The Mind-Body Interaction of Obesity
So you’re considering bariatric surgery or some other bariatric procedure. Or perhaps you’ve already made the decision to move forward with your choice of procedures. Either way, congratulations! You’re taking charge of your health and, ultimately, of your life.
Whatever your choice of weight-loss procedures, however, you need to know that it’s not a magic pill. You will still need to work with who you are and with the factors that created your obesity in the first place.
And the reality is that the causes of obesity aren’t just about genetics, or too much overeating, or not exercising enough. What you do (and what you don’t do) also comes from how you think and what you feel. If you feel sad, for example, you may turn first to food to comfort yourself-to make yourself feel less sad. If you’re stressed, overeating can make you feel like you have some small measure of control. The reality is that there’s a tremendous connection between your mind/emotions and your body. And no bariatric surgery in the world is going to sever that connection.
The truth is that overeating probably helped you feel better in the past: food does have that effect. But what you might not have noticed is how short-term the effect is. Then what do you do? Eat some more? The solution quickly becomes the problem.
What you must do is find another coping strategy that can replace food (and work better than it did!), that can help you in the longer term, and that will enable you to become and stay healthy after your surgery.
Stress, depression, sadness and anxiety are all negative feelings that require long-term solutions. If you feel that you’ve ever overeaten in response to them, then it’s time to find a way of dealing with them that doesn’t involve food. Seeing a counsellor is a terrific first step: someone who can help you put new and better coping mechanisms in place, who can be your partner in your journey to good health.
Is it easy? Of course not. But dealing openly with your emotions is a far better solution than allowing them to deposit more fat on your body. Health is never just about one part of you: even as you strengthen your body, you need to be strengthening your mind. And that’s when you’ll see real, lasting results.