Reducing Stress After Bariatric Surgery

Considering bariatric surgery or approaching your surgery date can bring a mix of excitement and anxiety. Post-surgery life prompts many questions: Will it be stressful? How long will recovery take? What will I be able to eat? If you’ve recently undergone surgery, you might feel overwhelmed by the significant lifestyle changes ahead. In this week’s blog post, you’ll glean a better understanding of a clear timeline for post-surgery recovery, tips for how to reset yourself, and strategies to reducing stress after surgery.

How Long Does It Take To Feel Normal After Surgery?

The emotional roller coaster post-surgery is common. Typically, you’ll start feeling more emotionally stable around three months after the procedure. The first month focuses primarily on recovery: staying hydrated, taking vitamins, and meeting protein and calorie goals.

During this initial period, you may grieve your old eating habits. Adjusting to new dietary restrictions—eating slowly, avoiding drinking while eating, and reducing portion sizes—can be challenging. Additionally, your taste buds and food preferences may change, complicating your food choices.

It’s crucial not to pressure yourself into having everything figured out by the first month. The top priority should be staying hydrated (aim for over 64 ounces of water daily) and adhering to your vitamin regimen as per your doctor’s guidelines.

Grant yourself grace during this adjustment period. Learning your new stomach’s needs takes time. Initially, focus on consuming 60g+ of protein daily, starting with protein shakes and gradually moving to a regular bariatric diet.

Around six weeks post-op, most patients gain confidence in their eating habits. By three months, many can tolerate larger food quantities, consume more calories, and maintain better hydration and hormonal balance.

How Do You “Reset” Yourself After Surgery?

Life after surgery can feel overwhelming, especially when dealing with other stressors. Here’s how to regain control:

  1. Return to Basics: Evaluate your adherence to the bariatric basics: drinking 64+ ounces of water, 60g+ protein, taking the correct bariatric vitamin regimen 7 days per week, and exercising (strength training 3+ times weekly). Identify areas needing improvement and strive for consistency.
  2. Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge daily achievements, like taking your vitamins correctly. Celebrating small wins builds confidence and a positive mindset, which can alleviate stress.
  3. Establish Boundaries: If dealing with unsupportive family members, remember that you can set boundaries and stand up for your health goals. Just as you commit to exercise and hydration, you can assert your needs and protect your progress.
  4. Seek Professional Support: Consider consulting a bariatric psychologist to navigate emotional challenges and better understand your new lifestyle.

Can Reducing Stress After Bariatric Surgery Cause Weight Loss?

Absolutely! High stress levels elevate cortisol, a hormone that can hinder weight loss. Reducing stress positively impacts sleep, digestion, and inflammation.

Identify non-food activities that help you relax—playing an instrument, listening to music, walking, or engaging in hobbies. Additionally, prioritize getting at least seven hours of sleep each night to further support stress reduction and overall health.

In Summary

Feeling “normal” post-surgery may take a few months, but you’ll frequently need to reset and return to bariatric basics. This process not only helps with stress management but also reinforces your health journey, building confidence and resilience. While eliminating all stress isn’t feasible, focusing on stress reduction is crucial for sustaining weight loss and overall well-being after bariatric surgery. Embrace the journey with patience and self-compassion, and you’ll find strength and success in your new lifestyle.

Are You Struggling With Weight Regain After Surgery?

Weight regain after surgery is common and occurs in ~30% of patients…but it doesn’t have to be the “end all” of your weight loss surgery journey!

Our FREE Weight Regain Resource will help you:

reducing stress after bariatric surgery
  • Learn the reasons why you may experience weight regain after surgery
  • Identify unhealthy habits that can lead to weight regain
  • Find additional support and accountability with getting back-on-track with your weight loss

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