Post Bariatric Surgery: How might your relationships change post surgery?
Bariatric surgery is no small matter. It’s a life-changing event that encompasses a lot of challenges where the outcomes are hard to predict.
You probably made the decision to have the surgery and lose weight because you were unhappy with your self-image and it was negatively effecting your health. Those you’ve surrounded yourself with know you as the person you were before surgery. You know yourself as the person you were before surgery. And it’s a positive step to be prepared mentally to face potential challenges in interpersonal relationships that might present themselves with your change.
After all, relationships are the life blood of human existence. Humans are a social species and the relationships we have with others or heck, even ourselves, drive a multitude of factors: happiness, acceptance, self-image, confidence, how we view the world, our goals, futures… etc.
The relationship you have with yourself:
This may be the most important relationship to foster. A person’s image of themselves is essentially an internal dictionary of words that we label ourselves with and define how we see ourselves fit in the world. Prior to surgery, you may have looked in the mirror and saw a person you didn’t like. This can be a difficult thought pattern to break even after surgery. The feeling that you’re “never going to be enough” can make someone in your situation feel inadequate even after losing a lot of weight and becoming healthier. According to a study by Ashleigh Pona of the department of psychology at the University of Kansas, “adults with obesity who report symptoms of depression, anxiety, disordered eating and negative body image often continue to struggle with body image dissatisfaction in the months after undergoing bariatric surgery.”
- Give yourself a break. Repeatedly use positive affirmations and engage in daily, positive self-talk regarding yourself and your image.
- Meet others who have gone through surgery and brainstorm with them steps you can take to feel amazing about yourself going forward
- Don’t stop. Hit the gym, eat healthy foods and continue doing things that build your self image up. Laziness is a breeding ground for negativity – don’t let yourself go there.
- Sometimes one-on-one sessions with a therapist can be of assistance.
The relationship you have with a significant other:
This is another extremely important relationship to foster because this is the one person, outside of yourself, who you spend the most time around in your life. This person’s opinion is something that you probably value deeply and the image they have of you most likely has a major impact on how you view yourself. The difficulty with this relationship post surgery lies with the image your significant other had built prior to your surgery. They see you a certain way and your new look, at no fault of your own, can lead to a feeling of inferiority and a belief that they’re not good enough for you or no longer needed. According to the L.A. Times, a Swedish study found, “that obese people who had a spouse or live-in partner and then underwent weight loss surgery were 28% more likely to become separated or divorced compared with those in a comparison group who didn’t have surgery.”
- It may be wise to meet with a relationship counselor to discuss what can happen to relationships post surgery so you’re both prepared for what might come.
- Have regular conversations with your significant other about how you’re feeling and how they’re feeling post-surgery. Communication is key and keeps a relationship engaged.
Relationships with friends and family:
Author of The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly says, “The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great. We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.” The difficulty of these relationships post-surgery is the guilt your family members or friends may carry with themselves for allowing you to get into the position you were in. They see you and know you as the person you were before surgery, the person you were for forever, and may not know how to manage a relationship with the “new” you.
· Communicate with your family and friends about what you expect your world to look like post surgery.
· Make your family aware that you’re doing this because YOU need to change YOUR life. This isn’t about them, it’s about you and your desire to be healthy.
· You may need to move on from relationships that enabled or encouraged the behavior or habits that led to you being overweight if they continue to be a negative influence. This can be difficult, but surrounding yourself with the right people enables positive change.
Remember that a quality multivitamin is absolutely essential to maintaining your health post bariatric surgery. Vita4life Multivitamins provide many key vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Make Vita4life Multivitamins apart of your health regimen today!