Why Bariatric Surgery is More Than Losing Weight

July 8, 2024

Bariatric Surgery is a highly effective tool that has helped many people achieve significant and lasting weight loss. While the specific goal of this surgical procedure is to help people lose weight, weight loss, by itself, is not the primary motivation for most people. Being thin is certainly not a magic fix for all of your problems. Still, there are so many potential benefits that can come with weight loss surgery. It is so important to ask yourself, “Why do I want to lose weight?” The underlying motivations for most people include better physical health, greater self-confidence, improved mental health, longevity, and an overall better quality of life that can come with weight loss surgery.  

Improved Health and Longevity

By far, one of the most impressive changes that can come from bariatric weight loss is improved health and longevity. Bariatric surgery is associated with reduced mortality and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cholesterol, as well as high blood pressure1. There is a long list of health problems that can be improved, resolved, or prevented with significant weight loss. Also, improved physical health can mean finally getting off of medications that may have unwanted side effects. Living a healthier, longer life is an incredible benefit of weight loss surgery.

Reaching a healthy body weight usually means having increased energy, flexibility, and endurance. When you feel more comfortable moving your body, you can participate more easily in activities that bring you joy, such as hiking, dancing with your partner, or running around with your kids. Working out feels better because there is less strain on your joints. You no longer have to hold back from participating in something because you are afraid that you won’t fit into a seat or that you won’t be able to keep up with your friends or family on an adventure.

When you are having more energy throughout the day and moving around easier can drastically improve your quality of life.

In addition to feeling more comfortable in your body, you will also hopefully feel more confident in your body. We live in a world with a tremendous amount of pressure to lose weight, which has a bias against overweight individuals. It’s a relief to no longer feel like people are judging you for simply being overweight. For many, sustained weight loss has been an elusive goal for years, sometimes decades. Finally reaching your goal and sustaining weight loss can feel really good. Not to mention, shopping for clothing becomes easier because clothes fit better and there are many more options available in smaller sizes.

Positive Impact on Your Relationships

Experiencing increased self-esteem can also have a positive impact on your relationships. When I speak with people who are preparing for bariatric surgery, so many tell me that they often turn down invitations or avoid social events because they are self-conscious about their weight. We fear judgment and negative comments about our weight/appearance, in particular from people we have not seen in a while. And unfortunately, it is not just in our imaginations. People do often make unwanted comments about our weight. Following bariatric surgery, you will hopefully feel more confident and outgoing. Spending time with friends and family is vital for good mental health.

When we feel less self-conscious about our bodies, we are able to connect better with people. This can positively impact friendships as well as intimate relationships. 

Research provides strong evidence that bariatric surgery is associated with improvements in anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, such as binge eating disorder2. With all of the associated benefits of weight loss surgery, it is not surprising that, following surgery, people often report improved mood. However, it is important to recognize the limitations of weight loss surgery. If you have a history of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, losing weight can improve your mood, but it is unlikely to “fix it.” The positive outcomes from surgery are common, but not guaranteed. If you have had bariatric surgery and you are struggling with mental health issues such as poor self-esteem, suicidal thinking, disordered eating, or alcohol abuse, it is very important to speak with your medical team and consider getting help from a mental health professional.

Figuring Out Your Motivation For Weight Loss

With so many potential benefits from weight loss surgery, it’s really important to spend some time figuring out your own personal motivation for weight loss. While everyone has a specific number in their head of what their ideal weight would be after bariatric surgery, it is so important to focus more on the non-scale goals. If you fall short of your goal by a few pounds, it does not mean you have not succeeded. If you are feeling better, moving better, and enjoying life more, then it means you have succeeded!


  1. National Library of Medicine: Association of bariatric surgery with all-cause mortality and incidence of obesity-related disease at a population level: A systematic review and meta-analysis
  2. National Library of Medicine: Bariatric surgery and mental health outcomes: an umbrella review

Dr. Natania Ostrovsky is a clinical psychologist and works at New York Bariatric Group

Losing Weight
Natania Ostrovsky


Dr. Natania Ostrovsky is a clinical psychologist licensed in both New York and Connecticut. She received her PhD in Clinical Health Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. She has both a clinical and research background in health psychology, with a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy, improving health behaviors, and obesity. She works at New York Bariatric Group and has a small online private practice.