According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), more than two thirds of men and women in the UK are obese or overweight. This costs the NHS £4 billion per year, with gastric bypass surgery reportedly costing £85 million per year.
When we think of obesity, physical health and appearance automatically come to mind. However, it is important to remember that being overweight is not just physical; there are important emotional factors to take into account, too. And not only does fighting obesity have an impact on your mental state, the aftermath of losing weight can present its own unique challenges.
A recent study in the news has shown that people who have undergone weight loss surgery are four times more likely to commit suicide and twice as likely to self-harm. Weight loss surgery causes a dramatic change in a person’s life, especially if they suffer from existing mental conditions. For some men and women, finally being able to overcome a long-term battle with weight problems brings with it a belief that life will improve immeasurably and bring with it happiness, self confidence and an end to insecurities over body image. However, in many cases these deep seated fears do not go away post-surgery, and the disappointment that comes after an operation can have serious repercussions for the mental state of patients.
While there certainty are clear health benefits of undergoing weight loss surgery, there are also risks too. It is important to be fully aware of the possible implications involved, to help determine if surgery is the right choice for you.
Get professional advice
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the struggles you’re experiencing with eating and exercise. Not everyone needs the help of surgery to lose weight, and a healthcare professional can help determine this with you. They can recommend eating plans specific to your BMI (Body Mass Index), exercise advice and simple lifestyle changes that could all help along the way.
Depending on your weight and individual circumstance, there are treatments and medications available that can help you lose weight. These are usually in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, but are a lot less invasive than going under the knife. You also have the added benefit of having more energy and feeling better in yourself emotionally as well as physically.
Medication and lifestyle changes don’t work for everyone, however. For many patients in the UK, the only effective solution to dangerous weight issue is surgery. If you are thinking about going ahead with any type of weight loss surgery, be sure to talk it through at length with your doctor, ensuring you are aware of both the physical and mental implications of such procedures. Ask to speak to a counsellor so you can get a thorough understanding of the emotional impacts your surgery could have on you post-op, so you can be as equipped as possible to take them on.
For some people, weight loss surgery can rescue them from future health problems such as heart disease or other weight related illnesses. Weight loss surgery can also help patients overcome self consciousness and body issues. But as recent statistics have shown, surgery without adequate support and understanding can result in devastating effects on confidence, unnecessary stress and even depression.
Anyone considering weight management treatments of any sort should always prepare themselves for a difficult challenge and a long battle that has no easy solution. Losing weight is never going to be an easy journey regardless of which method is used. But with the right approach and a back up team of health professionals, friends and family, it is possible to find light at the end of the tunnel and achieve a healthy physique that a man or woman can be comfortable with.