Body Image after Bariatric Surgery

There’s no doubt that we can be our own worst enemy. This is often especially true when it comes to our sense of body image after bariatric surgery. For most of us, it took us years to become obese. It was a gradual and difficult transition, and we watched as our bodies changed before our eyes. It gave us plenty of time to develop our strong opinions of our appearance, self-worth and changing selves. But unlike the slow gaining of weight, losing weight after surgery happens over a matter of months; it happens very quickly. This means that sometimes our brains do not catch up with our eyes and we just don’t believe that we’ve made the progress that we actually see. We’re still stuck in an old mindset, and no matter what progress is proven by our waistbands or on the scale, we have difficulty grasping our success.

All too often after surgery, we see patients who cannot believe they have been successful or cannot appreciate the degree of weight loss that they have achieved. This discouragement is natural in doses, however if serious enough, and left unchecked, it can lead to lessened resolve and a slow-down in weight loss progress.

There’s no doubt that appreciating your true body image is difficult and takes time, but we want to suggest some tips and tricks to help you get to the point where you fully appreciate the progress you have made. First, if you’re comfortable, open up to friends and family. Keeping them close to you can help keep your weight loss in perspective. After all, they’ve known you before and after your surgery.

You may want to keep your old clothing or old pictures of yourself for a tangible reminder of how much weight you’ve lost and how many inches have disappeared from your waist. This is a great visual tool especially when you’re feeling down. And if you have any, you can also use your excess skin – that portable trophy, to remind you how far you’ve come.

No matter how you see yourself, measure your progress by the numbers. How much lower is your cholesterol? How has your weight changed? How many inches have you lost? Don’t let the little voice inside get you down.

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