How Weight Loss Affects Body Image

May 1, 2011

Turn on the television or pick up a magazine and you will most likely see images that have contributed to our country’s often distorted view of body image. “Thinner is better” is often the message. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. The average American is not a size 0 and nor should we expect to be.

After surgery, patients experience a major change in their bodies. In a relatively short amount of time, they can lose a considerable amount of weight. However, what they see in the mirror may be different than what everyone else sees. While every patient is different, researchers have been studying body image after weight loss surgery. Although they don’t weigh what they used to, many patients (especially women) still struggle with weight issues. They still “feel” overweight and worry about their image – this worry is often unfounded.

While it is understandable to have these feelings, as most patients have struggled with their weight for a long time, it is also important to eliminate them before they become more pronounced and lead to greater psychological problems such as anorexia, bulimia or anxiety. With counseling, patients are often able to overcome these thoughts and appreciate the great successes that they have achieved after surgery.

As it has been said before, psychological health is just as important as physical health. Be sure to talk to your bariatric surgery team before AND after surgery. They can give you real life expectations for weight loss and through support groups you can learn the tried and true skills to cope with whatever post-surgical life throws your way.  But remember, it doesn’t happen overnight so enjoy your new life but don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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Advanced Surgical Associates is one of the first exclusively surgical groups practicing in Union County New Jersey. And that is just the first of many firsts for ASA. For over 40 years, we have pioneered breakthrough surgical patient care in North Jersey in both general and weight loss surgery. ASA also offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding to those suffering from obesity in New Jersey.
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