Long Term Effects of Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery)

It is normal to experience mixed emotions post surgery.  Many patients report having racing thoughts such as – what have I done?  What if this doesn’t work for me?  When will I be thin?  This is to be expected after such a life-changing procedure.  Be patient and kind with yourself and take each day as it comes.  Depression is common on the return home, once the initial relief of the surgery is over and the patient returns to their ‘old’ life.  In some cases it is the realisation that the challenge of life changing behaviour has begun.  There is help at hand if you have symptoms of depressions, your GP should put you in contact with professionals that can help.  Remind yourself that you have been through a big event and mixed emotions are perfectly normal at this stage. 

Head Hunger

Many patients report tackling ‘head hunger’ after weight loss surgery.  ‘Head hunger’ is based on emotions not on actual hunger.  This is a withdrawal symptom from food and is related to how many of us turn to food for reasons other than hunger.  We often eat when we are bored, tired, sad and lonely.  Head hunger can take the form of cravings for fatty or sugary foods such as chips or cake.  There are strategies you can learn to enable you to cope with head hunger such as drinking more, going for a walk, brushing your teeth.  Your dietitian can advise you on developing new healthy food behaviours.

If you ate when you were stressed or sad and lonely you will need to develop other strategies for coping with the stresses and strains in life.  The whole process of having weight loss surgery will make demands on your emotions, you will be required to face your food behaviours and change them.  Breaking habits is not easy and often not instant.

Fear is a big part of life post weight loss surgery.  Failure is no stranger to morbidly obese patients, often failed with diets and exercise over many years.  Many have struggled with weight since childhood, which has shaped their views of themselves as ‘unworthy’.  It is time to face up to issues of self-image and self esteem as it important for your long-term happiness and success. 

You have embarked on a journey with many challenges but it is an important journey and one that will bring you many benefits if you keep working towards your goals.  Get the support you need, you do not have to face some of these challenges alone, consider counseling to work through your problems.

Excess skin is an issue facing many patients after losing significant amounts of weight.  Hygiene can become a major issue as skin folds are prone to rashes, yeast infections can occur where the skin is hot and moist.  Chafing is another common problem in areas such as between the thighs and under the arms.  Plastic surgery is the only real solution to excess skin however you can help the problem by regular exercise, taking vitamins and keeping protein in your diet. 

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