Am I Mentally Prepared for Bariatric Surgery?

When considering bariatric surgery, it’s natural to think about the physical transformation you’ll go through. But, you should also consider the emotional preparation you’ll need before surgery. What will it be like to look like yourself, but not exactly like yourself? Are you ready for a complete lifestyle change, potentially giving up things that you enjoyed in the past? 

Before you have surgery, there are ways to ensure you are both physically and emotionally ready:

  1. Set realistic goals. No one can transform overnight. You may look different the day after surgery, but understand that recovery from weight-loss surgery is a process. Your goal can be as small as walking without getting winded or bending over to tie your shoes.
  2. Talk to a counselor. As you prepare for bariatric surgery, patients are required to undergo psychological assessment. It is a good idea to continue counseling to discuss the factors that have contributed to your weight and to find alternative ways of coping with emotional eating.
  3. Join a support group. Support groups are a great way to discuss fears, share excitement and receive validation for your bariatric surgery. If anyone understands what you’re going through, it’s the people who have firsthand knowledge and experience of weight-loss surgery.
  4. Prepare for life after surgery. Surgery planning doesn’t just include the steps leading up to surgery. Getting your house ready before you enter the hospital can help reduce anxiety post-op. Make sure your home is stocked with foods for your new diet. Plan for any physical restrictions you may have (e.g. stairs) in the weeks after your surgery. Develop an activity/exercise plan you can begin as soon as you’re physically able. 
  5. Meet with a nutritionist. A nutrition plan is vital to postoperative bariatric surgery. A nutritionist can work with you to put together a customized eating plan that works for you. Working with a professional can make it easier to discuss and manage your goals and possible setbacks.
  6. Keep a journal. A journal helps keep track of the foods you eat and how you feel afterwards. It also helps, on a particularly challenging day, to reflect on the past and remember the reasons you decided to make this life-changing decision in the first place.

Weight-loss surgery can help improve your way of life and offer relief from physical pain and obstacles. But it’s important to remember that bariatric surgery is only a tool to help you lose weight. You are the one who will have to keep the weight off.

We at Mercy believe education is the foundation for patient success. Our team of health care professionals is here to help you achieve long-term success and get the most out of your life.

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