How to deal with body image issues and improve intimacy after weight loss surgery
By: Elizabeth Handler, ANP-BC
Prior to weight loss surgery, patients are eager to think about all the exciting changes that will be happening. They are excited about
- The possibility of no longer needing medication for diabetes or high blood pressure,
- Feeling less joint pain and
- Being able to keep up with their kids.
Unfortunately, a high percentage of people undergoing bariatric surgery report body image issues, insecurities and low self-esteem. Due to these feelings regarding body image, many patients are also looking forward to being comfortable with their changed body after bariatric surgery. For some, developing this new confidence takes some work.
The changes in your body can be rapid. Frequently, patients can’t see their own progress reflecting at them. Some people have difficulty establishing or maintaining healthy romantic relationships due to these insecurities.
The following are some ways to help boost your confidence when you’re struggling with body image.
When you exercise, you will benefit by:
- Relieving stress and anxiety,
- Improving quality of sleep
- Boosting self-esteem.
Exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good hormone” which can improve your mood for several hours after working out. The release of endorphins also has a positive effect on one’s libido.
Maintain Healthy Relationships
There are several reasons relationships with your partner, family or friends may change after weight loss. Some of these reasons include:
- Feeling left behind, or,
- No longer participating in the same activities (eating out at restaurants, going out drinking).
It is important to be aware of these signs that indicate an unhealthy relationship and to try and surround yourself with people who are loving and supportive.
Affirmations and Positive Self Talk
The purpose of affirmations and positive self-talk is to reprogram your brain to promote self-change and encourage positive thinking. There are many books and online sites that offer information on both of these techniques.
Use journaling to keep track of weight progress. Also keep track of other victories that have nothing to do with the number on the scale. For example, smaller size clothing, increased energy, inches lost, or others noticing your weight loss.
Let TSB staff help you
If you are experiencing insecurities or low self-esteem before or after weight loss surgery, you should continue to follow up with our TSB Behavior Health Team.
We understand it can be hard to do this on your own. We at TriState Bariatrics will always be here for you.
Let us help you get your self-esteem back.