Manage Anxieties for Procedures: Pre-, Post-Op, and Body ContouringJanuary 3, 2022
Manage Anxieties for Procedures: Being psychologically prepared for surgery both pre-and post-op is imperative and for body contouring goals after surgery.
Research indicates that although the physical quality of life improved immediately post-op, if not appropriately maintained, individuals who underwent bariatric surgery were more likely to return to unhealthy habits and relationships leading to increased depression and anxiety.
As with anything else, consistency is the key to long-term success in how to manage anxieties for procedures.
Manage Anxieties for Procedures: Pre and Post-Op
Pre-surgery- many individuals experience feelings of wanting to give up and unrealistic expectations about themselves that will immediately place you back into that self-sabotaging cycle we all often seek such comfort in.
Post-surgery- many individuals may feel conflicted emotions, and this can cause additional stress, anxiety, and worry. Post-surgery emotions can be positive, negative, and/or neutral and they often bring up emotions that you may have historically placed in a “box” and have not fully dealt with. Often, individuals see the weight loss but with that comes the stretched and saggy skin that did not return to its original elasticity, it once was. This often brings up intense anxiety and depression.
The sooner you identify and isolate negative emotions, the quicker you can resolve these feelings. When left untreated, depression and anxiety, only get worse. Speaking to a professional will help you deal with troubling emotions and learn coping techniques to help you healthily process these feelings.
These emotions, pre-and post-surgery, are all normal and expected. You will need time to adjust to your new normal.
According to de Ribeiero, et al., (2018), suffering from a temporary mood disorder such as anxiety or depression is more likely to occur post-surgery and before body contouring procedures, especially in women who have a partner (64%). It is okay to feel different than what you expected to feel like, and you should not feel ashamed to seek professional support.
Below are some things to keep anxieties at bay with the pre-, post-bariatric surgery and body contouring journeys:
- Be Realistic: You will not look immediately slimmer after bariatric surgery or body contouring. It is not a quick fix, just as it was not to get you to pre-surgery weight. Don’t get discouraged and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
- Don’t Compare: You cannot compare yourself to the results of someone else you know or the results from a Google image search. Each person is different and maintenance before, during, and after is imperative.
- Support Network: Start identifying a supportive and proactive support network- this can be virtual or in-person. You need cheerleaders! Take advantage of your team of doctors and the professionals they have available to you.
- Prepare for Relapse: Relapse of what, you say? Relapse of past destructive habits that offered us such comfort and relapse that fed (no pun intended) into our barrage of self-defeating comments. Learn what triggers this, identify activities you can do to distract and redirect yourself. Maintain self-care.
- Strive for Progress NOT Perfection: Remember you are a work in progress. We can always strive for perfection but that often sets us up for failure, then we fall into that great self-sabotaging cycle we worked so hard to get out of. The key is to keep things in balance and train yourself to get quickly back on track.
- Train Your Brain: Using guided imagery (visualization) is powerful, easy, low-cost, and immediate. It increases self-awareness and reduces anxiety in any situation.
- Find a safe and quiet place
- Close your eyes
- Focus on something specific (like an event or goal you want to achieve)
- Hold that image/thought in your mind
- Imagine it becoming a reality
- Imagine how it feels for you when you’ve reached that reality
- Open your eyes and reinforce these goals with those feelings of accomplishment
Aftercare is essential and part of your long-term health and maintaining balance in the body and mind is an important part of your long-term goals.
- Alvarez-Garcia, C., & Yaban, Z. Ş. (2020). The effects of preoperative guided imagery interventions on preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain: A meta-analysis. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 38, 101077.
- de Zwaan, M., Georgiadou, E., Stroh, C. E., Teufel, M., Köhler, H., Tengler, M., & Müller, A. (2014). Body image and quality of life in patients with and without body contouring surgery following bariatric surgery: a comparison of pre-and post-surgery groups. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 1310.
- RIBEIRO, G. A. N. D. A., Giapietro, H. B., Belarmino, L. B., & Salgado-Junior, W. (2018). Depression, anxiety, and binge eating before and after bariatric surgery: Problems that remain. ABCD. Arquivos Brasileiros de Cirurgia Digestiva (São Paulo), 31.
- Wykowski, K., & Krouse, H. J. (2013). Self-Care Predictors for Success Post–Bariatric Surgery: A Literature Review. Gastroenterology Nursing, 36(2), 129-135.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Monique Martinez-Quiros, BHP, DBH, MS, LAC, LCPC, NCC is a doctorate-level, dually licensed (NV & AZ) behavioral health professional with a specialty in integrated behavioral health encouraging and guiding others to make healthy behavioral changes. She owns and operates her website at https://www.keyrosellc.com/