By Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri
“I’ve lost more than a hundred pounds and shop in the regular size clothing department, so why do I still feel like that large person I was before surgery?”
Most of you have also experienced these types of thoughts–
“That size would never fit me.”
“I’m too big–he would never ask me out on a date.”
Logically, you look in the mirror and see a big change. But it often takes time for the brain to catch up to your new appearance and lifestyle. During this adjustment phase, your body image perception in your own mind may be distorted or clinging to the previous version of you.
Mental health professions refer to this normal phase the weight loss as “double vision.”
Because the previous perception of yourself is deeply ingrained in your mind, it’s going to take some adjustment to reconcile the significant physical change, especially after bariatric surgery when weight reduction is more rapid.
How Other People Handle Your Weight Loss
The people in your life – spouse, parents, extended family, friends, colleagues and classmates – also need to adjust to the ‘new you.’ Most of us are a little uncomfortable with change, even when it doesn’t happen to us directly.
So be prepared for people to say and do the wrong thing, maybe more than once, when recognizing your appearance. Over time, they will get used to the difference and be more comfortable (and appropriate) when speaking about it.
How to Manage the Adjustment Period
First and foremost, understand that this phase is temporary. While you transition to a healthier body, find ways to celebrate why this change is positive and life-changing, such as:
• It’s so much easier to tie your shoes.
• Those clothes shoved in the back of your closet fit beautifully.
• It’s easier to slip into a booth at a restaurant.
• Getting in/out of the car is a breeze.
• You find yourself more open to going out and being social.
Taking time to privately acknowledge each of these changes is called self-talk, which helps your brain accept the changes that are happening and adopt them as the new normal.
Make no mistake–major weight loss is a life change on par with getting a new job, moving to a new home or even getting married. Give yourself a little time to settle into this new life and before you know it, you’ll be trying on those smaller size pants, only to discover they are too big.
Transitioning to an improved body image is part of your life-changing bariatric journey. And journeys don’t happen overnight. Just being aware of this temporary confusion can help speed you to the actualization of your hard-earned success.
The Bariatric Weight Loss Journey:
From Pre-Op to Post-Op and Beyond
Our Sterling Surgicare bariatric team will be along with you during your weight loss journey. We believe that the operation you have is only a small part of the lifestyle changes you will make over the course of the next six months, a year, and beyond.
We’ve created a customized flow chart (below) that explains, in detail, the steps and phases you will go through as you regain control of your weight, and learn the tools needed to keep the weight off–forever.
Have questions? Call us anytime at (732) 217-3897 and speak to our friendly and respectful team of bariatric experts.