What to Do If Your Friends & Family Aren't Supportive of Your Journey

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, and owner of Level Up Bariatrics, LLC, a bariatric lifestyle coaching program that provides pre and post-op support for weight loss surgery patients. Learn more on Instagram (@level_up_bariatrics).

Your bariatric journey is a significant step towards reclaiming health and wellness. However, the path to transformation after surgery isn't always lined with unwavering support from friends and family. If you find yourself facing doubt, skepticism, or negativity from your loved ones regarding bariatric surgery, know that you're not alone. Having a strong network after bariatric surgery is crucial for your success and well-being. Here's how to build a supportive network after bariatric surgery, navigate the challenges, and cultivate a more accepting environment post-surgery.

1) Communicate your why.

Begin by openly sharing your reasons for undergoing bariatric surgery with your inner circle. Express your desire for a healthier lifestyle, improved well-being, and longevity. Help them understand that this decision wasn’t easy and is backed by medical advice and your own research. By expressing your reasons clearly, you lay the groundwork for empathy and understanding.

2) Educate your loved ones.

Knowledge is a powerful tool when it comes to misconceptions and fears. Offer resources and information about bariatric surgery to your friends and family. Watch informative videos with them. Help them understand the benefits, risks, and outcomes associated with the procedure. Address any concerns they may have with patience and empathy, guiding them through the process step by step.

3) Set boundaries.

Establishing boundaries is essential if your loved ones continue to express unsupportive or negative attitudes toward your decision. Politely but firmly communicate your need for positivity and encouragement on your journey. Let them know that while you value their opinions, ultimately, this is a decision you've made for your health, and you need their support.

4) Seek support elsewhere.

If your friends and family struggle to provide the support you need, look for support groups or online communities of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery. Connecting with others who understand your experiences firsthand can be validating and empowering. These communities can offer guidance, encouragement, and camaraderie through times when you need it most.

5) Lead by example.

Show your loved ones the positive changes bariatric surgery has brought into your life through your actions, such as healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Lead by example and demonstrate the transformative power of bariatric surgery through your commitment to your overall health and well-being.

6) Reassure them.

Assure your friends and family that while your lifestyle may change post-surgery, your relationships with them remain a priority. Reaffirm your love and commitment to them, and emphasize that your decision to undergo bariatric surgery is about improving your quality of life, not distancing yourself from them.

7) Be patient.

Understand that acceptance and support take time. Be patient with your loved ones as they process their feelings and adjust to the changes in your life. Continue to communicate openly and honestly, and give them the space they need to agree with your decision. If they choose not to agree with your decision, that’s their choice, and you will have to accept it. Don’t spend precious time and energy trying to make someone think another way if that’s impossible. This journey is yours and is about you, your life, and what you intend to do with the rest of it.

Building a supportive network after bariatric surgery is essential for your physical and emotional well-being. By proactively addressing concerns, educating your loved ones, and seeking support from like-minded individuals, you can cultivate a healthy and nurturing environment that empowers you to thrive on your journey toward health and happiness. Remember, you're not alone, and with the right support system in place, you can conquer any obstacle that comes your way.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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