Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the hottest weight loss procedures with high success rates and outcomes like you wouldn’t believe. The VSG results speak for themselves; however, losing weight is not a magic pill for self-love!
With all the success that occurs post-surgery, you may wonder if there are any second thoughts after gastric sleeve surgery. Did the gastric sleeve ruin anybody’s life? Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
We decided to ask our Facebook support group, with over 5,000 gastric sleeve patients, “What was your biggest regret about gastric sleeve surgery?”
Is it too good to be true? Does anyone regret having gastric sleeve surgery?
Question: “What is the one thing you regret or wish you had known before undergoing gastric sleeve surgery?”
We ranked these based on every “comment” and “like” shared on social media about every gastric sleeve regret past patients had post-surgery. Out of all the stories and comments, here are the top 10 gastric sleeve regrets from real patients!
Regret #10 – Not being able to enjoy food
Disinterest in food is a psychological regret after undergoing the gastric sleeve weight loss operation. Your mind wants to enjoy eating so badly, but your stomach won’t allow it. This is a common sign of food addiction, which many patients have before the procedure, which carries on after.
Unfortunately, this regret can seriously hurt your long-term and cause you to gain weight if you don’t change your mindset and habits over time. Once you kick a bad habit like overeating, you can’t allow yourself to miss it. You don’t have that luxury because your stomach can stretch, and once you do it, it is a slippery slope…
To manage food addiction it is best practice to include a Registered Dietitian, psychologist, or doctor who is educated to help you repair your relationship with food and help you take control.
Regret #9 – I regret not learning how to eat slowly before surgery
If you eat too fast, you can easily overeat. With a gastric sleeve, that is a HUGE no-no. Before sleeve gastrectomy, it would definitely help to transition into slower eating habits. Eating too fast can cause food to get stuck in the tiny sleeve stomach and is often uncomfortably painful to dislodge.
It is easy to get certain foods stuck, so you must slow down and chew your food thoroughly, pausing between bites. ALWAYS chew your food very well before swallowing. The consistency of the food should be like mashed potatoes. Ensure that each bite is tiny (as if you were feeding a baby) and continue to eat small amounts slowly. Eat about 2 Tablespoons over 10-15 minutes. Over time, adopting these mindful practices will help you manage and enjoy mealtimes.
To manage this condition it is best practice to include a Registered Dietitian, psychologist, or doctor who is educated to help you become a mindful eater and break the cycle of compulsive overeating.
Regret #8 – Excess skin is difficult to manage after losing weight
Excess skin is a common side effect of weight loss. Depending on your weight loss, age, and skin elasticity, you can expect to have stretched skin. With the raging prevalence of obesity, more and more individuals are shifting to weight loss surgery. Skin removal surgery is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is performed after bariatric surgery. Its main purpose is to remove excess skin from the body due to the massive weight loss. These areas can include the neck, arms, shoulders, chest, stomach, back, private areas, and legs. Undergoing skin removal can improve your self-confidence, comfort, cloth fitting, exercise, and many more.
A common concern after any weight loss surgery has leftover loose, saggy skin due to losing excess weight. Losing weight from the gastric sleeve at a fast rate can potentially lead to excess skin in areas such as the stomach, upper arms, and legs. But one problem at a time. Fortunately, many surgical and non-surgical skin-enhancing procedures can help tighten excess skin. You can cross that bridge when you get there.
Regret #7 – Body Dysmorphia: being mentally and emotionally prepared
Many lose weight, but their brains take a while to catch up to their new body image. Body dysmorphia is the obsession of focusing on insecurities and flaws. This fixation is a mental health problem that affects a large amount of bariatric patients post-surgery.
If you knew how mentally and emotionally challenging it would be, you might have avoided gastric sleeve surgery until you finally overcame body dysmorphia. It takes time and many adjustments to be able to comprehend your weight loss. You may still see the same person in the mirror as I did before gastric sleeve surgery for the first year. This hurdle causes a lot of stress, failure, and disappointment. Once you finally see your progress, you can feel more confident and pleased. The support group I had with Facebook and family was the only way that I was able to see my weight loss success.
“Ever since the VSG surgery, I have felt super disconnected from my own body and my skin, which is a lot of stress on me. My boyfriend and I had a very healthy sex life, and we still try to maintain it, but I definitely still feel so foreign in my body.”
Gastric sleeve surgery is a drastic, life-changing experience and can be tough. The best support system typically starts within your family and close friends and extends to a Registered Dietitian, therapist, and doctor.
Regret #6 – Hair Loss. I regret not being able to avoid hair loss
Hair loss is a common side effect of rapid weight loss. It will typically occur between 3 and 6 months after surgery and can last up to 12 months after surgery. You eat less food and absorb fewer nutrients which stresses the body as it adapts to fast hormonal changes. While hair loss is temporary and will grow back, it can be frustrating.
Nonetheless, relax, and don’t worry so much. Your hair will naturally grow back thicker and stronger. It is always more noticeable if your hair is already thin before surgery.
Quick Tips to Minimize Hair Loss: To minimize your hair loss, be sure to get a minimum of 60 grams of protein daily, take the recommended bariatric vitamin supplements daily, add biotin and zinc to your supplement regimen, use Nioxin shampoo, and consume seafood.
Regret #5 – I regret not knowing how much my relationship with food would change
It’s hard to picture having a real, emotional relationship with food. But after having the gastric sleeve, it’s quite shocking how the feeling of regret looms over you like a bad break-up.
Regret for not being more prepared for how drastically your relationship with food will change is widespread at #5 on our list. Before the VSG, food is not just about survival. It was about socializing, self-reward, and an emotional outlet for anything negative.
Now, eating feels like a chore, and many patients can honestly say they dislike doing it. After gastric sleeve, you do it because you have to do it out of necessity, not pleasure. It is a huge adjustment to make.
I don’t regret the surgery at all. I wish I had been a little better prepared for the huge emotional change I would have to make regarding food.
Make sure you stay in touch with your body to avoid developing an eating disorder and reach out to a Registered Dietitian, therapist, or doctor.
Regret #4 – I regret not having gastric bypass surgery (instead of the gastric sleeve)
Let’s be real; the gastric sleeve doesn’t work perfectly for everyone. The good news is that it has many revision options. We had many patients regret not getting gastric bypass surgery. This was mainly for 2 reasons.
- Acid Reflux & GERD. If you have either of these before surgery, you should get gastric bypass surgery, not the sleeve. Both acid reflux and GERD worsen after VSG because of the restriction in the stomach.
- Didn’t lose enough weight with sleeve
Don’t forget; the sleeve is so popular because it has MANY advantages over the roux-en-y gastric bypass. First, the gastric sleeve is easily revised in case you don’t get the results you want. Also, it is less invasive and doesn’t reroute your intestines. Weight loss over time is nearly the same, having just as much chance of success with gastric sleeve as you would expect with rny bypass.
Regret #3 – I regret not having realistic expectations
Many people go into bariatric surgery thinking once the surgery is finished, they will lose weight forever, just like magic, and they will never struggle with their weight again. However, this is false; even after the surgery, one would have to stick with the post-op diet and nutrition plan and exercise.
Don’t be too afraid as you are not alone in this process; you will have doctors, nutritionists, and many other people on the support group sharing their progress with you. Remember, undergoing this life transformation will be challenging, but just like any challenges in life, you will gain more satisfaction in life and self-confidence once you overcome them.
Regret 2# – It’s a lot of work
It’s a lot of work, not just leading up to it but after. It’s a life-changing experience, and if you’re not ready to make permanent life changes, it’s not going to work. Don’t believe people who say it’s the easy way out.. that is quite simply BS.
Think about it: gastric sleeve surgery can make you lose about 100 lbs, completely changing a person. In addition to that, you would have to follow a strict diet and exercise guide. It’s not going to be easy, but if you put in the work, the results will be very rewarding.
Whenever you go out for dinner, people may ask if you feel ok because you ate so little. It’s meal prep and thinking ahead about what to eat, and avoiding the temptations around every corner.
Regret #1 – I regret not getting it sooner…
The number one regret we hear repeatedly is, “Why did I not do the weight loss surgery earlier in my life? My health has improved drastically, and all my numbers look fabulous; no diabetes, no sleep apnea…”
“YES! It was all so easy for me… I didn’t tell anyone until I left because I didn’t want to hear discouraging words. Once I decided, I was so excited & it was seriously easier than I thought it would be. Even the diet… your body immediately feels SO much better (after the caffeine & sugar withdrawals which are just a couple of days)”
“I’m not trying to paint a negative picture because the only regret I have is not doing it 10 years ago. I’m 14 months out and have lost 50% of my old bodyweight, down 171 pounds, I’m into working out daily, I run distance running now, lift weights.. life is good. It’s just something you really need to be ready for.”
Make sure to use a certified and experienced bariatric surgeon with a proven track record to minimize disappointments after sleeve gastrectomy. Another way to avoid gastric sleeve regrets is to have an online support group on the same journey. Everyone needs help, and when unexpected challenges arise, you have an army beside you who knows exactly where you’re at, how you feel, and how to get through it!