Are You Mentally Prepared for Gastric Sleeve?

You’ve got your physician picked out for gastric sleeve in Mexico and have figured out the cost. Good for you! But it’s only when things are officially booked that you may pay attention to whether you’re mentally and emotionally prepared for VSG as well. The truth is that weight loss is at least as much a mental undertaking as it is physical. Knowing that, read through and assess your state of mind regarding these important elements.

Are you being realistic?
I wish I could tell each patient exactly how much they’ll lose—and how quickly. There are, of course, plenty of ways to influence this process, but even if you’re doing everything “perfectly,” there are still plenty of variables. Because shedding excess weight is the primary reason for bariatric surgery in Mexico, it’s normal for patients to wonder what their own experience will be. Realistically, you’ll lose most of your weight in the first six to 12 months. Expect it all to be gone in a few months? You’ll be disappointed. Expect that you’ll be the only one that VSG doesn’t work for? You may sabotage your efforts and success. The key is to set realistic goals about overall weight loss, work the steps I give you, and be patient.

In addition to being realistic about weight loss, I encourage all potential patients to understand that vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a lifestyle—not a short-term solution to a problem. What’s the difference? Whereas there’s usually an end to a diet, there’s no end to a lifestyle. To achieve and then maintain your weight loss, you’ll be working with your new tool for the rest of your life. You’ll undoubtedly modify your gastric sleeve diet a bit as you move from losing weight to maintaining that loss, but it’s unrealistic to believe that you can return to bad habits once the weight is off. So are you ready to make a lifetime commitment to your health?

Is your support network in place?
To tell or not to tell: that’s often the question. Some patients tell the whole world they’re undergoing VSG, while others don’t tell a soul. I have no opinion on the former, but I advise against the latter. Having at least one person you can confide in can be invaluable as you navigate the ups and downs of your journey. They can help you stay accountable, pick you up when you need a boost, and even partner with you on an exercise regimen. Social support is optional (though recommended). What’s not optional, however, is having medical support in place. I wish Endobariatric could be a one-stop destination for all things medical, but the truth is that you’ll need a physician at home who can monitor things like adequate vitamin and mineral intake, adjust your meds as your health improves, etc. If you can find a practitioner who supports and understands bariatric surgery, that’s even better. Either way, have a doctor in place before coming to Mexico.

Are you prepared to confront addictions?
Many VSG patients are food addicts; some have turned to food as a source of comfort due to trauma in their lives. Both of these things put you at greater risk for developing other kinds of addictions. Once you remove food as a crutch, you need to replace it with something healthy or else you’ll be in danger of succumbing to things as bad as—or even worse than—food. Alcohol, unfortunately, can become a problem for some bariatric patients for the first time in their lives after surgery. If you know you have a food addiction, I always recommend therapy with a counselor who specializes in addiction. If you believe that you have a tendency toward addiction or a family history of addiction in any form, work on healthy coping skills before your VSG. When food cravings arise, what will you do? Make a list of activities you enjoy, people to call, or relaxation strategies that have proven to be effective for you.

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If you want a more personalized experience and you have Instagram and Tik Tok, follow me (Dr. Alvarez) to see my day both in my daily routine and in the operating room, add me! We will have a great time! My username in both is: gmoalvarez.

“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.