- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
What Life After Gastric Bypass Surgery Is Really Like
So what is life after gastric bypass surgery really like?
It's become one of the most popular weapons in the war against obesity, with approximately 150,000 people undergoing the procedure every year in the US alone. And hundreds of thousands more are seriously considering it.
And why not? It's billed as a safe, easy solution to a problem that often seems impossible to solve. Morbidly obese people are almost never able to lose all the extra weight they carry. Statistically, the best most can do is to lose 10% of their excess. And 95% of the time, those pounds come right back in almost no time.
Yet with gastric bypass surgery, patients lose an average of 50 - 80% of their excess weight, and generally are able to keep it off.
Those success statistics are all that most of the general public know about the procedure. It's very hard to find honest, objective information on how life changes, for better and for worse, after gastric bypass.
Because make no mistake, your life does change drastically after gastric bypass surgery. Many patients say that having this surgery is just as big of an upheaval as getting married, or bringing home your first baby. And that's before the weight loss even starts.
Everything about your life changes, or is at least impacted in some way. Many of these changes can be unexpected. And that makes them seem bigger and more traumatic than they really are. People who have a better idea of what to expect are usually much better prepared, and often find the post-op period much less stressful.
After Gastric Bypass, You Eat Differently
That may sound a bit obvious - it is, after all, part of the reason for having weight loss surgery. But it's hard to comprehend beforehand what those changes will be, and more importantly, how their impact will reverberate through the rest of your life.
You already know that the amount of food you can eat will be drastically limited. In the first few months, you may feel full after only a few bites. Eventually, say a year or 18 months after gastric bypass, you should be able to eat about a cup to a cup-and-a-half of food at any one time.
But you won't be able to eat as much as your mind may want. Nor will you be able to tolerate many of the foods you may crave. What you do eat must be taken in slowly, with very small bites that are chewed, chewed, chewed to oblivion.
You're forced to stick to these "rules" by the very painful consequences that happen if you don't. Un-chewed food hurts. Too much food hurts - and comes right back up. The wrong foods can make you sweaty and nauseous ("dumping syndrome.")
These physical consequences are why some people choose gastric bypass in the first place - they feel they won't have to rely on their own weak will power any more.
Even so, the months after gastric bypass can be extremely frustrating as you are forced to make new habits. In many ways it can feel like an addict learning to live without his favorite drug.
Your Relationships Change After Gastric Bypass
It's no surprise that your relationship with food will change after gastric bypass. What does catch many people off guard is the way so many of your personal relationships change.
So much of our lives revolve around food. Family dinners, holidays, dates - all of these events are impacted by your altered ability to eat.
But most surprising of all is often the way others begin to change the way they treat you. As you lose weight, and as you process your new relationship with food and the attitudes & habits that got you overweight in the first place, you'll probably start feeling a lot more confident.
People who never noticed you before will suddenly take an interest. People you thought were good friends turn into jealous critics. Some relationships will grow stronger. Others will grow apart or even end.
In particular, gastric bypass affects marriage and romantic relationships. The early weeks after surgery can be quite an emotional roller-coaster. And some spouses or parters can become insecure with a newly-attractive and confident partner. It's said that good relationships are made better, bad ones are made weaker.
But they'll all be affected in some way. It can lead to a strange sense of uneasiness, as if your entire life has been built upon shifting sand. So much changes so fast - your appearance, your habits, your attitudes, your energy level - that the changing relationships can make life feel very unstable.
YOU Will Change After Gastric Bypass
You will change in so many more ways than your appearance. Because it's that change - we often call it "brain surgery" that will make you succeed after gastric bypass.
No matter what you may have heard, success and permanent weight loss aren't automatic. It's up to you to change the habits that got you overweight to start with. To learn to eat healthy foods even when your new system learns to tolerate the unhealthy. To be more active even after the "new" wears off your burst of energy.
Because if you don't, you'll eventually end up right back where you started.
Life is drastically different after gastric bypass. But by being prepared for the changes you can make them that much easier. And the end result can be a new, healthier you - inside and out.
Want to learn more about life after gastric bypass? Visit www.gastricbypasstruth.com and learn all about it - the good and the bad - from someone who's living it day by day.