Amazing! I was looking through this past year's entries in Everyday Health and they had this article! It's a bit late in coming for those of us who have had surgery a while, but it still has some great information.
Bariatric surgery brings big changes, and many are emotional. Follow these tips to adjust to the new you in healthy ways.
By Gina Roberts-Grey
After weight loss surgery, patients can experience dramatic transformations — and not all are easy to spot. As they shed weight and begin to experience life as a thinner person, they often find they must adjust to some changes they never anticipated, in addition to the expected transformations in their eating and exercise habits. Inquisitive questions, new social interests, a changing body image…all can offer special challenges, opportunities, and risks after gastric-bypass surgery. Follow these tips to ease the transition to your new body and your new life.
Practice responding to questions and compliments. Initially, it can be difficult to face common questions from friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, such as, "How did you lose all that weight?" and "Did you have work done?" Even, "You look amazing!" can cause stress if you haven't thought about what to say. Decide how you'd like to reply to these questions and compliments (and any other comments or reactions you anticipate) ahead of time, and practice giving responses with a trusted friend or even in front of the mirror, says Anne Eshelman, PhD, ABPP, clinical-health psychologist at the bariatric-surgery program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Ultimately, you need to feel comfortable with your new body image before you can expect others to be. This confidence will make the transition easier.
Plan for relationships to be affected. Life after bariatric surgery can be trying, and new eating and exercise habits may affect the way you socialize with or relate to certain family members or friends — or even your spouse. Expect relationships to face these challenges and to undergo changes. Also, bariatric-surgery patients often gain self-confidence after shedding a lot of weight, and this can change the long-standing dynamics of a relationship. "People who were always submissive because their weight sapped their confidence may suddenly come out of their shells," says Eshelman, "and that may be startling for their partners or friends." Consider speaking with those closest to you about such issues before the surgery, if possible.
Expect positive attention, but keep a healthy perspective. Rapidly losing weight after bariatric surgery sends some people in search of attention, as they feel more attractive than they ever did when they were obese. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, they're receiving positive reactions from others. Jessie McCaskill, 46, from Las Vegas, experienced this after she had weight-loss surgery in 2002 and lost 130 pounds. "After losing the weight, for the first time in my life I was the 'belle of the ball' and went looking for attention." McCaskill found the attention she never got presurgery, and that attention led to an extramarital affair. "Despite being married to a fantastic person, I was driven to heal the hurt fat girl I'd been for 41 years." That healing, McCaskill says, ruled her. "Because of the changes I was experiencing, I acted rashly. It's one of my life's biggest regrets."
Discussing the physical and emotional changes that come after weight-loss surgery in a support group can be helpful, says Eshelman. Hearing the insights of others can help bariatric-surgery patients recognize people who may sabotage their transformation and situations that may become emotionally unhealthy. "A support group can help teach coping strategies as well as help a patient develop healthy levels of self-esteem and self-confidence post–weight loss," says Eshelman.