Nurturing Mental Health: Essential Tips for Bariatric Surgery Patients
Bariatric surgery is a life-changing step towards achieving a healthier body and a healthier lifestyle. Whilst it does offer a physical transformation, it’s crucial to understand the impact it can have on mental health. Supporting your emotional well-being is just as essential as your physical health during this journey as one in three people with a long-term physical health condition also has mental health issues (Mental Health Foundation). With this in mind, here are some tips for those undergoing or considering bariatric surgery.
1. Preparation and Education
Understand the procedure thoroughly, including its risks and benefits. Being well-informed can alleviate anxiety and ensure you’re mentally prepared for the surgery and post-operative adjustments.
At Healthier Weight we offer pre-consults with our surgeons to ensure you are fully aware of your bariatric surgery, as well as our pre-op team being there to answer any questions you need.
2. Establish a Support Network
Build a strong support system involving family, friends, or support groups (such as the Healthier Weight Community group on Facebook). Therefore, surrounding yourself with understanding and encouraging individuals that have been ‘in your shoes’ or understand you.
3. Therapy and Counselling
Consider seeking therapy or counselling pre and post-surgery, depending on your circumstances. Professional support can help you navigate through any emotional challenges, body image issues, and lifestyle adjustments.
4. Mindful Eating and Emotional Triggers
Develop awareness of emotional eating triggers and coping mechanisms. Learning to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional cravings is crucial for long-term success.
5. Set Realistic Expectations
Understand that bariatric surgery is a tool, not magic. You should set realistic goals and be patient with the weight loss process. Take every day as it comes, your mental health is as important as your physical transformation.
6. Self-Compassion and Patience
Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to face challenges and setbacks, it’s a part of life. Practice self-compassion and still be with yourself throughout the recovery process.
7. Follow-Up Care and Check-Ins
Attend follow-up appointments and support groups provided by our health care team. Staying connected with our professionals and peers can offer insights, encouragement, and reassurance.
8. Celebrate Milestones
Celebrate non-scale victories and milestones on your journey. Recognising and acknowledging the progress you make, regardless of the number on the scale, can help boost your confidence.
Take care and prioritise your well-being on this journey towards a healthier, happier you!