4 Tips for Maintaining Your Focus Before & After Weight Loss Surgery
Overcoming lifelong struggles with weight following surgery can have many positive life-changing results. For some people, this means long-term remission from type 2 diabetes and relief from chronic joint pain. Other patients may benefit from increased energy and improved fertility. Yet the weight loss surgery experience sometimes contributes to added anxiety and stress that can make it difficult to properly heal and recover. Use the following tips as a guide to maintain your mental focus.
1. Have Realistic Expectations
You’re not going to wake up following surgery as a totally new you. It’s perfectly normal to gradually reach a point where you become more confident over time as excess pounds are lost. Even with more complex surgeries that severely restrict food intake, it can take anywhere from six months to a year or more to reach weight loss goals. It’s also normal to have periods where weight loss progress slows down or levels off. Knowing what you can expect with your procedure can help you maintain a positive and healthy frame of mind.
2. Build Your Personal Support Network
No matter how independent you may be, there will be times as you recover when you are faced with a flood of emotions. For instance, you may have days when your confidence needs a boost. Or there may be times when you just need somebody to listen to you talk about what’s on your mind. This is why it can be helpful to have a reliable support network of family members and friends both before and after your procedure.
3. Consider Mindful Exercise
What’s termed mindful exercise refers to exercise done for the purpose of relaxation. Also referred to as rhythmic exercise, it involves any repetitious movements that can also be relaxing. It’s also something you can do before and after surgery with activities that may include walking, swimming, or even dancing. Mindful exercise also requires you to focus on the sensations of your movements so you can “turn off” any negative or unproductive thoughts by blocking them mentally.
4. Explore Yoga and Other Controlled Movement Disciplines
The movements associated with disciplines like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are slow and controlled enough that most weight loss surgery patients can safely do them after the initial healing period. An added benefit associated with such disciplines is the promotion of overall mind-body relaxation. Yoga, in particular, has been linked to an overall enhancement of mood, which may be enough to reduce your odds of experiencing post-surgery stress and anxiety.
It’s important to be both emotionally and physically prepared for weight loss surgery. Should you have any lingering doubts or anxieties beforehand, talk to your doctor. If it’s clear you are dealing with serious depression or anxiety issues, including some that might have contributed to your weight gain in the first place, you may be referred to a counselor or therapist. You may also benefit from mental relaxation techniques such as mindful meditation, deep breathing, or visualization.