So…. I may be the “jerk” of my support group!

Ok… so maybe “jerk” isn’t the right word, maybe I’m more like the “Debbie Downer” of the support group?

I say this because I’ve noticed in the last couple of support group meetings I’ve attended there have been a couple of patients about 4 months out that have talked a lot about how their “relationship with food is completely different” and that they see bad food “all the time” and they “pass on the bad food all the time and it doesn’t even bother them – they don’t even think twice about it!” These people have literally used the word “easy” when making these statements – and of course, it is at this point that I see the eyes of the pre-op patients light up. 

This makes me uncomfortable because I too felt this way for a long time. I felt this way during the six month supervised diet (with a full stomach) and I felt this way for probably 7 months after surgery as well. But, it doesn’t last. I don’t know that I’ve come across a single vet on any of the forums I frequent say that this kind of feeling lasts – really it’s all a part of the “honeymoon period” people talk about – you know, the period of time after surgery where not only it is easiest to physically lose weight, but it is also the easiest time to exercise willpower. (Side note: this is exactly why it is so alarming to see people talk about going off their plans within the first few weeks or months.)

So, anyway…what have I done during the last couple of support group meetings when this happens? I instantly jump in after these statements and tell everyone how it does get more difficult and the ease of resisting temptation doesn’t last forever. I say things like, “Well, I felt that way too… but being a bit further out, I can tell you that it changes” and things of that nature.

I feel like it could come off as me just trying to contradict the newest post-op patients when I do this, but I think it’s REALLY important for people to understand that it’s not a permanent state of being for most, if not all people. I want these pre-op patients to know that it’s hard work and these feelings don’t last forever. At the same time, I don’t want to seem like a “Debbie Downer” or jerk. I certainly don’t want to come off as unsupportive either. However, I think support is letting these people know the good and the bad of this whole process – and most newly post-op people seem to only be highlighting the good points.

I think I would rather be the “jerk” of the support group and be “real” with them, than painting a picture in their minds that somehow our relationship with food has magically changed forever. I think the newly post-op patients are going to see (very soon) this picture is just a mirage – and unfortunately they probably won’t come to support group anymore. Just to give you an idea of the support group participation – I’m 10 months post-op and the 2nd furthest out “regular” attendee. Scary!

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6 thoughts on “So…. I may be the “jerk” of my support group!

  1. I don’t think you’re a “Debbie Downer,” you are being realistic. I think sometimes folks go into this process thinking that the surgery is a magic bullet, and that the weight will just fly off and will ALWAYS fly off when in all actuality, it doesn’t! You have to fight for every pound! Anyone who has WLS and refuses to see that this is actually just as much work as losing weight without this tool is clearly deluded…

  2. I think it’s so important to be honest. It’s great that people can feel it’s easy, but as someone further along, your input is huge and gives a glimpse into real life. I’m in the pre-op stage going through classes before surgery and I need to know both sides.

  3. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I would rather someone be honest with me about what is really going to happen, than be in a “honeymoon phase” and give me dreams and roses. I know it’s not all daydreams and lollipops, but that’s what I’m finding in most of my research. Everyone’s “so happy they did it” and “it’s so easy”, and I’m not convinced. There is an underbelly to this and it’s hard and ugly and slightly painful, but I’d rather know now than find out 6 months down the road that, although what everyone said at the time was truthful, it doesn’t stay the same.

  4. I think it’s really important that you’re giving them the whole truth. There is a woman on my Optifast forums who has successfully hit her goal weight and when she talks about how Optifast worked for her, she always says that after the first few days she had “no hunger EVER”. Now, I don’t know if I believe that. But, it certainly isn’t true for me or many many others, if not most people. It’s hard seeing people give out a bit of false hope like that.

    The other thing is, it can make people feel like failures if they are expecting these amazing things but actually experience something more real and much less wonderful.

    Good job – keep speaking up! Knowledge is power.

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