Negotiating Relationships : The Journey Ahead After Bariatric Surgery

Young obese woman at an appointment with a psychologist.

As you think about having bariatric surgery, whether it’s a gastric sleeve, Lap-Band or even a non-surgical weight loss option such as the gastric balloon procedure, you may begin to wonder how major weight loss will affect your relationships. Major weight loss after bariatric surgery has many incredible benefits that are often talked about, whether improving an obesity-related health condition such as Type 2 diabetes or even something as simple as having more energy to run around with your children or grandchildren. However, it’s important to realize that when undergoing such a drastic change in your appearance, it can have an effect on how other people in your life treat you. Thankfully, many of these effects are not only positive but life-changing.

Loved Ones After Bariatric Surgery

Those who care about you love you like you as you are now, but you’re about to change dramatically when you lose weight after your bariatric surgery. However, most of those changes are predictable–which gives you the opportunity to prepare them for what will happen when you lose weight. Some suggestions:

Show your excitement: Sit down with your significant other, parents, or children to explain to them what your bariatric surgery means to you. Dream out loud about your new life to come after you’ve lost the weight that’s been holding you down for so long. Let them see how excited you are about taking this important step on your weight loss journey.

Discuss the risks: At least one of your loved ones will bring up the fact that all surgeries have risks–but the answer is, for those who are severely obese, their life expectancy is the same as those who smoke. Your risk is much higher if you stay obese than if you have bariatric surgery. Send them links like this one, from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery that discuss the risks plainly. Don’t avoid the question, but have the answers ready. Knowing you’ve thought about it will help them understand that you’re taking it seriously, have done the research, and are ready for the next step.

Be prepared for some less-positive reactions: Your spouse or significant other may be worried most because they’re afraid they will lose you once you’ve lost the weight after bariatric surgery. Just know that most of these reactions come out of love. Reassure them that you will be the same person, and most of all, that who you are and your love for them won’t change. You’ll simply be healthier, happier, more confident, and able to focus your energies on successfully changing how you look and how you feel about yourself. Help them understand that you need their support throughout the journey, and for the rest of your life.

Friends After Bariatric Surgery

Some will fade away: Part of your reality when you’re overweight is that you often may feel treated differently because of how you look. If that’s true, those friendships will naturally fade away as your weight drops after bariatric surgery. Your true friends, though, will not only adjust to your weight loss but move with you into your new relationship with food, with clothes, and with all the fun and exciting things that happen as the weight drops away. Sit down with your friends before your surgery, let them know what’s about to happen, and ask for their support as you go through this journey. You might be surprised who steps up!

Some will be jealous: Part of being overweight is being utterly unfamiliar with people being jealous of how you look, how you dress, and how much weight you’re losing. It’s actually quite flattering when it happens the first few times, and you might find yourself inspiring others to follow a similar path. Prepare yourself for it–and know that jealousy is always about the person who’s jealous, not about you. You didn’t gain weight for them, and you’re not losing weight for them either, you’re losing it for yourself, to take your life back.

Co-Workers After Bariatric Surgery

Sharing your journey is up to you: You do not have to share the fact that you’re having a gastric sleeve, gastric banding or a gastric balloon with anyone at work. You are probably already aware that if you tell one person, though, you might as well tell everyone. Most workplaces are hotbeds of gossip, it’s pretty much human nature. All the same positive and negative reactions will probably occur as the ones above, but your journey will be yours to take. Like your friends, you aren’t getting bariatric surgery for them, you’re getting it for yourself.

Your Self After Bariatric Surgery

Don’t forget, too, that your relationships with yourself, the mirror, and your life as you know it will change for the better after bariatric surgery. You may get a little self-absorbed for awhile, constantly checking yourself out in the mirror as the weight drops off, but go ahead and enjoy it! It’s a wonderful feeling to look in the mirror and feel positive about yourself for once. Once the weight is over, you will find yourself open to the world in very different ways, and there’s a wealth of possibilities out there waiting for you!

If you want to lose weight and regain your health and beauty, and you’re interested in bariatric surgery, Dr. David Davtyan and his caring staff are here for you! With four convenient locations in Beverly Hills, Glendale, Rancho Cucamonga and Fountain Valley, The Weight Loss Surgery Center of Los Angeles offers some of the finest weight loss treatments in L.A.

Call us today at 1-877-9BESLIM (923-7546) and schedule your initial complimentary consultation. Today is the day to take the first step on a journey to a whole new you!

Posted on behalf of Dr. David G. Davtyan MD, FACS, FICS

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