Post-op changes and How our Patients Have Gotten Through their Struggles
There are a lot of struggles that come along with bariatric surgery, whether it be struggling with your decision to get or not get weight loss surgery, or the changes that come along with your new body and lifestyle post-op. It can be scary and hard to navigate, but with a motivated and healthy mindset, it is manageable. The most significant factor is being patient and allowing yourself the opportunity to succeed.
"I think everyone needs to be aware of the grieving you might experience," Says Ines Vilar, "As much as we want the surgery, you may inevitably grieve the "you" you are losing."
When asked how to get through and manage that hard experience Ines had a profound answer.
"I had to first realize that it was happening. I now cry when I need to cry and remind myself that I am not changing the core of who I am. I have thanked the heavier me for the purpose it served because it did. I remind myself often, that this was a choice for a better me and that I now have a new purpose that my old me couldn't be a part of. I allow myself to feel what I need to feel when I need to feel it. I'm still working on it!"
It is essential to realize that the changes you face are not all going to be predictable. You may feel things you never expected to feel and to take Ines's example; you have to ride the ride and take it easy on yourself. To remind yourself why you decided to have surgery and what you have gained from it. We face challenges in life whether we have a life-altering surgery or not, and it is imperative to learn that not everything is within your control. You have to allow yourself to have emotions, and also learn how to work through those emotions. Holding things in will only hurt you in the long run.
I hear so many success stories every single day, and it is also important to celebrate the victories when you can.
"I'm on month 3 and 50 pounds down. I'm falling in love with myself daily. I even got my aerobic certificate." Says Tara Darnell Roberts.
These victories will help you through your bad days. Reminding yourself of your achievements and the positives that have come of your surgery will remind you to work through it and not give up. It is, however, hard to see some of those victories for people who are prone to see the flaws. In those cases, it is important to do what you can to maintain a positive attitude.
"Fat brain is real. Surround yourself with people who remind you of what you really look like instead of what you see in the mirror." Says Brittiny Howard.
When asked if she ever looks at pictures to remind herself of how far she has come, she reminded me that even when others think you look amazing, you can see that one little thing that one area that you are self-conscious about and it will not matter what other people think.
This is a struggle that many many people have to overcome. Brittiny looked at a photo of herself in a size four dress, and all she saw was what she referred to as, "The pooch." Brittiny still has to remind herself of all the weight she has lost and her successes after her surgery.
"Every day is still hard, but I've not gained any weight other than the hormonal bloat, and I am a normal BMI."
Even if you continue to see flaws in photos or when you look at yourself in the mirror, it is vital to think about the weight you've actually lost, how you feel on a day to day basis, and how your health has improved. You didn't just have this surgery to look cute in a photo; you chose this journey to enjoy life in a way you couldn't before. Try affirmations, a post-it on the bathroom mirror, a timed notification on your phone, just a little message to remind yourself of how far you've come and how healthy you feel. A little positivity goes a long way.
If you are an active member of Pompeii Surgical's Facebook Support Group, you have seen people post of their struggles both before and after surgery, and asking for help, guidance, and support is probably one of the best ways you can work through your rough patches. To surround yourself with like-minded people who are on the same journey and path as you is a smart way of keeping yourself grounded and also supported. Continue to be open and patient with yourself and remember YOU are strong, resilient, and have dedicated yourself to creating a happy, healthy life for yourself, and that in it of itself is a GREAT accomplishment.