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It is normal to have some fear about what will happen after weight loss surgery. Fear can actually be a motivating factor, but when it becomes something that we are spending a great amount of energy on, it becomes harmful. Without fear after weight loss surgery, we would not stay on top of the bariatric “rules,” which include: eating small portions, getting your proteins in first, not drinking carbonated drinks, etc. Without fear of the consequences of rule breaking, what would stop us from drinking beer, or eating a Big Mac? Pain would punish us, but without fear, we would repeat these mistakes again and again.

If you are catching yourself thinking about the fear of failing after weight loss surgery often, or if your fear is stopping you from actually having the surgery, the fear may be more problematic than helpful. When fear takes over, there is usually a larger story underneath. The first step in identifying the story is to ask yourself:  what would it mean about you if you had the surgery and failed? By answering this question honestly, you will be able to recognize which thoughts are stories that are most likely untrue, and which thoughts are facts. An example of a fact would be:  “My goal was to lose 100 pounds, and I lost 85.” A story would be:  “My goal was to lose 100 pounds, and I only lost 85. This means that I will never be successful at anything.”  See the difference?

When you are able to uncover your story, and separate it from the facts, you can re-write it by creating a more positive frame. “I lost 85 pounds and have kept it off for six years!” is a much more positive and factual statement than “I will forever be a failure.” Try uncovering your stories and write them down.  If they are not helpful to you–burn, bury, or tear them up. Let these old stories go, and get your fear level back to a manageable level.