You’ve made a big decision that’s going to greatly impact your future and your health. You know you’re taking a leap in the right direction, and you’re ready to start your bariatric surgery journey. Now, you’ve reached the step where you need to tell the people in your life what’s going on. Depending on who you plan to tell and how you expect them to react, preparing to tell your loved ones can be as intense as making the decision in the first place. Here’s how you can take it step by step.
Unless they’re experts on bariatric surgery, which is not the case for most people, the people in your life are going to have a lot of questions. By doing plenty of research ahead of time, you can feel more confident that you’re on the right track. You’ll also be armed with the answers to the barrage of incoming questions, especially the more difficult ones aimed at discouraging you.
You don’t have to tell anyone about your decision to embark on a weight loss surgery journey, but it could help you build a support group. Once you’ve decided who to tell, decide beforehand how much you want to tell them. Some people will want all the details, and it’s your choice what all you want to share. It’s also important to decide when to tell your loved ones about this important choice you’ve made. Timing can make all the difference. However, no matter how well you plan your move, you may still face some uncomfortable questions and even objections from those closest to you.
When you tell your loved ones you’re making this major life decision, they may react with fear. Consider what they might be afraid of: losing their eating or drinking buddy, being judged if you lose weight and they don’t, or something going wrong during the surgery. Even if it doesn’t feel that way at the moment, your loved ones want what’s best for you. Just as much as your doctors reassured you that this was the right decision, you may find yourself needing to reassure your family and friends. One great way to do that is to help them understand why this is the right decision for you.
Before you talk to anyone about your decision to undergo bariatric surgery, you need to feel confident about why you’re doing it. Perhaps you’re dealing with an obesity-related illness that you’re hoping to make more manageable. Maybe years of dieting, exercising and practicing healthy habits has simply not worked for you. You could be looking to live a longer, healthier life to be able to spend time with your children and future grandchildren. Whatever your reason is, remember it, and be prepared to share it with your family and friends when you tell them about this decision you’ve made for your health.
Some patients have strong support networks consisting of family, friends, coworkers, faith groups and more. Others receive more pushback than support from the ones they love. If you’re struggling to find support within your own community, there are always resources available to help you thrive during this health journey. You can find groups of other bariatric surgery patients by searching online or through your bariatric surgeon.
However you find support, remember that you matter, and your weight loss surgery journey is the next step toward a healthier life.
Dr. Hodges highly recommends patients attend monthly support group meetings. The meetings are led by Dr. Collins Hodges, both a licensed clinical psychologist and someone who has had bariatric surgery himself. The support groups are offered on the first Monday of every month from 6:30pm – 7:15pm CST via an online GoToMeeting. The meetings are open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.