Life After Weight Loss Surgery Q & A - Dealing with Family and Friends

One post-op's thoughts on life after weight loss surgery. Question #3...

Question: What did you do about friends and family that said things like "Are you sure you want to risk dying?" and "Can't you just lose it on your own?" when you told them you were going to have weight loss surgery?

Answer: "Are you sure you want to risk dying?" Well hmmm isn't that what I'm doing now. A slow suicide by knife and fork. "Can't you just lose it on your own?" This is on my own... it's my guts getting rerouted, my lifestyle changes being made, my healthy eating choices, my exercising, my LIFELONG battle with obesity that NEVER ends even when I reached goal. I consider weight loss surgery to be a head start. The MAJOR change I needed to physically be able to get active again and eliminate the illnesses (Severe Sleep Apnea, High Blood Pressure, severe GERD) that were killing me.

A lot of friends and family comments are out of lack of knowledge and fear about weight loss surgery and what life will be like after (for you and for them.) EVERYONE claims they know SOMEONE who died, gained it all back, can't eat anything anymore. If you care about their opinion... take them to your bariatric surgeons support group. They can ask questions and hopefully put their fears to ease.  Let them meet REAL people who have had surgery. Send them over to my blog. Hi! Show them the real stats on complication and mortality rates of bariatric surgical procedures. They are in-line with complication and mortality rates of pretty much every type of surgery performed. 

If you don't care about their opinion... Ask them for the phone # of this mystery person who gained all their weight back so you can chat with them ;) $5 it's a "friend of a friend at work's second cousin's hairstylist" and they won't be able to get you that info.

Sometimes it is a little jealousy. In my San Diego State University (Go Aztecs) Psychology 101 class it was called "leveling the playing field." Everyone likes to be on the same level and when something like weight loss, new jobs, new relationships, happen we like to drag people back down to our perceived level. It's the nasty side of human nature. You get comments like "Oh you are having THAT surgery, yeah but you won't ever be able to eat XYZ again" or "Yeah you will lose weight but you will have all that skin."

Again... send them over to my blog or Pinterest page to see what food is possible after surgery. It is pretty darn tasty. Some foods you may not eat again. They may not agree with you, your Dr. may advise against them or in my case I choose not to eat a few foods.

Now excess skin is a reality and it's not pretty. Any time you lose 100+ pounds whether with surgical assistance or not you will have some skin issues. Make peace with it or make plans for getting rid of it. They can always donate to your plastic surgery fund if they are soooo concerned about your excess skin issues.

Sometimes friends and family come around when they see the health benefits and AWESOME changes in you BUT sometimes they don't. To those that don't... people come in and out of your life for a reason. New supportive friends are out there.

Find a Support Group
Come to an Event

What others are saying about this on my Facebook page.

Best wishes to you in your journey.

Question #1
Question #2


amarilli59 said...

In Texas we call the "level playing field" the "Crab Bucket Syndrome" instead. If you've never gone crabbing at the seashore, it works like this: as you net the crabs one by one, you throw them in a bucket & they are still alive. Pretty soon the bucket gets full enough for one of the crabs to get a claw hooked over the edge, but the rest of the crabs pull him back down while trying to claw their way ahead of him.

Sarah Mae said...

I had surgery, lost 160+ lbs... then due to vitamin deficiency (despite taking boatloads of vitamins), wound up in severe chronic pain and disabled (and currently bedridden) for life... and then gained all but 5 lbs back. Yeah. Totally -not- suicidal, but if I would have had the option of dying during surgery or winding up back where I started and stuck in bed at 27 years old in extreme pain, I would have picked the former. My aunt had the surgery after I did and she is doing amazing, as are a few friends of mine. So I know I'm not the "norm", but it sure sucks to be the one who ends up this way.

Caz said...

I think this is a great post. Obviously, I do believe friends and family mean well but if they might want to do their research before they express their opinions!

Anonymous said...

Wow - reading this post happened at just the right time. I'm exploring WLS (VSG) and have all kinds of ideas/fears rolling around in my head. Thank you - this was very helpful.
I'm sorry for Sarah Mae who did NOT have a positive experience with WLS. How awful. Hope you find relief from the pain and mobility again.

ItzKat said...

The thing is I could tell them I was on the new California diet where all you eat is crickets and cabbage leaves. They would all be asking me for the details and all supportive. But tell them I got surgery and they fall all over themselves telling me how dangerous it is. Whatever, I just avoided it all by telling them I am working with a nutritionist and exercising. All true, I just left out the part about the surgery.

Fat Chick said...

Your transformation is amazing. Where WLS is concerned, we each have to do what works for us. It's too bad some people can't recognize that and be supportive.

jsamatha said...

Thank you. I am 6 mos post WLS and while I have a VERY supportive support group and network, and I have been excercising like a maniac. I was in a rut, making some poor food choices and the holidays have been gaining up on me. There are some great tips here to help me motivate and steer the scale in my direction. Grateful.

Anonymous said...

Would love to converse with Long Term Post Op Patients of the GByPass 15+ (Aug 2012 lost 119 lbs.) months to see if some issues I am having are similar to issues others are having:
Nose Runs right after Eating (started right after surgery-very annoying)
Hot Flashes after Eating for last 4-6 months
Skin Blotches -they fade within 30-45 minutes-Dark Pink after showering,(just noticed about 2-3 months ago) wondered if it has to do with blood flow??

Michelle "Shelly" said...

Talk to your Dr of course (standard disclaimer) but the nose runs are I believe a common issue. For some its a hiccup, or a sigh, or a burp, or sneeze or nose run... vagus nerve related, it's your soft cue to stop eating. A few more bites and your body will be less subtle ;) the rest chat with your Dr.