Bariatric surgery is a life-changing choice that may have been the most important choice so far in your life. It is expensive, takes a lifelong commitment to healthier living, and requires weeks or months of planning. So, should you tell people?
The short answer is that it is completely up to you. Factors that can affect your decision can include your personality and your support system. Everyone’s situation is different, and your decision about whether and whom to tell is yours alone.
The Need for Support
Some people have a great support system. They may have family or friends who are willing to help them eat healthy foods, hold them accountable, and watch the kids while they exercise. They may even know people who have had bariatric surgery and will hold their hands on their own journey.
Other people have very little support. Their family and friends may continue to eat unhealthy foods and may sabotage your efforts. If this is the case, you may be less likely to tell them about your surgery in case they do not support it.
Won’t People Know Anyway?
You may think that because weight comes off so quickly after bariatric surgery, there will be no way you can hide your bariatric surgery from others even if you wanted to do so. However, that is not quite true.
The truth is that weight loss takes hard work. Your eating habits and exercise habits will change. Meals will be smaller and will exclude junk foods such as sugary foods and fried foods. You might not eat out much anymore, and you might strive to take more walks or go to the gym. These can all contribute to weight loss even without surgery, so there is no need to tell people that you had surgery in addition to your lifestyle changes.
Plus, weight loss does not happen overnight. While losing 50 or 100 lb. in a year is life-changing, something to be super proud of, and amazing, it is “only” a pound or two a week. For the casual observer, say, a friend whom you see often, or a coworker who sees you five days a week, the changes will not be fast enough to make them sure that you have had bariatric surgery, if such a thing is even on their minds.
So, the answer is that if youwant to keep your surgery private, you probably can.
Factors to “Weigh” When Deciding
Should you tell or not? These are some benefits to telling.
- Your boss may cut you some slack on days when you do not feel well or have post-op doctor’s appointments.
- Other people may hold you accountable.
- Other people may respect your dietary choices more when they feel it is a “medical” diet.
These are some possible risks.
- You may feel that others are judging you.
- Others may accuse you of taking the “easy way out.”
- It may make you feel vulnerable.
Of course, it is not all or nothing. You can tell some people and not others, if you want.
No matter how supportive your family, friends, or coworkers may be, it can help to be in touch with people who know exactly what you are going through. Online platforms can be great for that. For example, BariatricPal.com has online forums for weight loss surgery patients, possible patients, and long-time post-op patients.
BariatricPal also has Facebook groups that are supportive communities. You can join them here!
A Personal Decision
Weight loss surgery is your decision, and so is the decision about whether to tell others. You can tell whomever you want, or nobody. It is up to you. Your decision may hinge on the support you think you can get from others, how you think they may react, and your own personality and tendency to share medical information with others.
The important things are that you feel comfortable with your decision, and that you build a support network that will be strong enough for you to succeed.