Successfully Manage Stress After Bariatric Surgery

Achieving your weight loss goals should be an exciting and positive experience. However, it is not uncommon for bariatric patients to feel anxious about their physical transformation during their weight loss journey. 

If not properly managed, stress and anxiety can take a toll on your emotional well-being and your weight loss results, as many patients turn to overeating and other unhealthy coping methods. The Tijuana Bariatric Center in Tijuana, Mexico provides multiple resources to help you successfully manage stress after bariatric surgery. 

Why Many Patients Become Stressed

Despite feeling positive about the initial signs of weight loss, you may also experience anxiety or depression regarding the many changes you face. Patients often cite several factors contributing to increased stress after bariatric surgery, including the following:

  • Adjusting to New Eating Habits – Many patients who undergo weight loss surgery have complicated relationships with food. The realization that you may not be able to eat some of your favorite foods or cannot enjoy large meals can lead to feelings of sadness. Learning new eating behaviors and following a bariatric diet may seem daunting. Keeping a food journal can help bariatric patients identify where they are successful and where they need to improve to achieve long-term weight loss.
  • Insomnia – Many bariatric surgery patients suffer from insomnia after their procedure, leading to daytime fatigue, depression, and difficulty engaging in regular tasks. Sleep deprivation can further increase stress levels. Set a bedtime, respect it, and have family members and friends support you. If you still have difficulty sleeping, try breathing exercises before bed. Taking slow, deep breaths can help clear your mind so you can get adequate sleep.
  • Unrealistic Expectations – While bariatric surgery can help patients achieve their ideal weight, some individuals have unrealistic expectations about the effects on other aspects of their lives, such as romantic relationships. Despite losing weight, patients may also continue to struggle with a negative body image.
  • Social Anxiety – Some weight loss surgery patients experience anxiety surrounding social interactions if they are not ready to show off or discuss their dramatic transformation. This may cause you to isolate yourself from friends and loved ones, affecting your overall happiness. While many people will compliment you, you may worry that some will judge you. To avoid feeling insecure, share your weight loss journey only with those you trust. Remember, you don't have to share anything that makes you uncomfortable.
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Overeating – The Most Common Emotional Coping Mechanism

It can be challenging to cope with stress while trying to balance all the changes in your life. However, it is essential that you gain control over anxiety and negative emotions, as these can adversely impact not only your mental health but also your weight loss journey. One of the most common ways post-surgical stress can manifest is the urge to overeat. Giving in to this craving can have several adverse effects on patients, including:

  • Weight regain
  • Pain, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Negative emotions, such as guilt
  • Additional unhealthy eating habits

Fortunately, there are many ways to manage your stress in a healthy manner.
You are not alone in your weight loss journey. Finding a support system can help ensure your success.

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Stress Management

Proven techniques to successfully manage stress after bariatric surgery include:

  • Regular Exercise – When the urge strikes to engage in an unhealthy activity like overeating, turn to exercise to curb the behavior and increase endorphins. Exercise can make you feel calmer and happier, aiding in stress management. Even short walks can do wonders for your emotional well-being.
  • Controlling Accessible Foods – If overeating is your go-to response when stressed, remove the temptation from your home. Replace unhealthy comfort foods like processed carbohydrates with choices that provide the necessary nutrition. Keeping a food journal can help you avoid bad choices.
  • Engage in an Activity You Enjoy – When you are stressed, find time to do something you enjoy, such as reading, crafting, or watching a movie. Engaging in a hobby can take your mind off troubling thoughts.
  • Speak to a Mental Health Professional – If you feel constantly overwhelmed, speaking to a mental health professional can help you understand your feelings and emotional changes and find a personalized way of relieving and managing stress. Positive thinking, such as remembering your goals and the effect of bariatric treatment on your quality of life and longevity, can also help. 
    Conflicting emotions are normal after weight loss surgery. You're making significant lifestyle changes, and getting used to your new reality takes time. Approximately 25% of bariatric patients experience depression or another mood disorder. Many people react differently than they expected as they transform their lives. Don't feel ashamed to seek support.

The Importance of Social Support After Surgery

It is important to remember you are not alone in your weight loss journey. Finding a support system can help ensure your success by reducing your stress level. With the assistance and guidance of bariatric support groups, patients can freely discuss their personal journey and seek advice on some of their critical questions regarding exercise, weight plateaus, breaking old habits, and other issues they may have on their weight loss journey.

By establishing a support group, patients can find comfort, motivation, and the positivity necessary to keep them focused on their weight loss journey. As more and more patients undergo weight loss surgery, more support group options have become available. Online forums can be a great alternative or supplement to local groups with in-person meetings. Cyberspace support groups can also make sharing personal stories easier and they are great for patients with tight schedules.

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What Should I Look For in a Support Group?

A quality bariatric support group will offer more than just social and emotional support. It can provide an excellent opportunity for education, sometimes with a structured agenda covering scheduled topic presentations and discussions. Other groups focus on activities to help weight loss surgery patients to reinforce the fundamental principles and concepts of the bariatric surgery journey that are sometimes difficult for lay people to understand.

Many support group sessions have guest speakers. You may encounter speakers such as a dietitian to help with food issues and water intake, surgeons to speak about the different procedures available, and psychologists and fitness professionals. Other guests may present information on topics like grooming, dating, and cooking. These sessions can provide invaluable education and information, resulting in well-rounded knowledge for long-term health and weight loss success.

My highest weight was 344 lbs. I had LAP-Band surgery and had a few minor complications. I decided on having revision surgery and came across a few doctors. I researched but didn't like any of them until I came across Dr. Garcia. I was treated with respect and care when I made my appointment to have my revision surgery and once I arrived I was treated with respect, love, and care. I arrived at 284 lbs the day before surgery and now one year later I am down 75lbs. I am so pleased I decided to go with Dr. Garcia. He did a great job with my revision from LAP-Band to sleeve. Having my revision surgery saved my life and was the best decision I ever made! Now it's my one-year surgiversary. I am 209 lbs. Boom!

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Involve Friends and Family

The healthy habits and lifestyle changes after bariatric surgery require patience, dedication, and consistency. Encouragement from family and friends when experiencing physical and mental changes will help you through struggles when you hit weight plateaus and need to get back on track. Patients undergoing these physical and mental changes are advised to seek encouragement from family members and friends. Those closest to you can become excellent sources of emotional and physical support when needed.

Discussing Lifestyle Changes with Loved Ones

Self-preparation, both mental and physical, is essential to your overall recovery, but preparing friends, family members, and those closest to you is also necessary. Prior to the surgery, weight loss surgery patients should discuss what to expect before, during, and after bariatric surgery. Lifestyle changes are an easy place to start.

Your new, healthier diet may differ from what some friends and family are used to.

For example, letting your sister know you'd prefer she not bring your favorite triple-chocolate cake to your next birthday party can help you avoid temptation. In addition, you can replace activities that have become routines in relationships, such as going out for ice cream or drinking at a favorite bar with cooking more home meals or joining the gym near your house to exercise.

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Join Our Private Facebook Support Group

Bariatric surgery is a lifetime commitment. That's why Tijuana Bariatric Center offers all clients an active Facebook support group. It's a great place to have your questions answered, receive encouragement, and share your struggles and achievements. 

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Why Choose Tijuana Bariatric Center?

At Tijuana Bariatric Center, our remarkable 98% success rate across all procedures is due to the expertise, skill, and precision of our intrepid team of board-certified bariatric surgeons. With over 10,000 surgeries performed, we are leaders in the weight loss field, helping patients to reclaim their quality of life, self-confidence, and well-being.

Our core mission goes beyond standard medical care. We have created a holistic and transformative process where every individual receives a uniquely tailored treatment plan, access to top-tier nutritional counseling, and extensive follow-up. Our vision is not merely that patients will lose weight. We want to ignite in them a renewed zest for life and the feeling that anything is possible. 

Another aspect of our mission is to make bariatric surgery affordable for those who need it most. Our pricing is transparent and we offer financing. Our easily accessible location in Tijuana makes medical tourism a viable option, allowing qualified patients to take advantage of our life-saving services for a fraction of the cost they might pay in the United States, Canada, or Europe.

Call today or set up your appointment online. We are excited to meet with you and help you get started on your weight loss adventure.

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