Should You Tell Your Family About Bariatric Surgery This Holiday?
Discussing your bariatric procedure can be tricky, even with your closest friends and family. This can be complicated because some family members may not agree with your decision and may criticize you for the path you’ve taken. On the one hand, you may receive a great deal of support and excitement from certain relatives. With the holidays coming up, how do you navigate these differing ideas to ensure you stay on track and get the support you need?
Remind Yourself Why You Did It
It can be very frustrating to have people you thought would support you openly give a negative perspective on your decision. Ultimately, however, it’s important to remember why you had surgery. Remind yourself of the days before your procedure and the physical and mental pain that you had because of your weight. Remind yourself of the tremendous success that you’ve had and the great deal of effort that it’s taken to get there. These things will keep you going even in the face of criticism. Staying calm and remembering this is about you, not them, is essential.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
If you decide to tell your loved one about your bariatric surgery, and they are less than fully supportive, put yourself in their shoes and think about why this may be the case. Most loved ones are not hoping that you fail, and most are probably fully aware of why you are having surgery. However, seeing you blossom physically and psychologically can be a threat. Why? What if they are left behind? What if they do not measure up to what they think you are becoming? What if they remain obese, but you become thin? These are all very challenging thoughts to overcome and can even be debilitating for some who can’t express themselves as easily as you can. Indeed, even if you assure them that nothing will change, they might convince themselves otherwise. Knowing this may be the case can help you seek appropriate help from other family members, friends, or professionals.
Become an Advocate for the Family
If you decide to discuss your bariatric journey with family members, you can often be a mentor or guide to others in your family who may be experiencing what you once did. As you probably know, there is both an environmental and genetic component to excess weight and others in your family may be experiencing obesity as well. For many, facing the fears of surgery can be challenging, and they may not want to admit that they need help. Having someone who has been there and done that and who is willing to help them through the process can be very comforting and can start their journey toward better health and an improved life.
Don’t Say a Word
Of course, you may also choose not to tell your loved ones that you’ve had bariatric surgery. If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, you’ll know that they will likely assume you have taken weight loss medication, like Wegovy, or had bariatric surgery. After all, losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off over the long term without intervention is exceptionally difficult. However, despite the questions you may receive and the comments you may know are being said behind your back, it is ultimately up to you whether you wish to tell somebody that you’ve had bariatric surgery.
The Bottom Line
It is entirely your choice as to whether you wish to tell your family or friends about your bariatric surgery. Just be mindful that whatever decision you take will have consequences – some good and some that may cause friction. Remember that bariatric surgery is about you, your health, and a renewed life.
We’re always available to refer our patients to professional help to navigate difficult conversations with family members and friends who think they are doing the right thing by raising concerns. Just give us a call if you need advice on the next steps!
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