Ramsay Health Care UK | 3/08/2016
How to Help Your Loved One Before and After Weight Loss Surgery
If your loved one has decided to have weight loss surgery it’s extremely important that you give them all the support and encouragement that they need bothbefore surgery, afterwards and throughout their lifetime. They are much more likely to reach their weight loss milestones and achieve lasting success inmaintaining their desired weight and a healthier lifestyle with the knowledge that you are fully behind them in their decision.
Here’s some advice on how to be the best support system you can be.
1. Educate yourself
You will need to know the facts about obesity and gain a good understanding about bariatric surgery, the options available to your loved one, their chosenweight loss surgery and their reasons for making this life changing decision. Weight loss surgery is not an easy choice for your loved one and the path tosuccess will undoubtedly be a rollercoaster.
Make yourself aware of the limitations following bariatric surgery and reflect on how these could be made easier for your loved one. For example, yourloved one will need to eat slower after surgery so be patient and allow more time for meals.
2. Attend open evenings, support groups and appointments with your loved one
Open evenings offer an excellent opportunity to learn about bariatric surgery and to ask questions in an informal setting. Often you’ll have the chance tomeet the surgeon and the team too.
Support groups provide a comfortable way to learn more about bariatric surgery. Patients who have had weight loss surgery often attend, so you can hearfirst-hand their experiences, helping further your understanding of what your loved one can expect or may be going through. Also having a forum where youcan share information and experiences with a support network that offers mutual emotional support and understanding for both you and your loved one can beinvaluable.
Attend aftercare appointments with your loved one. By actively participating in their weight loss journey shows how much you care whilst also providing youwith helpful information along the way that will allow you to have more knowledgeable discussions and a greater understanding.
3. Keep the conversation going
Life after weight loss surgery can cause strain on relationships as your partner changes physically as well as emotionally. A change in weight and healthcan bring uncertainty to a relationship as roles and responsibilities shift and evolve. Share your feelings and talk about how you can make changestogether.
4. Offer emotional support
Your loved one may experience many different emotional states during their weight loss journey including anxiety and depression. They may feel anxiousabout having surgery and keeping to a new lifestyle forever. After excessive weight loss they may feel extra confidence with their new body or feelvulnerable or afraid. They may become depressed when the reality of life after weight loss surgery does not exactly match their hopes and expectationsbefore surgery. They may miss social rituals such as eating out with friends. They may get tired of keeping to their diet and exercise program.
Your emotional support during these ups and downs will help your loved one get through them. Having someone to share their feelings with, who will listenand understand them whilst offering love and support will help lift them to higher ground so that they have the strength to continue.
5. Eliminate temptation
Many people must go on a special, very low calorie diet before having weight loss surgery to lose excess fat stored in the liver and enable the surgeon tocarry out the operation. After the weight loss surgery it’s essential that your loved one follows specific eating guidelines given to them by theirbariatric surgeon or dietician.
You can help your loved one to avoid temptation by keeping nutritious foods on hand and not bringing provisions into the house that your loved shouldn’teat. Initially you might avoid pastimes that revolve around eating, such as holidays or meeting friends in a restaurant. Instead you could suggest newchallenges such as walking a distance that your loved one has not been able to do whilst being obese or inviting friends round to your home for some broth.
6. Dieting together
It may prove valuable for you and your loved one to diet together. If you only eat foods that are inclusive of your loved ones strict diet they will bemore likely to stick to their new healthy eating habits. They will appreciate your support, commitment and dedication to helping them achieve their goals.
7. Encourage regular physical activity
Your loved one will need to make substantial changes to their lifestyle and at times they may not feel like continuing doing the exercise required toensure their weight loss continues. Often weight loss surgery patients reach a plateau and your support during this time will help them get over thishurdle. Become an active partner by participating in their exercise program. Offer to go for walks or bike rides with them. Often sharing a new activitytogether is far more enjoyable and both of you will benefit from being more active.
8. Offer help
Talk to your loved one and find out if there is something they need or if they are struggling with a particular aspect of their new lifestyle. Together youcan decipher how to make it more manageable. For example, they may be struggling with their workload and new lifestyle balance and you may be able to helprelieve them of some household chores to free up time for them to plan their diet and follow their exercise plan.
9. Focus on the positive and celebrate success
Always try to be positive and enthusiastic about your loved ones achievements, celebrating their successes along the way as they achieve weight lossmilestones or embrace new lifestyle activities.
It can be difficult to change lifelong habits and your loved one will have good days and bad days on their weight loss journey. Acknowledging the changesthat your loved one has already made and offering encouragement and support will help to keep them on track.
Read more weight loss surgery blog posts to find answers to the most common questions including: exercise after weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery after weight loss surgery etc.
About Ramsay Health Care Weight Loss Surgery Services
Ramsay Health Care is a leading provider of weight loss surgery in the UK. Highly qualified and experienced bariatric surgeons, who have undergoneintensive specialist training in their speciality, perform a full range of weight loss procedures within Ramsay Hospitals.
A 3 year aftercare programme to assist with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes throughout a patient’s weight loss journey is provided by amultidisciplinary team of nutritionists, clinical behaviourists and physiotherapists.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss the aftercare process or require more information from one of our specialists.