6 Tips on Telling Your Loved Ones You’re Getting Bariatric Surgery
If you’ve decided to undergo weight-loss surgery, you’re definitely not alone. In 2017, 228,000 patients in the U.S. elected to have some form of weight-loss surgery, including gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. You know that this surgery will help you get control of your weight and live a healthier, happier life. Weight-loss surgery is such a positive step, and you want to share the good news with your friends and family and ask for their support. And yet, you might hesitate – what if they won’t understand? What if they tell you it’s the “easy way out” (even though it isn’t) or you “aren’t even that big”? Working up the courage to tell your loved ones about your weight-loss surgery decision can be nerve-wracking, but it can also be liberating and empowering. Begin your journey with these 6 easy tips:
Start Gathering Your Research
Before doing anything else, it’s wise to do a bit of preliminary research on the type of weight-loss surgery you’re planning to have. Doing so will help you answer any questions or concerns your family and friends may have – and it can also demonstrate that you’ve made a thoughtful decision for the sake of your health. Peruse the Internet for pertinent information, read about other patients’ experiences, and ask questions to your doctor and those who have gone before you. Make sure you jot down all the many benefits weight-loss surgery can provide, including the reduced risk of life-threatening diseases like breast cancer, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many more.
Know Your Why
Without a doubt, the people who love you the most will ask you why you’re choosing to have weight-loss surgery. Some may ask why you feel you’re unable to achieve your goals without the surgery while others may convince you to just diet and exercise. When they ask, it’s imperative that you’re able to explain your motivation behind your decision. Keep your goals firmly in sight, be open and honest, and be ready to defend your choice.
Having this type of conversation can be intimidating and, often, emotional depending on whom you’re sharing this information with. As you navigate the conversation, keep in mind that the person before you loves you, is trying to process a lot of information, and is concerned for you. Take deep breaths, listen to their feelings, and be honest about how you’re feeling, too.
Ask for Support
After sharing your decision with your loved ones, tell them that, in order to be successful on your weight-loss journey, you’d like their support. You can define what support might look like as well – maybe it’s a ride to and from the surgical center, gaining an exercise buddy, or someone who is simply on your side no matter what. Be upfront and ask for what you need from your loved ones.
Be Willing to Listen, Too
Conversations are two-way streets. After you’ve finished explaining your decision and asking for their support, give your loved ones space to say what they’re feeling, too. Your family and friends may possibly push against your decision – but often, they do it out of love and concern for you. Ease their worries by debunking common misconceptions of weight-loss surgery. Give them the benefit of the doubt and listen to what they have to say. Who knows – you might be surprised by just how supportive they may be!
Commit to Your Decision
Regardless of the outcome of your conversation, it’s important that you remember your why and stick to your decision. Despite how others might feel, the choice to have weight-loss surgery is yours alone. Keep your health goals in mind and surround yourself with loving, supportive people.
An Example on How to Start the Conversation
If you’re struggling to form the right words, don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous, and the conversation doesn’t need to be difficult. You can say something similar to the following:
“I’ve been concerned about my health for a long time, and I’ve been doing a lot of research about how I can take control and be healthy for good. After talking with my doctor and putting a great deal of thought into it, I’ve come to a decision about my health.”
Then, talk about the procedure, what your goals look like and how the procedure can help you reach them, and that their support would help you be successful.
Extra Tidbits to Keep in Mind
- Reactions may vary. Your loved ones may respond to big news in different ways. There is also a stigma about weight-loss surgery, and many people become anxious or concerned when they hear about someone wanting the procedure. Know that most people mean well and those with whom you share the news are ultimately good people who want good things for you; they just may show it in different ways.
- Try not to take any possible negative reactions personally. While many people will be supportive of you, there may be others who don’t understand or choose not to support your decision. Remember that the decision to have the weight-loss surgery is your own and focus your attention instead on your community of supporters.
- Families and feelings are all complicated. No family is alike, and no family is perfect. Perhaps your siblings will be more supportive of you than your parents. Maybe your immediate family will understand, but your distant family won’t. Keep your spouse in mind as well; they may fear the impending change and challenges as they “lose” a version of the old you. In the end, you know your family best, and you can choose what you want to share with whom.
- Feel free to include your closest allies on the journey. The road ahead can get bumpy at times – it’s typical of all journeys. What makes the ride easier is having loved ones encourage you along the way. If you wish, feel free to include your close friends and family members on your appointments and support group meetings. This will help them better understand what you’re going through and can help them know how to become even more supportive to you as well.
- You may feel so much better after you share your news. It can be difficult to keep such big news to yourself. Start by confiding in your closest loved ones to help break the ice. You could feel like such a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders!
- You can choose when – or if – you will share this information with others. There is no rule saying that you must clue others into what you’re going through. You don’t need to tell your family, friends, or coworkers about your weight-loss surgery if you’re not ready. If it will help you feel happier or more motivated by telling them, however, feel free to share!
- Joining a support group can make a world of difference. If you feel as if no one is on your side, you don’t have to feel alone. There are many support groups to help you along the way, no matter what stage you’re in! In these groups, you can connect with others who know what you’re going through, which helps validate your feelings and motivate you on your health journey. If you’re not sure where to start, try ProCare Health’s support group.
ProCare Health Is Here for You
No matter how you want to handle your big news, know that ProCare Health is here with you every step of the way. Our once-daily multivitamin is designed specifically for those who have had weight-loss surgery. It is easy to take and easy to absorb, providing the perfect balance of essential nutrients your body needs post-surgery. Try a free sample and see for yourself!