Should I Tell People that I’ve had Bariatric Surgery?
To tell or not to tell? That is the question. Taking your health into your own hands through WLS is a very personal journey, and so is the decision of whom to share the journey with. Some people want to shout it from the rooftops! Others would like to keep it completely under wraps, but most people find themselves somewhere in the middle. What about you? Do you find yourself wondering if you should tell people? Whether you’re about to have surgery, are a few months in, or years down the road, this can still be a topic people wrestle with. Keep reading to get a new angle on reasons (or not) to share your story.
I am not going to tell anyone.
Some people are very private and don’t want to tell anyone, not even their closest friends or relatives. This can be due to getting negative feedback when the subject has come up before, fear of failure, lacking a supportive network, or simply wanting others to mind their own business. While keeping your WLS a secret can feel like you’re protecting your feelings and keeping your journey personal, it can leave you feeling alone and isolated, especially when challenges come along. You will also find yourself constantly explaining away your weight loss when people become curious.
Consider telling a few trusted friends, family members, or even coworkers. Sometimes focusing on WLS as a treatment for disease can help if you are nervous about push-back. In addition to people already in your circle, your clinic may offer a support group where you can meet others going through similar experiences. Social media platforms are great as well, including our own Baricol Global Instagram page!
I’ll tell a few people, and that’s enough for me.
Many people take this road. They get the support they need from the people closest to them, and that’s it. This is a great way to keep your journey about you and avoid having an audience. But be prepared for questions. Why are you going to so many doctor’s appointments? Is that all you’re eating? How are you losing so much weight – you’re not sick are you? That’s where you should ask yourself what you are going to tell others when these questions come up.
Keep in mind, others may actually benefit from knowing you’ve had surgery. They may be wondering about surgery themselves, and you could be a good ally for them. You’d also be surprised to realize how many people you meet have either had surgery themselves or have a loved one who has had surgery. You may even find a new WLS friend! This is where the “I’ll only tell a few people” turns into…
I’m not going to advertise my WLS, but I’ll tell people if they ask.
A lot of people share their journey with their closest circles: friends, family, coworkers, etc., and open up about it if asked by others. It’s a good way to avoid constantly explaining yourself and gives you support (as long as the people around you are supportive!). It will also help you feel comfortable talking about your surgery. At the same time, you don’t always have to tell everyone who asks, and that’s ok! You’ll get the feel for who to share with and when as time goes on.
I’m going to tell everyone!
Extroverts unite! By letting everyone know about your WLS, you can get a lot of support and avoid the awkward glances of people wondering why you are losing so much weight. This does, however, put you in the spotlight for a lot of comments (are you supposed to be eating that…) and even criticism, so be ready! As you know, the WLS community needs advocates. There are a lot of people out there, including medical professionals, who just see bariatric surgery as “the easy way out.” By sharing your journey, more people will understand that WLS is about treating disease, improving health, and living your best life! So tell the world, just be prepared for the world to come back at you now and then!
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