The Benefits of Meditation After Weight Loss Surgery

Meditation has long been used as a strategy and a practice to get more meaning to life, reduce stress, and help people become more spiritual. It was once considered an alternative therapy, but now, meditation is everywhere. Whether it is in mindfulness, or as part of popular apps like Headspace, meditation has gone mainstream. And even if you’ve never meditated before, it is a fantastic approach to help you after surgery. For patients undergoing bariatric surgery, meditation can be an excellent addition to improving their outlook and helping them to improve their health.

meditation and weight loss surgery

The Evidence in Support of Meditation

While meditation has been practiced for centuries, it’s only in the last 10 years or so that the scientific benefits of meditation have become apparent. A study where test subjects undertook 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation experienced decreased gray matter in the brain, which is the area most associated with anxiety and stress. The study demonstrated that meditation alters the brain structure. While meditating is a fantastic tool for relaxing, this study, conducted at Harvard University, is establishing that meditation is beneficial for the brain because it can help us create our sense of relaxation.

So what does this mean in terms of weight loss? Because the hormone cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, surges through us when we are anxious, this can be linked with increased belly fat. Therefore, taking part in meditation relaxes you, which decreases the levels of cortisol in the blood. As people start to incorporate meditation into their lives, they will feel the benefits of being more relaxed, while also reducing the levels of cortisol in their system. Less stress = less belly!

How Can It Help?

If you still need some convincing that meditation is one of the best ways for you to improve your life after bariatric surgery, it’s important to remember that you are going through a lot of emotional changes. Experiencing surgery can be stressful, but it can also be overwhelming to deal with surgery relating to a subject such as weight loss. Being a bariatric patient can feel like you’re finally confirming to the world that you are overweight. And this time can be a period of self-reflection. When you start to undergo a weight loss journey and you start to think about the journey you’ve been on so far, meditation can be one of the best ways to incorporate reflection and calm you down. Meditation can help in some of the following ways:

It enhances self-awareness. Coping with the physical and emotional effects after bariatric surgery is of the utmost importance. You may find that you struggle with your identity. The person you see before you after bariatric surgery is completely different from the person before. And meditation can help to consolidate a sense of self-awareness. Incorporating this into your daily practice can help you to come to terms with this new person.

It reduces stress. Physical and emotional stress after bariatric surgery is common. After any form of surgery, depression can be on the horizon. Using meditation can help you to reduce stress by decreasing the levels of cortisol in your blood. Weight loss surgery can result in various stresses. Meditation can give you the tools to become aware of these stresses, so you can decrease them.

It improves sleep. The cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle is adequate sleep. If you struggle to get your 7 or 8 hours a night, this can result in fluctuating weight due to additional stresses. One of the benefits of meditation is that it can be a perfect way to prepare us for a good night’s sleep. Sleep is one of the biggest health challenges in the modern world. And after weight loss surgery, the importance of physical rest cannot be understated.

It may help with addictions. Being able to control your mind using meditation gives you a far better perspective on the evils in your life. There is research that suggests meditation could help people with addictions. As many people undergo bariatric surgery as a result of food addiction, meditation can help you to deal with hunger pangs after surgery. It can also help you to figure out why you placed food on such a pedestal.

It may help control pain. Experiencing surgery can result in pain. And if you are on a weight loss journey, being able to control your pain is great for developing resilience. If you are adding exercise into your life after bariatric surgery, meditation can help you to decrease some of that pain.

It can help your cardiac health. Being overweight can result in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Participating in meditation for 20 to 30 minutes daily can improve cardiac health, according to a study conducted by the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.

How Can I Start Meditating?

You have seen the benefits of meditating, but you may wonder how to meditate. While learning to meditate can seem like a very intimidating thing, there are some simple practices to get you started:

Start small. You don’t need to sit in complete silence for 20 minutes a day to get any benefit. Start small by sitting in silence for a minute, or as long as you can, and gradually work your way up.

Try a class. There are many meditation classes around, and there are many different types, depending on what you would like to achieve. There is guided visualization, transcendental meditation, mindfulness, and many more. Mindfulness is by far the simplest way to begin. And you can do it right now. Clear your mind, and focus on your breath.

Incorporate meditation into a daily habit. Meditation doesn’t have to be about sitting cross-legged in a corner. You can very easily close your eyes and focus on your breath while you are on a bus, or waiting for your kettle to boil in the morning.

Meditation can bring so many benefits to people’s lives. If you are undergoing bariatric surgery, and you need to reduce stress in your life, meditation can be an amazing way to help you.


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Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.