Fear is a natural tendency of human beings whenever the body must undergo a change. Let alone bariatric surgery; most people are even afraid of enduring something as serious as ‘surgery’.
It is normal to fear the unknown or uncertainties. But unreasonable fears are uncalled for. They can unnecessarily disturb both the physical & mental balance.
Some common fears about weight loss surgery –
- The results are not apparent immediately after the surgery which throws some amount of uncertainty in the prospective patients’ minds
- Some are concerned if they are a suitable candidate for the procedure
- Some may be facing pressure from family & friends not to have the surgery
- Undergoing bariatric surgery means a complete turnaround of lifestyle. Patients fear change.
- Some have a fear of failure and weight regain
- Patients also fear the potential complications after the surgery and what the changes can mean to them in the long-term
One thing both the patients & families must realise is, a decision is finally being made to improve the health and quality of life of the obese individual and his/her loved ones. This is something which the family & friends must support with all heart.
Despite the scientific evidence and proven records of millions who have benefitted from the surgery, there are still fears and concerns over bariatric surgery. The fear and anxiety often stem from the lack of knowledge & awareness about the procedure.
Here are a few tips for coping with anxiety before the surgery –
- Attend an information session
Proper understanding of the surgery, what to expect of it, what not to expect, what is realistic, are things that you will get clarity on in the first place. During the information session, you are educated with answers to common but long-standing questions like
- Why you are obese
- Would diet & exercise work for your body type
- Is surgery an option
- What are its risks & benefits
- Why bariatric surgery and the process of weight loss is a long-term commitment etc.
Make sure you bring your supporters along, like your spouse, parents, siblings or a friend to get a definite insight about the process & procedure. Just like your surgeon, they are your partners in the weight loss process. You will need their complete support to achieve your weight loss goals.
- Talk to your bariatric surgeon
Research your surgeon thoroughly. Take that next step of fixing an appointment with the surgeon with a successful track record. There are instances where you could have formed your views based on flawed information from family, friends, or colleagues. It is only your surgeon who can genuinely hear out your anxieties, provide an individualized assessment, and come up with a real solution in an evidence-based manner.
- Talk to support groups
It is essential to talk to people who are or have been in the same situation. The very thought of the surgery can mentally pull you down. It is important to downplay the emotional aspects of the operation and learn from here are the patients who have been there done that. They will be able to share their experience and help you set realistic goals. This, in many ways, boosts confidence to proceed with surgery and plan the post-op routine appropriately.
In essence, bariatric surgery is a commitment for life. Weight loss is teamwork supported by your surgeon, your family, friends, and most importantly, your perseverance to meet your goals. Get the right information from the right people and keep your unjustified fears at bay.