After years of discomfort, health issues, and countless numbers of “alright, this diet will be different,” the circle of options to change and, in some cases, even save your life is getting smaller.
For many obese people, the last string on the table is often the weight-loss surgery that seems to solve all of the problems and bring you the healthy and comfortable life you’ve dreamed of for so long.
But there’s a catch…
The weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, isn’t a silver bullet that fixes everything. It’s (just) a tool that jump-starts your life-long journey to achieve the health you deserve.
To make sure you don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations for the weight-loss surgery results, we gathered five misconceptions that people (maybe even yourself?) tend to have about weight-loss surgeries and life after the procedure.
#1 – It’s a Quick and Easy Fix for a Rapid Weight Loss
Fortunately or unfortunately, weight-loss surgery doesn’t involve a surgeon cutting away and removing fat deposits and excess skin so that the patient could leave the hospital weighing and looking 100 pounds lighter. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t work.
Weight-loss surgery is not a miracle procedure but rather a gradual process that requires a substantial life-long commitment and can take up to several years to get the results you are looking for. Although it widely depends on what type of gastric surgery you are going through, generally, it can take around six months to see half of the results and about 12 to 18 months to be close to your end goals.
One of the most effective gastric surgeries, Roux-de-Y gastric bypass surgery, has a potential weight loss of around 70-80% of the excess body fat, about 10-17% more than any other gastric surgery over the first four years.
Still, it takes months and months of healthy eating habits, exercise, movement, and an overall wholesome lifestyle to make that excess weight gradually disappear. The biggest contribution has to come from your side.
#2 – You Can Eat Anything You Want From Now On
No, definitely not. The fact that your stomach is half its latest size or you have a brand-new and well-tuned digestive system doesn’t mean that you can put anything in your mouth that looks edible.
Bariatric surgery simply cuts down the sizes of your portions, so since you can eat multiple times less than before, it’s now more important than ever to be very cautious and selective on what to eat. You simply don’t want to use up all the space on things that are high in calories but provide your body with a minimal amount of valuable nutrients.
In fact, during the first few weeks, your diet will be solely based on liquids, purees, and other soft foods. More solid foods come to the game after the early months, but you want to avoid high fat and sugar or spicy and fried foods even then. The reason is simple – constipation is a common occurrence after weight-loss surgeries, and eating lightly and healthily helps you to avoid it.
Even if you have fully hit your ideal weight target and think about celebrating it with a proper “food-coma,” you want to be careful not to fall back to the old tracks because, on average, patients gain back some of their weight in the first few years. Reasons? Not following the guidelines and diet and exercise plan that their surgeon set them.
#3 – You Can Go Back to Your Old Habits and Addictions
This misconception circles back to the last point regarding eating habits. Falling back to your old habits keeps you from achieving your goals, especially easily avoidable habits, such as drinking and smoking.
Since your digestive system is modified, alcohol stays longer in your body, meaning that getting sober takes more time, and the risk of becoming more addicted to alcohol increases. Unfortunately, this also leads you one step closer to depression and other mental and physical disorders.
So keep in mind that the surgery alone won’t help you lose weight and keep it off. No matter what weight-loss surgery you opt for, it requires a life-long commitment. This means changes in daily eating and exercise patterns and ultimately saying goodbye to smoking and drinking. Without that commitment, it’s likely to regain weight over time.
#4 – You Will Naturally Have a Trimmed and Toned Body
Sounds good, but there isn’t a guarantee for that. After losing a remarkable amount of weight over a short time, your skin will likely start to sag in some parts of your body. However, this depends on the patient’s traits, such as age, genetics, weight loss, exercise activity, and smoking history.
Loose skin around your thighs, breasts, tummy, or under your arms may or may not bother you. In case you would like to trim it off, then plastic surgery, such as tummy tuck, is a procedure that can help you achieve that.
However, if you focus on strength-training exercises after the surgery that tightens and tones your skin and muscles, you may be able to prevent problems regarding extra, sagging skin.
#5 – Your Relationships, Moods, and Emotions Are Not Affected
Several things can change after weight-loss surgery, and relationships are not different. Changes can happen in your relationships with your friends, partner, and even yourself.
Mood swings, emotional rollercoasters, and negative self-talk –– in your head or out loud, for example, about the number of pounds you should be losing or the food you ate but shouldn’t have –– are typical. Unfortunately, they can hurt the way you see and think about yourself. However, staying mentally strong throughout the healing and transforming can make you thrive.
For instance, two Swedish cohort studies had shown that people who were in a bad relationship before the weight-loss journey lost an enormous amount of weight and gained confidence that helped them walk away from their troubled relationship. On the other hand, singles who opt for the weight-loss procedure tend to find a partner more likely and easily.
All in all, as much as you transform physically after the weight-loss surgery, as much you change mentally.
Now that some of the myths regarding weight-loss surgeries have been eliminated, it’s time to get in touch with the bariatric surgery experts and take the first steps to a healthier and happier life.