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Kim's Journey: How to deal with changes in your life after bariatric surgery

So, you decided to have bariatric surgery. Congratulations! You are on the right path towards a healthier you. What does that mean for the rest of your life? Well, things might change a little bit, including your relationships, friendships, priorities, and overall goals in life. When you have bariatric surgery, you have to say goodbye to a piece of you. As sad as that sounds, it is for the best. That person who could eat 5 double cheeseburgers in one sitting must leave. When this person leaves, sometimes it can affect those around you. After weight loss surgery, your life is completely different, and it is important to prepare for the changes that come with the surgery.

I remember when I first had my WLS, it took my friends and family time to understand my new lifestyle. They were used to someone who enjoyed going out to eat and having fun trying new foods. However, as a bariatric patient, I couldn’t do this the same way any longer. It caused stress on some of my relationships. I had arguments with some people in my life because they didn’t realize how they were affecting my new priorities. I finally realized that for me to be successful, I had to communicate effectively to all my loved ones. This really helped because some of them did not even realize they were doing anything to harm my goals. Communication is key to finding a support system after surgery. How can your loved ones help you if they don’t know what you need? Your relationships might change, some for the better and some for the worse. You might find that some of the friendships you previously had are toxic to your new life. You might also find a deeper bond between people you never expected to be close with. Always remember to trust in yourself and what is best for your new lifestyle.

It can be overwhelming when you are starting a new weight loss journey. Learning your new bariatric diet and ensuring you are getting all your nutrition is work itself. There is no need for the added stress, so I encourage you to set goals for yourself, right from the start. Write down what you want to accomplish one week from now, one month from now, six months from now, and one year from now. Make sure you make these SMART goals-- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound. If you are comfortable with it, share these goals with your friends and family and let them know what they can do to keep you accountable. Be open to the changes that come with the surgery, because this is when your true self-discovery will take place. Change is very unsettling, but if you embrace it instead of run from it, you’ll come out a lot stronger in the end. Take a deep breath and enjoy the journey.

“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”

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