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Body Image: Do You See Your ‘Real Self’ in the Mirror?

By Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri, Medical Director, Sterling Surgicare

I’ve spent more than a decade helping people use metabolic and bariatric weight loss surgery as a tool to lose excess weight and regain health.

One of the motivating factors for surgical weight loss is the fast progression of weight reduction (for people who follow the post-op protocol).

Sometimes these rapid physical transformations confuse the brain, which still ‘sees’ you as you were before having weight loss surgery.

In addition, many people with weight challenges have been told their entire lives that they are fat, unattractive, even unlovable.

It’s understandable they may still believe this, even after losing 50, 100 or even 150 pounds.

 

Their brains have been pre-conditioned to see themselves as huge and unsightly.

Body Image Confusion

Do you still wear clothing that is far too large for your smaller stature?

When you shop, do you naturally head to the largest size in a particular style you like?

Do you still worry about the size of the seats, before you accept or decline a movie or show invitation?

If so, let me assure you, there is nothing wrong with you.

It’s quite common to experience body image distortion challenges throughout the cycle of weight loss.

Conversely, during many office visits with our new patients in Holmdel and Old Bridge, the majority tell me they never truly recognized how large they had become.

Can you relate to this?

The mind is a powerful thing and as we all know, it can help and it can hinder.

Whether you have the gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or another bariatric operation, understand that your weight loss can progress very quickly, due to the reduction of food intake and increased physical exercise.

As a result, the brain sometimes needs some time to catch up to all the changes, and there are many.

When Body Image Becomes Body Dysmorphic Disorder 

On a final note, there is a psychiatric condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), where the person spends many hours daily fixated by an extreme concern about one or more perceived defects in one’s appearance.

The individual may experience such overwhelming distress about their perceived defect that they are unable to focus on anything else.

If you feel this may describe a condition you are experiencing, or feel you cannot accurately assess your weight loss progression, ask us for a mental health professional referral.

Never hesitate to ask any member of our Sterling Surgicare team for help or guidance.

Remember, you are engaged in a life-transforming journey.

Use every resource available to help make your ride as comfortable as possible.

If you are at the beginning of your surgical weight loss journey, or just want to learn more about the process, attend Dr. Adeyeri’s New Patient Seminar and feel free to ask questions.

If you prefer a private consultation with the doctor, call our friendly team at (732) 217-3897 and schedule your appointment at our Old Bridge or Holmdel office.