There are many side effects of weight loss surgery. Some of these side effects are physical: eating less, food intolerance, bathroom issues, hair falling out, just to name a few. You can find a lot of information on these side effects in your research and I’ll discuss those in a future post. The side effects that are not as commonly mentioned are the mental side effects of going through this rapid physical change. Two of those consist of depression and grieving.
When I first had the surgery, I suffered most from depression and grief. The grieving process was getting past my old life – mainly eating when I wanted as much as I wanted. I would see Olive Garden commercials and cry. I thought I would never eat again or be able to enjoy food ever again. The depression was also due to this in some parts, but depression immediately after surgery happens due to a physical process. Your body is loosing weight at such a rapid rate that it is dumping hormones in to your body from the stored fat and creates almost a situation of baby blues times 10! This happens mostly to women, but can happen to men as well.
Depression also sets in when you feel left out of functions that revolve around food. You have to re-learn how to socialize and how to not focus on food being the primary entertainment for you at these functions. For some, this can be difficult. This is one reason why it is key to have a good support system.
As you get further away from surgery, things begin to level out physically. The hormone dumps aren’t happening and you are not longer grieving. You begin to see that you can enjoy this new life and enjoy eating again. For me, it was around 6 months out that I saw that I was going to be able to be “normal” when it came to eating for the most part. I still have to watch certain foods and allow myself plenty of time to eat.
Other issues can arise after weight loss surgery such as body image issues and even an identity crisis of sorts. I’ll explain that in a future post so stay tuned!