The majority of people in the world are struggling to lose extra weight. Obesity is detrimental to people’s health. Exercise and a proper diet for a long time have been among the best ways to lose weight. However, recently, weight loss surgery to cut weight has increased, especially in the United Arab Emirates. Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, helps one to lose weight. Bariatric surgery reduces the amount of food that the stomach can hold, helping the patient reduce food intake. Thus, weight loss surgery can be considered obesity treatment.
Weight loss surgeries are very popular in the Middle East. UAE has one of the highest numbers of obese people globally (Rajan, 2018). Diabetes is also very prevalent in the UAE. The main reason for the high obesity numbers in the United Arab Emirates is poor diets. Obesity causes heart problems, which is one reason patients opt for surgeries to avoid health complications. Doctors in the UAE usually advise their patients to try other weight loss methods before deciding to do the surgery (Ramola, 2012). The body mass index is a determinant of whether a patient qualifies for surgery. Rashid Hospital, Zulekha hospital, NMC hospital, and Saudi German hospital are examples of hospitals in the UAE known for weight loss surgery.
Psychological Reason for Opting for Weight Loss Surgery
Many reasons push people into choosing weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery is usually the last option for people who have struggled for a long time to lose weight. Weight loss requires discipline and patience. Sometimes, patients opt for surgery because they cannot manage to go through with the whole dieting process. Some patients may feel like failures for not being able to follow through with a diet. The inability to follow a strict diet may make a patient hate himself or herself. There is also constant judgment and ridicule from friends and relatives. Some friends may make disparaging remarks and jokes at those who fail to lose weight.
Confidence is one of the major reasons why people opt to do surgeries. People who are overweight or obese feel self-conscious and lack confidence (Khadri, Gopinath, Hector, & Davenport, 2020). Obesity makes people feel awkward and odd. Confidence is important in our everyday lives. Having obesity makes people doubt themselves and feel imperfect. People relate physical appearance with their self-worth. The thinner someone is, the more attractive the person seems. Validation from others is important in improving one’s self-worth, but with obesity, people do not feel validated. Society believes that people who are not thin are not attractive; this makes people opt for surgery to feel attractive and finally fit in.
Depression and anxiety are also associated with obesity. People who are overweight are always anxious about how they look. The constant fear and anxiety to look good always push people to seek extraordinary measures, such as surgery, to lose weight (Osman, Emam, Zoubeidi, Al-Mugaddam, & Souid, 2017). The anxiety may make people feel unworthy, leading to loneliness. People who are overweight avoid going out, which contributes to isolation. Obesity makes it hard for people to live normal life. The major reason why people opt for weight loss surgery is for them to feel good about themselves. Most people who go for surgeries feel lonely, unworthy, and isolated. Confidence makes people achieve more and fulfill their dreams. The inability to fulfill one’s dreams may reduce the quality of life, which is why most surgery patients are always on the verge of giving up. The belief that surgery will solve all their problems is why overweight people go for surgery.
Psychological Consequences of Weight-loss Surgery
The one upside of weight-loss surgery is that it improves one’s self-esteem. As much as weight loss surgery helps solve obesity issues, there are many psychological consequences. After surgery, most people find it hard to adapt to their new bodies. Weight loss surgery is always done by reducing the size of the stomach. Some patients may try too hard to try and eat little portions of food. The pressure to eat little food may make a person develop psychological eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Overeating is more like a food addiction. After the surgery, a person may find it hard to give up on their addiction. The need to indulge in something may make someone get addicted to something like drugs, gambling, among others.
I spoke to a lady who had surgery. She claimed that she could not remember a time when she was thin. Her teen years were horrible because of the inability to fit in with her friends and peers. She learned about weight loss surgery from the internet and chose to go for it. Nothing else had worked for her. After the surgery, she felt prettier and could also do the things her peers do. She claims that the surgery has greatly improved her quality of life.
Many people struggle with weight loss issues and the option to have an easier way to do it gives many people hope. However, people should think carefully before doing the surgery because the psychological consequences are damaging. As much as weight loss surgery has become common, some people are still against it (Barajas- Gambola et al, 2020). People get stigmatized for choosing surgery, and this only means that the world is still not ready for weight loss surgery.
Khadri, F. A., Gopinath, V. K., Hector, M. P., & Davenport, E. S. (2020). Impact of demographic factors, obesity, and oral health status on self-esteem among school-going children in the United Arab Emirates: A cross-sectional study. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 10(3), 329.
Osman, O. T., Emam, E., Zoubeidi, T., Al-Mugaddam, F., & Souid, A. K. (2017). Psychological Assessment of Emirati Patients Pursuing Bariatric Surgery for Obesity. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, 19(3).
Rajan, P. B. (2018). The growing problem of obesity in the UAE. Academicus International Scientific Journal, 9(18), 106-113.
RamolaTalwar Badam (2012) ‘Weight-loss surgeries are becoming popular in the UAE’ the nation ae, 4 April Accessed 9 October 2020. https://www.thenational.ae/uae/weight-loss-surgeries-becoming-popular-in-the-uae-1.457693