For many people, one of the hardest things about having bariatric surgery is having to tell family and friends about their decision to have the procedure. It can cause a lot of anxiety as many people respond differently when they hear about bariatric surgery. There is a great deal of stigma out there about weight loss surgery and therefore it causes people to get nervous when they hear that a loved one wants to have the procedure. Some people decide to tell their family and friends before the procedure, others decide to tell them after the procedure, and some choose to never tell anyone about the surgery. It’s important to find what is best for you and your personal journey. We all have different life circumstances and not one of us has the same exact experience.
For those of you that would like to tell your family, but are feeling nervous about the conversation, I’d like to share 5 tips that will hopefully help your discussion go in a positive direction.
1. Be able to explain your WHY. Why are you deciding to have this surgery? Why don’t you feel that you can do it without surgery? Depending on your relationship, you might get the typical why are you taking the “easy” way out? Don’t be embarrassed. Be open and honest. Be prepared for these questions and be ready to defend yourself and your decision.2. Have research ready. One of the most important things for a healthy discussion with family/friends is to show that you have done your research. You want to be able to explain that this wasn’t an overnight decision and that you really took the time to figure out if this surgery was right for you.
3. Stay calm. These conversations can sometimes get emotional depending on who you are talking with, so stay calm and listen to the feelings the person is sharing. Remember that this person cares about you and more than likely is just scared of the thought of you having surgery.
4. Ask for support. After you share the news with your family/friend, tell the person what you need from them to be successful. It is crucial that you have a support system on this journey and this is the perfect opportunity to ask for specific support.
5.Stay true to your decision. Unfortunately, there are times when people are not supportive and it causes a great deal of tension. This can be very challenging but it is important to always stay true to yourself and the decision you made. If you feel that surgery is the best decision for you and your doctor feels the same way, remember why you decided to go down this path and don’t let other people bring you down.