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Bariatric Surgery by Kim Rutherford (Psychotherapist/Author & Trainer)

Bariatric surgery is often a last resort for many desperate people in their fight to lose weight.

For those on the NHS journey it is a slow process, there are four stages after weight management training and psychological assessment with still no guarantee. Many people opt to have their surgery a bit quicker - private surgeries either in the U.K. or the cheaper option is to go abroad with Turkey, Egypt and Latvia being the most popular destinations.

Surgeries can be booked almost immediately after a consultation without any form of psychological assessment done to understand whether surgery is the right option for someone’s mental health. Many of the hospitals abroad do not offer a nutritionist so you are left alone to work through food issues and education alone.

The NHS do not like supporting people who have had surgery abroad, if you had it in the United Kingdom, you get a little but on many occasions people are turned down for support when returning from countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Latvia and so the financial burden after surgery continues to grow and build pressure.

Then comes the process itself:

A physical recovery

A reintroduction to food process

Living off baby portions





Dysfunctional eating

Eating Disorders

Transference addictions


Hair loss

Body aches

Gall stones

A lifetime of expensive supplements and injections

The psychological change that comes with a rapidly changing body and the brain that can’t keep up with those changes..

Faster thank usual weight loss

Increased confidence and self esteem, which may be something new for a patient.

Those opting for surgery may read about these complications before surgery but it’s desperation that leads to the choice and so although there is awareness it does not necessarily register with them the true impact of post-surgery life.

Currently post-surgery life focuses on the scales and weight loss, where everyone will experience a level of success. But for most their health and wellbeing is not the initial focus being in a smaller body, not being bullied or ridiculed, wearing pretty clothes and feeling like they fit in is. After the initial 6 months the buzz of the physical change diminishes, and the individual then must face the biggest challenge to bariatric living - the psychological process and currently there is very little support available with that.

Published with permission

Kim Rutherford Psychotherapist/mental wellness specialist/coach/author & Trainer who is training for NEDDE on Friday the 30th of September 2022 on this subject.

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