Finding Body Positivity after Bariatric Surgery?

Article By: Gianna Soussan

Gianna is a seasoned Bariatric Patient & Peer Coach who has lost and maintained 120+ lbs on her journey to better health. She is an advocate within the bariatric community and has made it her life’s mission to share what she’s learned to be successful along the way! Follow her journey on Instagram (@vsgianna_).

There’s no doubt that bariatric surgery is a transformative journey that goes beyond just physical changes. It's a path toward self-discovery, empowerment, and ultimately, finding joy in our bodies. If you're considering or have undergone bariatric surgery, you may find yourself prioritizing questions like, "How long does it take to lose weight after bariatric surgery?"... And while weight loss is a significant aspect (and it’s only natural that we hope it happens quickly, let’s be honest), the journey to body positivity encompasses much more than just numbers on a scale.

1) Weight loss expectations after bariatric surgery.

First things first, let's address the looming topic here: weight loss expectations. Yes, bariatric surgery can lead to significant weight loss, but it's essential to understand that it's not a magic pill or a quick fix — instead, it is a new way of life that can lead to a type of long-term success and freedom that many of us have never had the joy of experiencing. Getting in this mindset and setting proper expectations upfront is important. There are also other factors to prepare for and consider such as loving our new body as it evolves and changes, accepting things like loose skin and hair loss, and embracing the mental battles that come along the way. The bariatric journey is a gradual process that requires patience, dedication, consistency, body positivity, and above all, self-love.

2) The road to body positivity.

The road to body positivity begins long before the surgery itself. It starts with accepting ourselves unconditionally; embracing our bodies with love and kindness, as the vessel that carries us through life. Understanding that our value is not defined through how our bodies look and that we are deserving of health and self-love at every stage of our journeys. If there’s anything I’ve learned along my own journey, it’s that true joy isn't found in reaching a certain dress size but in the journey of self-love and acceptance... Perhaps the most challenging part of this incredible road to a healthy life.

3) The importance of non-scale victories & self-care.

After bariatric surgery, the physical changes may become evident pretty quickly, but it's the mental and emotional transformation that truly set us free in the end. Learning to celebrate every victory (especially my favorite type of WLS wins: non-scale victories — or “NSVs”), big or small, and embracing setbacks as opportunities for growth are crucial steps on this journey.

Self-care becomes paramount to our ability to succeed after WLS. Nourishing our bodies with nutritious foods while connecting to the inherent value of doing so, finding joy in physical activity while truly appreciating its benefits, and prioritizing our mental well-being and accepting ourselves for who we truly are along the way are all essential components of self-love and self-acceptance on this journey. Aligning these elements are crucial to our ability to love ourselves both internally and externally along the way.

Challenges are inevitable, but with support from loved ones, consistent therapy, and connecting with fellow bariatric warriors within this incredible community, we can overcome them. Moments of doubt and frustration serve as reminders of our resilience and inner strength. Never forget that!

4) Reflecting on my own bariatric journey.

Today, I stand not as a before-and-after picture but as a testament to the power of self-love and perseverance. My journey to joy continues as I embrace my body in all its imperfections and live life to the fullest in my new healthy body.

To anyone embarking on this journey or contemplating bariatric surgery, remember this: Trust the process, stick to the plan, celebrate your victories, be mindful of how you speak to yourself, and never forget that you are worthy of love and happiness exactly as you are — both inside and outside.

With all of that said — it’s obvious that the road to body positivity after bariatric surgery is a multifaceted one, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional transformations. While weight loss is a significant aspect and an important goal along the way, true joy is found in unconditional self-love, acceptance, and celebrating every step of this beautiful (and worthwhile) journey.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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