Body Dysmorphia after Weight Loss Surgery

Recently we’ve seen a new phenomenon. More and more people that I come across with are opting for a weight loss surgery. When I say weight loss surgeries, I’m talking in the collection because there are different type of weight loss surgeries. Although the end goal for all surgeries is very similar same, the method in which such surgeries are done varies from one to another.

Primarily there are three weightless surgeries that are most done both in Malta and abroad. These are the sleeve, the gastric bypass and the mini gastric bypass. I will not go into detail explaining what’s the difference between the surgeries today however I will do this in a different blog soon.

Prior to opting for this surgery, I’ve done a lot of research. So much that I thought I knew everything that it contains, its aftercare and what to expect in the months that follow. Yet there are some things that no matter how much you read, research and learn on them; you simply must experience it to fully learn what it entails. I will try my best to put into words some of the things that we, bariatric surgery patients go through.

My previous Facebook post on my experience with dumping was very well received by people that have gone through this experience, are planning on going through with it and even from family members of people that have had a bariatric surgery. This honestly humbles me as I never expected my Facebook post to be seen by people all over the world.

With that in mind, today I’m going to be talking about another sensitive topic that might or might not impact everyone that has been through this journey. Body dysmorphia.

Body dysmorphia ; this is the when you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance, a flaw that may appear minor or can’t be seen by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations. It can also be when you see yourself totally different from what you actually are.

For those that have never been through it, it will be very difficult to understand it however that’s why I’m writing this so that I try to put in words what a person goes through when they’re going through this thing. Body dysmorphia can be a very lonely battle as those around you will find it very difficult to understand how you can’t recognize yourself in the mirror or have a totally different view of how you think you look compared to how others see you.

Different people go through this process differently and I’m lucky enough to have shared this journey with my beautiful wife Tiffany. Unfortunately, Tiffany was affected by body dysmorphia much more than I have. Thankfully she’s in a much better place now and is in love with her new body just as much as we all love her!

From my experience I can say that this issue derives from the fact that I have spent all my teenage and adult life in a large body. Ever since I was at the tender age of twelve, I was always over 100kg slowly ballooning up to 200kg till only January 2021. Suddenly when I did the gastric bypass operation, I started losing weight every day and today, 13 months later, I weigh 105kg. That means that in just 13 months I’ve lost a total of 95kg. Although I’m still not at my optimal weight, for someone that is 6 feet 2 inches tall I consider myself in good physical shape.

Having said that however, it took my mind over 25 years to get to know and accept myself as a fat person. That’s all I knew for all my life. Suddenly within a year I changed how I look. I can’t possibly expect my mind to get used to this new version of me and remove 25 years of history of knowing, seeing and being told that I’m fat. Nowadays when people tell me that I look good, that I made a great progress in my weight loss, that I’m quite attractive and all the other niceties that people can tell you; my first reaction is that they’re pulling my leg. My first rection is to switch on the defense mechanism and expect the worse, because that’s all I knew all my life.

Although this is getting better and nowadays, I’m more accepting and welcoming to the fact that I lost weight, there are days that I still find it very hard to understand and accept that I lost half my weight and in my own eyes, I still look the same as I did when I weighed 200kg

If you’ve been through this journey and have encountered a similar situation in which you find it difficult to accept your new body, please do not think that you’re alone. There are many people who has been through this journey and been through the same experiences and you’re not alone. Feel free to reach out and share your experience and if you need any help, assistance or simply a shoulder to cry or vent on, please reach out.

Wishing you all a great week ahead,

Alan