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By On January 10th, 2017

Bariatric surgery might not bring positive life transformation

It’s impossible to be part of our culture, and not get ensnared in the cycle of striving for happiness. If we attain a certain possession, begin a new relationship or lose weight then our life will be transformed, and we will be happy. Of course, what usually happens once we attain one thing, it is quickly replaced by another desirous object or circumstance, and the cycle begins all over again.

For individuals who struggle with obesity, have tried many methods in order to lose weight, and face serious negative health ramifications, bariatric surgery is often recommended. Gina Kolata with the New York Times followed two individuals who had the procedure for one year to examine if their post surgery life measured up to their expectations. Both individuals expressed disappointment that their lives had not been transformed to the extent they had hoped for before the bariatric procedure. Both lost significant amounts of weight, but both still “felt fat.” Both had been overweight since childhood, and experienced several traumatic events due to their weight. Unfortunately unsurprising since obesity is one of the few remaining conditions widely condemned with individuals often overtly shamed as they go about their daily activities.

Kolata’s article delves into the complexities of hunger and messages sent from the gut to the brain in terms of weight loss. I would submit that unless the trauma and identity issues are addressed, in other words the psychological issues contributing to the eating problems and subsequent obesity, bariatric surgery will not bring the transformation sought by prospective patients.

As with anything we are striving for to bring us joy or happiness, it helps to take a peek at what’s really driving us. What is actually underneath our desires and hopes for the new year? Transformation and lasting change will likely continue to elude us, unless we look at what is underneath our surface striving.

In our Pathway for Eating Disorder treatment at Brookhaven Hospital, we help individuals address the underlying reasons for their relationship with food and their body image. Our Clinical Director and Pathway therapist, Ryanne Mitchell, MA, LPC, will present, “The Problem With Body Image: Treatment Considerations for Eating Disorders,” as part of our ongoing Professional Seminar Series on Wednesday, February 1st, from 11:15 am-1:00 pm. Call 918.625.5188 for more information.

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