Adjusting to life after weight loss surgery

What to expect, and how to feel your best after bariatric surgery.

It can be tricky to know what to expect after your weight loss surgery. You might notice some changes you hadn’t prepared for, or feel frustrated that some things haven’t changed as quickly as you’d hoped. This is all normal. Here are some areas where you might notice changes, and tips on what you can do to help feel your best.


A grandfather and grandson going for a surf

Your social life

Social activities often revolve around food and alcohol, so it’s important to think through strategies that will help you feel more comfortable in situations where you feel pressure or temptation to overindulge.

Some people like to explain why they’re making changes so friends or family can provide more support and encouragement to make healthy choices. 

Others prefer not to talk so openly about weight loss surgery, often because they worry about being judged. If you decide to be more selective about who you tell, it’s a good idea to plan for how you’ll deal with social situations. Think about what you might say to feel more at ease. 

How to prepare for social outings  

  • Focus on what you enjoy—such as the people you’re spending time with—rather than the things you can’t eat or drink.

  • Do some research before you go out. Look for places that do tapas, ‘small plates,’ or have a good range of healthy entrees. You may be able to ring ahead to ask whether they can do smaller portions.

  • Plan some activities where food and drinks don’t take centre-stage. Have your friends join you for a bushwalk, board game, some live music or a comedy show. 

  • Talk to others who’ve had bariatric surgery about their experiences, and how they dealt with social situations. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area or look for online groups where you can share ideas. 

Your body

it’s normal to experience some ups and downs as you lose weight. Weight loss takes time. Most people take one to two years to reach their lowest weight. It’s not unusual to gain some weight back, but you’ll very likely still weigh much less than before, and your health and wellbeing will still benefit. Talk to your doctor about what you can realistically expect. 

Extra skin

Losing lots of weight rapidly can lead to a large amount of loose skin. Some people aren’t too bothered by this, but for others, the excess skin can be difficult to deal with both physically and emotionally. Sometimes extra skin can cause chafing and infection, as well as change your appearance and impact your mobility. 

Strength training to tighten up your muscles can be helpful, and good skin care, compression garments and flattering clothing can help you to look and feel better. If the excess skin is causing a major impact on your life, you may also consider talking to your doctor about surgery after your weight has become stable. This may be covered by Medicare and is included in Medibank’s Gold level of cover.

Your mental health and wellbeing

You might experience changes to the way you see yourself, or changes in your relationships with others. Some of these changes may be positive, and some may not be. If you’re struggling it can be worth talking to a psychologist or other mental health professional. 

If you’re a member with hospital cover you can also call 24/7 Medibank Mental Health Phone Support to chat to an experienced mental health professional to discuss any mental health questions or concerns and get advice on what to do next. 

Call 1800 644 325 any time~.

Looking for something else?

Visit our Hospital Assist homepage for a range of tools and advice to help you at every stage of your hospital journey.

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Call us on 134 190 to speak to a consultant. Alternatively, chat to us 24/7 online.

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Things you need to know

~    OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees). 

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