Weight Loss

Should I Be Honest About Weight Loss Surgery?

People are shocked that I talk so openly about having weight loss surgery.  Usually when they ask how I have been losing all the weight and I reply, “Oh, I had weight loss surgery back in April” they just stare at me.

My life is an open book and I’m terrible at keeping secrets, so it just makes sense for me to broadcast it. Plus, I would like to believe that by talking about it, I might be able to help someone else. Honestly, I would probably not have had the surgery myself if someone hadn’t talked to me about it. So why are people so afraid to tell the truth? 

Why can’t people talk about having weight loss surgery?

About one year before weight loss surgery.
Me, about one year before surgery.

In our society, weight loss surgery is still looked at as taboo. People see it as taking the easy way out. Or it is viewed as a last resort for people who have serious medical conditions caused by their weight.

Until you or someone close to you has gone through the process, you probably won’t understand that it is anything but easy. Every day, I struggle with my mental demons and try to take it one step at a time, just like a drug addict or an alcoholic.

And you don’t have to weigh five hundred pounds to have serious health issues. Sometimes, as little as thirty pounds can cause a strain on your body. 

Here are the facts

Weight loss surgery can be a significant tool in helping overweight people reclaim their lives and resolve medical problems. What you might not realize (because no one is admitting to having it done), is that it is far more common than you think. In 2017, over 200,000 people had some type of weight loss surgery and the number continues to climb every year. I’m willing to bet that someone you know has had the surgery and has kept you in the dark about it. 

I chose to be honest about my weight loss surgery

Before I had my vertical sleeve gastrectomy, I was advised by multiple people to keep quiet about it. “Just tell people that you changed the way you are eating” they said. “It’s the truth without telling them the whole truth”. Which made me wonder, why can’t I tell people the whole truth? Why should I be ashamed?

Everyone knew I was overweight – that’s not the type of thing you can hide. Everyone would see that I was losing weight – again, not the type of thing that you can hide. 

If I was doing keto or started exercising regularly to lose weight, everyone would encourage me to brag about it, right? They would want to know the specifics of my food or exercise plan. They would want me to share to see if they could pick up a few new tips. So why was weight loss surgery supposed to be my dirty little secret? 

The judgement is real

It’s hard enough to be overweight. You already hate yourself and think everyone is judging you. I don’t want to worry about people judging me for losing weight too.

Why does it matter how I lost the weight? Why does it matter if there is a small percentage of people out there that don’t agree with my methods? What should matter in this situation is that I took control of my problem and I’m working on bettering myself. 

Fat shaming is a real issue in this country. Ask any overweight person and they can tell you about a time in their life that they felt embarrassed or bullied because of their weight. It is (mostly) acceptable in our culture to look down on obese people and to judge them for their weight problems.

People think being fat is a personal problem. “If only they had better willpower or they weren’t so lazy, they wouldn’t be so fat” is what many people think. This is exactly why people keep quiet about the surgery; because of the fear of being judged and fat shamed yet again. Even the people who are having weight loss surgery see it as a last resort. Believe me, they are partially afraid to tell people about it in case they fail at this too. 

Sharing is caring

6 months after weight loss surgery
Me, about 6 months after surgery. 

Once I started talking about it, people came out of the woodwork to tell me their stories. Friends, co-workers, neighbors and family suddenly wanted to discuss their experiences or hear more about mine because they were considering it for themselves.

I’ll admit, there were a few people who shocked me too. I would never have guessed that they had the surgery. Honestly, it left me wondering why they didn’t feel comfortable talking to me about it before. 

That is exactly why I am so vocal about it. I want everyone to feel like they have someone to talk to about the surgery. No one should feel alone or like they don’t have a supportive person in their life.

I want everyone to realize that obesity is rampant in our society. Everyone should know that there are tools out there to help you get healthier. I want them to know that it will not be easy and there will be setbacks, but in the end, it will be worth it. 

Final thoughts

If you are considering the surgery, here is another article to read. The side effects are strange and again, not often discussed.

If you want to judge me, go ahead. Not everyone will understand the
journey I am on and that is ok. I feel better and I’m getting healthier every day. I’m happy and I’m helping other people. I’ve hopefully extended my time on this planet and I’m working through my mental health issues surrounding food.

So go ahead and judge me, but please send your friends and family members to me when they are ready to talk about this. 

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