Weight loss procedures are becoming increasingly popular, owing to the increase in cases of obesity around the world. Amidst this surge, bariatric surgery has emerged as a compelling option for morbid obesity, eclipsing traditional remedies like dietary advice, exercise, lifestyle changes, and medication.
According to Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, a bariatric surgeon, the surgery has “become an acceptable treatment option in India with more and more people coming forward to get it done.” She has previously told indianexpress.com that the post-surgery period, however, needs a series of dietary and behavioural changes.
Dr Neerja, psychologist and co-founder, Emoneeds, also feels similarly saying that the scales of success often tip unevenly for patients. “While some find solace in this surgical path, others grapple with the ghosts of weight loss, maintenance, and the haunting spectre of body image discontent.”
Here are some of the things people who have undergone these procedures struggle with.
Struggling with self-esteem
As many as one in five people gain at least 15 per cent of their weight back in the years following their procedure, according to a 2022 study published in Springer.
When the dream of a complete life overhaul post-surgery doesn’t align with the “ideal image” constructed by society, it can birth psychological strife, ushering in depression, anxiety, and unrelenting stress in the lives of patients. Worse still, old habits can creep back in, as patients seek refuge in sugary and junk-laden comforts.
Most people experience what doctors call, “buyer’s remorse” as a result of their recovery struggles. The tight guidelines they must follow while they learn how to eat and drink with their new stomach may have seemed worthwhile during the planning phase, but now that they must follow these limits, it’s more stressful than they anticipated.
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Changing relationship with food
Food can no longer be a source of comfort, which might elicit some complicated emotions that individuals have exacerbated for so long by eating. While undergoing a difficult recovery process, bariatric patients may have difficulty absorbing these unpleasant emotions. They may have a strong need to eat, and if they are unable to do so, they will mourn the loss.
“To overcome these emotional rifts, tailored therapeutic approaches hold the promise of nurturing mental well-being after bariatric surgery, supporting patients in their pursuit of healthier, more fulfilling lives,” said Neerja.
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