Adaptation means getting used to a new situation and environment. It may be difficult for the patient to adapt to his new life after bariatric surgery. Because now you will have a different body. Since body and mind are one, you can adapt to your new body with your new mind. In this context, in this article, we will talk about the adaptation process of our patients after bariatric surgery. In fact, this adaptation process needs to be examined under three headings. First, how your brain will adapt to your new body, especially your stomach, second, how to adapt to your new eating pattern, and third, how to adapt to your new social life.
If we talk about the first title, our brain is the organ that controls our whole body, and if there is any change in our body, our brain directly perceives this change and gives us different reactions accordingly. Well, let’s see how she reacts after stomach surgery. In the operation, a certain part of your stomach is removed, especially the excess part is removed and your eating pattern is now changing. You’re eating too little before, and now you’re eating too much, and the brain perceives a difference there. In fact, sometimes our patients ask me the following question: “My weight loss has stopped, I am not losing weight anymore, I am at a constant weight. Why? Because some of our patients do not fully comply with their nutrition programs. There are actually many reasons for not complying with the nutrition program, but generally, our patients eat less with the desire to lose more weight, and this rapid change is perceived by the brain as extreme scarcity and the brain stops weight loss for the patient’s survival. Afterwards, it can store the smallest food taken as fat. So, as you can see from here, your brain plays a huge role in adapting to your new stomach and new body. In this condition, you should follow what your dietitian says about nutrition and not starve yourself too much, since we are the ones who control our brain at the same time. Being very hungry causes vitamin, protein and mineral deficiencies, but also affects the body’s management of the brain. We can understand your desire to lose weight fast. You have worked hard to lose these weights until now and you want to get rid of them as soon as possible. But you didn’t gain these weights all at once. You took it slowly. That’s why you need to lose it slowly, as well.
Our second topic is how to get used to your new eating pattern. You used to eat the way you wanted before. You ate like the people around you, or you ate more. But now you are entering into different periods. First of all, you will enter the liquid period and you will only receive liquid foods, then you will pass to the puree period and then to the solid period. In short, you feed like a baby. The baby drinks breast milk first, then eats formula, and then switches to solid food. Now that you have a baby’s stomach, you need to proceed step by step in order not to tire your stomach. When we look at the periods, especially the liquid period scares you. Because this is a very different diet and the people around you do not eat liquids. You don’t like the idea of just having soup when you go out to dinner with them. You even ask yourself the following question: “Will I no longer be able to eat out with my friends? Can’t I drink? and this causes you to experience some social isolation . You were already experiencing this situation due to your pre-operative weight, you felt uneasy while eating and drinking in public, maybe you wanted to eat alone even at home. You don’t have to worry like this after the surgery anymore. You can keep up with this process by continuing to meet with your friends, integrating your liquid diet with your meeting with them, and carrying your protein powder with you if necessary. Rest assured, it will be very good for you to purify your body from food and rest for just a short time. In the first stage, your weight loss will be more visible thanks to the liquid period.
Coming to our third topic, this is the reflection of the lack of food you experience on your social life, and sometimes on our personal life. How can we give an example of this? Sometimes some patients come and consult about it after the surgery: “Previously, food was such a big part of my life and that big place is now empty and I feel a huge emptiness, a huge sense of lack, which makes me depressed, a sad soul makes it happen.” Why? Perhaps you are going through a grieving process, feeling that you have lost something you love. While our psychologist is already testing for an eating disorder in the pre-operative interviews, she asks: “Do you think food is dominating your life?” And most of our patients answer yes to that. When the thing that dominates your life loses its power after the surgery, you fall into that feeling of emptiness, and you go into a mourning process as if your lover has left you. In order not to experience this, we need to completely change your mindset. What does this mean? Food is not out of your life, only food that harms your health is out of your life. You can still eat well, you can eat again. Or was it just food that made you happy? Was food your only source of socialization? You can answer these questions in your own mind. And what else makes you happy, what else socializes you, you can fill that void by thinking about them.
In summary, our post-operative adaptation process can affect us both biologically, personally and socially. To deal with this, I recommend our patients: You have a 12-month change period after surgery, some 6 months, some 12 months. You already take your photo every month, you want to watch your changes. You should record these changes not only physically but also psychologically. How can you do this? For example, you can buy a notebook, take out your photo every month, and under it, how do you feel with your body, as you are in that photo? What thoughts are running through your mind with that body? What kind of mind do you have psychologically now? By answering these questions, you will also examine your psychological change and you can use this method to adapt to your new body and new life after surgery. In addition, being in contact with people who have had surgery like you also provides you with social support. When you have a problem, you can relax by seeing that it’s not just you. You can support your social cohesion by doing social activities together and eating the same meals. Even if your own efforts do not work, you can apply to our clinic for psychological support. In this process, sometimes our social support networks may not work. In this case, not neglecting professional support will be an important step.