Do you know someone who has had weight loss surgery or is planning to? Weight loss surgery can be an excellent way for people who struggle with obesity to quickly lose unhealthy weight and improve obesity-related conditions such as high blood pressure. Weight loss surgery is a great and life-changing procedure, but it is also a major operation and one that can take a long time to recover from. Weight loss surgery is only usually performed as a last resort and after a healthy diet and regular exercise has been tried but not helped the individual to lose the weight. As a major surgery, the recovery can be long and difficult, which is why it is important to help an individual in their recovery. Here is a complete guide to how you can do this.
Understand the Surgery
First, it is important that you have a clear understanding of the surgery that they have had so that you understand what they are going through and what the goal of the surgery was. There are a few different types of weight loss surgery, such as:
- Gastric band – placing a band around the stomach so that you do not need to eat as much to feel full.
- Gastric bypass – joining the top part of the stomach to the small intestine so that you do not absorb as many calories.
- Sleeve gastrectomy – removing part of the stomach so that you start to feel full sooner.
Speak to Their Doctor
It is also helpful to attend any appointments to provide moral support but also so that you can get a clear idea of what needs to be done during recovery and in the future. Weight loss surgery is not a cure for obesity and is just the start of a journey to a healthier weight for the individual. You need to learn how you can help your loved one along this journey and make sure that you are there each step of the way. There will be multiple doctor’s appointments following the surgery, so you should continue to go to these to provide support and carefully listen to what the doctor has to say. They will be able to provide advice and tips on how to maximize weight loss in the months following the surgery.
Provide Emotional Support
It is important to understand that this is likely going to be a challenging and upsetting experience for the individual to go through. Surgery is always challenging, but this is particularly true of weight loss surgery, because it is such a sensitive issue and the last resort for the individual. Hopefully, this surgery will make the individual much happier and more confident in the long run, but you might find that it takes its toll emotionally. This means that you need to be there for emotional support before the surgery, immediately after, and in the coming months and even years. Having someone that they can talk and vent to can help immensely when it comes to recovery.
Look Out for Depression
Some people have feelings of depression after weight loss surgery, and it can take its toll emotionally. It is important to provide emotional support, but you must also look out for depression and make sure that they get support from a mental health professional if they are struggling with psychological or emotional issues.
Get People to Visit Them in Hospital
When they are recovering in the hospital immediately after the surgery, it is a nice idea to get friends and family to come and visit. Weight loss surgery is a major operation, and it can be a daunting and scary experience to go through. Having friends and family visit can provide emotional support and show the person that there are people who care about them and are thinking about them. Although it is nice to have people visit, you must also make sure that they are not overwhelmed, so see how they are feeling, and try to keep visits relatively small and short.
Help with Daily Tasks
It is likely that the individual will have to spend a few days in the hospital and will not be able to resume normal activities for a few weeks. This means that they will need to have someone who can handle their daily tasks so that they can focus on their recovery. This might include things like picking up the kids from school, cleaning the house, cooking meals, and anything else that they might need help with. They may not be able to drive for a while after the surgery, too, so you may need to make yourself available to drive them around.
Manage Their Medication
It is likely that they will need some form of medication to manage pain following the surgery, and there may be other medication that they are on already. This can be difficult to manage immediately after the surgery, so it is a good idea to manage their medication for them. This should ensure that they never miss a dose, which will help them to recover efficiently.
Be Aware of The Potential Side effects
There are a few potential side effects of this type of surgery, and it is important to be aware of these and know what steps to take if the individual starts to suffer. The main side effects of weight loss surgery are:
- Dumping syndrome
- Wound infections
- Blood in stool
- Blood clots
Help with Lifestyle Changes
For the best results, the individual will need to make major lifestyle changes, which can be difficult if they have a long history of bad habits when it comes to food and exercise. It can be incredibly difficult to make lifestyle changes by yourself, so you may want to join them in making these changes for moral support (and it might also be good for you!). These changes are likely to include:
- Eating small, frequent meals
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet
In addition to this, you may find that it is best to avoid fast food and alcohol after the surgery, especially if the individual is often tempted by these.
Speak to a Nutritionist
People who undergo weight loss surgery need to eat a much healthier diet afterwards, but they often do not know what this will look like. Speaking to a nutritionist can be helpful for educating them on how they can eat a healthy and balanced diet that is also delicious. They can also help to develop a detailed plan so that they can get all the nutrients that they need.
Speak to Others
It is helpful to find and speak to other people who have had the same weight loss surgery in the past. This can help the individual to see the results as well as ask any questions, get support, and connect with someone who has been through the same experiences. Fortunately, this is easier than ever in this day and age, because you can find people online who have had weight loss surgery and are happy to share their experience.
Find A Patient Support Group
Similarly, there should be patient support groups for those that have had this type of surgery, and this can be of great help for the individual. It allows them to go and meet people who are going through the same thing, which is helpful for providing advice, getting emotional support, and staying motivated and committed to weight loss.
Keep A Journal
As mentioned, weight loss surgery is just the start of the journey, and there are sure to be good times as well as a few bad times ahead. It is helpful for the individual to keep a journal so that they have somewhere to vent but also so that they can look back and see how far they have come. Weight loss surgery can be life-changing and will hopefully lead to a much happier and healthier life, so being able to look back and see the journey can be inspiring and fill them with pride when they hit their weight goals.
Leading on from this, it can be helpful to have goals in mind for weight loss following surgery. It will require hard work and dedication to lose a significant amount of weight, and this can be disheartening. When the individual has challenging but realistic goals to work towards, it ensures that they will stay motivated and always moving forward. It is important to celebrate these goals when they are achieved so that they continue to work hard and be committed to weight loss.
It is important to remember that weight loss surgery is a positive thing and that it will lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle. It can be easy for the individual to feel negative, because it can take a while to feel better after the surgery and they will have to make so many big lifestyle changes. This is why you need to stay positive and help them see how the surgery will make a positive change to their life in the long run.
Look After Yourself
It is important that you are there to provide support for the individual after weight loss surgery, but it is also important that you look after yourself. It can be hard to look after someone after any type of surgery but particularly with weight loss surgery, because it is just the start. You need to take time for yourself so that you can enjoy your own hobbies, relax, socialize, and do what you want to do. Many people struggle with this, but in order to provide the best care, you need to be able to look after your own wellbeing.
Train as a Nurse
If you are serious about providing the best possible care, then you could consider training as a nurse. In addition to helping you get a better understanding and know how to provide care, this can also be a valuable and interesting experience. You can do a post masters FNP online, which can make it much easier to get qualified, as you can study in your own time and while you provide care. You can then use this to go on and start a career if this is an area that you feel passionate about.
Discuss Plastic Surgery
Weight loss surgery should lead to rapid weight loss, which is great but can unfortunately leave an individual feeling self-conscious if they are left with loose, heavy folds of skin, which may remind them of their former self. Plastic surgery is a good option for those that have had weight loss surgery, as it can be used to remove extra skin and improve the shape and tone of the body. Weight loss surgery is for health-related reasons, but it is also important for helping the individual feel happier and more confident in their appearance. However, plastic surgery may be required in order for them to truly feel this.
Weight loss surgery is the start of a new journey that should lead to significant weight loss and a much happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lifestyle. Weight loss surgery is usually a last resort for those that are obese, as it is a drastic step to take and a large operation. Therefore, the recovery process and weight loss journey can be challenging and difficult. It is important that you are there to provide support to the individual immediately after the surgery but also in the coming months and even years. It is a long journey, and there are sure to be a few difficult moments, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and joyful to see someone lose weight and make such positive changes to their lifestyle, particularly if they have been unhealthy and upset for many years. These are just a few ways that you can provide support for someone who has had weight loss surgery, and they should help you make their weight loss journey much easier.