You have probably heard people say it before…weight loss surgery is so much more than a physical journey. This is not just about your physical health, but also your mental health as well. I cannot tell you how many people out there, including myself, thought that weight loss surgery would fix everything. This is just not the truth. This surgery takes work, and part of that work is emotional healing. You will obviously be on a physical journey because you will be dropping weight and getting healthier. At the same time, you should be focusing your energy on your mental health as well. You must put in the work emotionally to be successful on this journey. I promise you that if you do not, you will not fully reach your potential and it will eventually come back to haunt you.
One of the best things you can do on this journey is take the time to focus on your mental health. Therapy is by far the most important thing that I recommend to anyone starting out this journey. Sometimes people wait until after the procedure to start seeing a professional, but I encourage you to start before the surgery if you can. I cannot explain to you how many changes come to your life after bariatric surgery. If you are not prepared for those changes, you will suffer. Now do not get me wrong, I think it is hard no matter what, even with therapy. However, if you start going to therapy before surgery and begin talking about your relationship with food, you will learn new coping mechanisms for when you can no longer use food after surgery. This will help set you up for success and ensure you have the tools you need on your journey.
You might not think it is going to be a big deal. I know I didn’t. I thought I had it under control, but the truth is I was in so much emotional pain. I craved food like a drug and I would literally cry because I could not have it. For those of us who have lived morbidly obese most of our lives, this surgery hits us like a wall. Food addiction is real. You must learn how to cope without food, and it is important to remember that you do not have to do this alone. Therapy is so powerful and can give you so much insight into why you do the things you do. You will more than likely have to get a psychological evaluation done prior to surgery to ensure you are ready for surgery. I highly encourage you to be as open as you can be with this. If you are not ready for surgery, you should not do it. Use this time to start your therapy routine once you have the evaluation. You will be so much more prepared for what life is going to be like after surgery if you start addressing it even before you have the procedure.
I waited way too long to start my therapy journey, but I will tell you that once I finally committed to my mental health, I noticed a huge difference. I was suffering in silence for way too long and it truly affected my life. You do not realize the additional issues that can come with weight loss surgery until you go through it. You might start developing additional eating disorders or even body dysmorphia if you are not careful. It is so important that you train your brain to be healthier, and it takes more than just the physical journey after weight loss surgery to do this. Therapy can sometimes be embarrassing to talk about, but I think that is part of our problem as a society. We need to start talking about mental health more, especially when it comes to weight loss surgery and the effects it can have on you emotionally. You are not in this alone. Do not give up. This is a battle that we will be fighting the rest of our lives, but you should be so proud of how far you have come. Take the time to focus on your mental health. You deserve to truly be happy.