Bariatric weight loss surgery is a life-altering decision that many people take as their last attempt at lasting change. It’s not a topic without controversy, especially among those of us who work in the field of eating disorders. However, I firmly believe it’s not my place to dictate what someone should or shouldn’t do. Instead, my role is to provide the best possible support for individuals embarking on this journey.
I can only imagine the weight stigma and shame endured by those living with higher body weights. It’s an experience that can be incredibly isolating and challenging. The desire to lose weight is understandable, and for many, bariatric weight loss surgery can indeed be life-changing. But it’s essential to remember that this decision is never taken lightly.
Weight loss surgery and disordered eating
Many individuals who opt for weight loss surgery have a history of disordered eating. Interestingly, the prevalence of BED is significantly higher among individuals seeking bariatric surgery. According to a study published on December 5, 2019, approximately 15.7% of patients pursuing weight loss surgery have been diagnosed with BED, compared to just 2.6% in the general population. This suggests that a substantial proportion of those opting for bariatric surgery struggle with binge eating.
Bariatric surgery won’t fix this issue; instead, it requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach for a better outcome. This means understanding your history with food and eating, identifying triggers for overeating, developing healthier coping mechanisms for emotional distress, and creating sustainable dietary and lifestyle changes.
Research shows that preoperative psychological evaluations are crucial for predicting postoperative outcomes. In one study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, researchers found that patients with untreated psychological issues were more likely to regain weight after surgery.
Another study in the Archives of Surgery highlighted the importance of ongoing psychological support after bariatric surgery. They found that patients who received regular counselling experienced less emotional distress, improved dietary adherence, and better overall quality of life.
These studies underscore the vital role psychological support plays in the journey of weight loss surgery. It’s not just about the physical transformation; it’s equally about mental and emotional well-being.
Support for weight loss surgery
If you’re considering weight loss surgery or have undergone the procedure and feel the need for psychological support, I’m here to help. I understand that this journey extends far beyond the operating room and involves an ongoing process of adjustment and change.
I offer a safe space to discuss your experiences, fears, and hopes. Together, we can navigate your path towards a healthier life, addressing not just your physical health but also your emotional well-being.
Remember, it’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to admit that this journey is challenging. You don’t have to do it alone. If you’re interested in exploring how psychological support can enhance your journey with bariatric surgery, I invite you to book a discovery call with me.
In conclusion, bariatric surgery is not merely a physical intervention. It’s a complex process that requires comprehensive care, including robust psychological support. By acknowledging and addressing these needs, we can ensure that individuals pursuing this path have the best chance at long-term success and overall well-being.
The decision to undergo weight loss surgery is deeply personal and requires courage. To all those who’ve taken this step or are contemplating it, remember, you’re not alone. There’s support available, and together, we can make this journey a transformative one. If you feel like you need support with this decision or anything else, please feel free to get in touch for a chat to see how I can support you.
1. LeMont, D., Moorehead, M.K., Parish, M.S., Reto, C.S., & Ritz, S.J. (2004). Suggestions for the pre-surgical psychological assessment of bariatric surgery candidates. American Society for Bariatric Surgery. 2. Livhits, M., Mercado, C., Yermilov, I., Parikh, J.A., Dutson, E., Mehran, A., Ko, C.Y., & Gibbons, M.M. (2012). Is social support associated with greater weight loss after bariatric surgery?: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 13(2), 142-148. 4. https://www.healthline.com/health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder-statistics