariatric surgery, and how it can change your life for the better.