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‘What’s the point in extending your life if this is your life’: A qualitative exploration of pre-surgery, short-term and long-term responses to bariatric surgery
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, Volume: 12, Issue: 4, Pages: 530 - 547
Swansea University Authors: Camilla Knight , Richard Bracken
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DOI (Published version): 10.1080/2159676X.2019.1640779
This study examined experiences of weight, physical activity, diet, and quality of life of individuals prior to and following bariatric surgery. Twenty-seven people participated who represented three periods related to bariatric surgery: pre-surgery; short-term post-surgery (i.e., 1–2 years) and lon...
|Published in:||Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health|
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This study examined experiences of weight, physical activity, diet, and quality of life of individuals prior to and following bariatric surgery. Twenty-seven people participated who represented three periods related to bariatric surgery: pre-surgery; short-term post-surgery (i.e., 1–2 years) and long-term post-surgery (i.e., 3–7 years). A qualitative descriptive design was adopted, with data collected through interviews and analysed using thematic analysis. Themes in the pre-surgery period were identified as follows: a) Growing up: Variation by family and ability, b) Weight gain: Transitions, traumas, and triggers; c) Perceptions of self: Hate, loathing, and worthlessness; d) Spiralling weight: Lack of control over vicious cycles of dieting and weight gain, and; e) Surgery: A final and essential lifeline. Short-term post-surgery themes were: a) Physical changes: Rapid weight loss and enhanced health versus hesitation and disappointment; b) Physical activity: Changes in engagement and perceptions despite ongoing barriers; c) Finding oneself: Increased emotional wellbeing, self-concept and confidence, and; d) Quality of life: Renewed physical capabilities and capacity but some continuing challenges. In the long-term following surgery, themes of: a) Weight plateau/regain: Disappointment and feelings of failure, and; b) Excess fat: Frustration and feelings of vulnerability emerged from the data. It is evident that participants go on an extended journey in the years before and after bariatric surgery and experience a range of both positive and negative outcomes. Overall, the findings highlight the importance of practitioners understanding individual’s overall journeys when seeking to help them lose weight and improve psychological health.
Bariatric surgery, weight loss, physical activity, diet, quality of life
Faculty of Science and Engineering