Positive outcomes after surgery ‘can feel like grief’
There is no doubt that weight loss surgery puts the body through a series of radical changes.
Groven says that although the procedure leads to a slimmer body – which others perceive as a “sign of success” – the surgery can cause many smaller problems that other people are unable to see.
“Becoming slimmer and lighter is mostly perceived of as positive. At the same time it is ambivalent, since people start to behave differently towards the women after they’ve had surgery.
People are friendlier than before, and this may feel extremely provoking. And people often ask very invasive questions concerning the woman’s radical weight loss.”
The interviews revealed that some of the women experienced a boost in self-esteem after surgery, were more outspoken, and found other people were more likely to listen to what they were saying – particularly in the workplace.
Groven notes that although these factors are clearly positive outcomes, this could also be seen as a “grief” because the women realize they had to undergo weight loss surgery before seeing these outcomes.
Many of the women also felt embarrassment after the surgery, particularly when it came to speaking about their weight loss. Some women told others they had been on a diet to lose the weight because they were ashamed to say they had undergone bariatric surgery.