Duh, right? You chose gastric sleeve in Mexico because you were tired of being overweight and wanted to live at a healthy weight—perhaps for the first time ever. While weight loss is the most obvious goal for bariatric patients, the journey is almost always about much more than just nudging the scale downward. And when stalls hit or you’re simply tempted to give up on your gastric sleeve diet altogether, it helps to remember the underlying reasons you sought out VSG.
Maybe some of these scenarios ring a bell.
- Relationship changes.There seems to be a common thread that runs through the obese population: They put everyone else’s needs above their own. Is that something that happens as a result of the weight, or does the weight pile on because of the mindset? I don’t know. What I can tell you is that many people who struggle with their weight also struggle with creating and maintaining healthy relationships. Maybe it’s feeling unworthy of finding a partner who truly loves and supports you. Maybe it’s a dysfunctional family dynamic wherein you’ve been bullied or dismissed by your parents or siblings your entire life. Maybe it’s “friendships” where you’re always giving, while others are always taking. Or, perhaps, it’s all of the above. What I’ve observed is that getting to a healthy weight is an almost magical way to makeover relationships. Scary? Yes. But getting rid of unhealthy relationships—and demanding to feel valued by those who remain in your life—is a welcome side effect of vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
- Career changes. Life interpersonal relationships, many overweight and obese people settle for the job they think they deserve, rather than the career that will truly fulfill them. They may not feel like they deserve to be happy in their jobs because they’re not (strong enough, good enough, disciplined enough) when it comes to their health. Mobility and energy issues can also play a role here. A desk job may be the only thing you’re physically able to do when you’re carrying around hundreds of extra pounds. When that weight disappears, however, you’re lightened up physically as well as mentally. It allows you to consider what you really want to do in your professional life. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a nurse but felt like you would be a poor example to patients or couldn’t do it physically. Or maybe you enjoy the job you have but have been reluctant to ask for a much-deserved raise or promotion. Again, one happy side effect of significant weight loss through VSG is, often, an ability to advocate for yourself in the workplace.
- Family changes.Did you know that infertility is a leading reason women seek out weight loss surgery? Particularly for PCOS patients, gastric sleeve can be an incredibly effective way to reverse the symptoms and finally conceive that much-wanted addition to your family. But changing your family doesn’t always mean a new baby. It can mean altering the way your current family functions. Do you want to be a better example for your children of what health and happiness look like? Do you want to help them enjoy physical activity and start fun new traditions (like family soccer games in the backyard)? Learning new ways to eat and stay active with the Endobariatric family can lead to a huge shift in the way your family lives and loves.
- Lifestyle changes. By this I mean the way you live your life, both day to day and in extraordinary moments. Many of my patients talk about dreams like traveling or picking up a specific hobby that doesn’t seem possible at their current weight. If you need a seatbelt extender to fly or are carrying an extra 100 pounds that makes walking difficult, your lifelong dream of exploring Italy sounds fairly impossible. Or maybe you love to sing and have visions of joining a community choir—or starting a band!—but wouldn’t feel comfortable with lots of eyes on you while you’re battling obesity. Travel and hobbies may seem like small things, but they can actually play a major role in your overall happiness.
Weight loss is usually about more than just wearing a smaller pant size. So take a minute and remember why you really made the decision to get VSG. Now use that motivation to push toward your goals!
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.