Are you feeling overwhelmed and overcome with obstacles after bariatric surgery? Do you feel like your emotions are all over the place? Are you desperately looking for a way to deal with stress after bariatric surgery that doesn’t involve reverting back to food and emotional eating? In this blog post, I’m going to suggest a few strategies that you can enact into your life to help you reduce those feelings of overwhelm – regardless of how far out from weight loss surgery you are.
Is It Normal To Feel Depressed After Surgery?
Right after surgery, your emotions can be all over the place. This can be due to a host of reasons, such a, the large fluctuations in your hormones from right after surgery, being on a low calorie diet (think- liver shrink diet and then slow diet progression after surgery), navigating nausea, food aversions, food intolerances, taste changes… the list goes on.
Eating food may not feel so… comforting anymore.
As the months go on after surgery, you may begin to realize that what the surgery didn’t prepare you for, was for dealing with your mindset and relationship around food.
This can make you feel sad!
What are you supposed to do to decompress after a stressful day of work? How are you going to cope with having a loved one seriously ill in the hospital? How are you going to navigate Sunday night dinners with your Italian family?
All of these surgical, hormonal, emotional, and social factors can really bring your mood down after surgery. Not to mention significant changes in your relationships which could involve marital divorce.
If you’ve been feeling like your mood has been down-in-the-dumps lately, it’s important to understand that there are valid reasons to validate how you’re feeling, but also support. Ensure you are reaching out to your Bariatric surgery team to contact a Bariatric Psychologist they recommend. If you don’t have a group anymore, I recommend Dr. Connie Stapleton.
How To Deal With Stress After Bariatric Surgery
If you’ve started working with a Bariatric psychologist/ counselor- great! The other thing you can do to help you deal with stress after bariatric surgery, is to start thinking of the things that bring you joy in your life.
- When you sit down at the piano, do all of your thoughts around food disappear?
- Do you walk a mile or two around the neighborhood when you call your best friend to vent?
- Does listening to an affirmational podcast as you walk a nature trail offer you a mental “reset”?
- Is it fulfilling to you to just be out in the garden, taking care of your plants?
Whatever it is that brings you joy- do more of it. It’s as simple as that.
When Surgery Dramatically Changes Your Life
You’ll be amazed at how dramatic of a change surgery can have on your life. Yes- in the beginning- the change may feel physically the most dramatic. But after those first few months, after your hormones and emotions level out, you may begin to see a spark of the new version of yourself peeking out.
- You may start to notice that you are more of an advocate of yourself and your own needs (for once!).
- You may feel more confident in your own skin.
- You may feel like your body is changing in ways other than the number on the scale. I’ve heard many patients describe non-scale victories that usually start with; “I haven’t done [x] or worn [Y] since high school!!”
- You may have more energy and more interest to do things that require physical activity (hello, hiking!)
- You may be ready to shed old or toxic relationships from your life in order to welcome more positive, healthy, and encouraging people into your support network.
There are so many changes that you’ll discover about yourself- aside from the number on the scale- that can really demonstrate how far you’ve come. Remember, surgery is just a tool in your health and wellness journey. YOU are doing the real work!
Finding Happiness After Surgery
You CAN feel, look, and BE happy after surgery. What you’ll find, that it takes a lot of mindset work and a healthy support system of friends and loved ones who get what you’re going through. If you’re looking for a group of bariatric buddies who are positive, encouraging, and uplifting and allow you to feel safe and vulnerable to vent (when you really need to vent)… then I highly encourage you to join our family at Banana Bariatrics. We’d love to have you and can’t wait to meet you!