Creeping out of the weight loss surgery closet… could it be worth it?

The topic of whether or not to share the decision to have weight loss surgery with others is often brought up in weight loss surgery forums and blogs. It’s a personal decision and I usually find there are two “camps” 1) people that stay incredibly private about their decision or 2) people that are an open book.

Since beginning this process 20 months ago, I have remained pretty private about the whole thing. I told limited family and friends about my decision – basically only the people I absolutely knew would provide me with support. I’m a sensitive person and I care what people think of me. I wish I were a bit more evolved and didn’t care at all (I envy those kinds of people), but I have enough self-awareness to know that being the recipient of judgment and negativity was going to hinder my ability to stay on course (as an emotional eater that hasn’t completely conquered my issues).

When people ask me what I’m doing to lose weight, I jokingly respond with “I don’t eat a thing that tastes good” and the subject usually changes. Nobody has ever really pushed the issue. I have never been asked if I’ve had weight loss surgery, although people do ask my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and closest friends. I made it clear to these individuals that they are free to answer the question however they would like… as I do not expect them to lie for me. That’s a terrible position to put somebody in and when asked, these individuals respect my privacy by saying “I don’t know, you’d have to ask her!” – which of course, nobody ever seems to do.

I was asked a few months ago by someone on Facebook in a private message what I did to lose the weight. I knew this person to be a trustworthy person so I confided in her my decision to have surgery because she is someone that could potentially benefit from it, though she would be a lightweight. She was very supportive and told me she was proud. I have been much more likely to put pictures on Facebook lately and so of course, I get more questions about what I’ve been doing.

Two days ago, a girl I graduated high school with asked me what my secret was… and I know this girl to be overweight enough to qualify for surgery. I had an internal debate on how to answer her. On one hand, I desperately wanted to share with her my experience and to be completely honest… and on the other hand, I know she lives in my small hometown and that when you tell one person, you might as well tell everyone. I started a conversation with her this evening just simply offering to her a list of what I eat everyday… but we got to talking and I could almost feel her desperation (that’s a bad word, but I can’t think of anything more appropriate) to regain her health and happiness.

I threw out the idea of weight loss surgery by saying something along the lines of, “I think a person needs to do whatever they can to get where they need to be… I think weight loss surgery is great, doctors, nutritionists, therapy, etc.” When I said this, she said she thought she could do it on her own and that “The idea of surgery scares the crap out of me… too many bad stories about that” Immediately I knew that she had this idea in her head of the neighbor’s, uncle’s, best friend’s, brother that had surgery and died! I immediately felt compelled to say “NO, WAIT! LOOK AT ME! I had surgery and I am great!”

Honestly… that’s kind of how it went from there. I told her that after losing 100+ lbs in a supervised diet, I had a long way to go and I needed more help. I told her that I had a surgery less invasive than gastic bypass, but very effective. She immediately started asking me genuine questions and the information started to pour out of me. I shared with her my first progress picture and the pic of me at 18 months out from the start of the supervised diet wearing the same clothes. She was amazed. She asked more questions…. I could literally feel her hope and energy coming through the computer. She’s about to take a trip to Disney and has already asked me if we could talk when she gets back. She wants to know more about the doctors I used, the surgery I had, and all of my experiences. Like I said, I could feel her hope and energy through the screen… and I was immediately glad I shared the information.

I’m not ready to tell the world I have had surgery. I am not ready to make some kind of Facebook announcement or to be the poster child for the VSG; however, with the way I am feeling in this very moment after this conversation…. if the entire town I come from finds out I’ve had surgery and the “secret” is out, then so be it. The idea that within just a few minutes I could give someone like her… who is in the exact some position I was in less than 2 years ago, hope for the future (regardless of whether or not she goes through with it), then it has become 100000% worth it. I actually never expected to feel that way about it and who knows maybe I will change my mind if everyone actually does find out and start questioning me HA HA! But right now, I am so very glad I made myself vulnerable!


6 thoughts on “Creeping out of the weight loss surgery closet… could it be worth it?

  1. Honestly, the experience you had with your classmate is the reason why I decided to be an open book. There are many people in my life who would also benefit from a healthier lifestyle, however it may come for them.

    For me, if my weight loss inspires just one person..then it is all worth it. I haven’t encountered any negative remarks. Most of the conversations I have, the other person says something along the lines of, ‘oh my neighbor’s sister had that and she is doing amazing.’

    I am glad you felt comfortable enough to share your amazing success with your classmate and hope she finds the courage to take that first step toward a healthier life.

    You continue to be an inspiration to me. I have lost 37.6 pounds and am where you were at when you started this journey.

    Keep up the amazing work!!

  2. I am also very open about having gastric bypass and I know what you mean when people will tell you about other people they know that passed away from complications from weight loss surgery. I usually respond that my story is not their story, no disrespect intended. But I got to live for me. Keep up the good work!

  3. I’m super open about my upcomming VSG. I started my blog without the intention of sharing it on Facebook, but I ended up sharing anyway. The response I got was overwhelmingly awesome. Everybody was supportive and not one person had a bad thing to say. I honestly don’t care what people think about me, I used to, but not anymore.

  4. I feel the exact same.. I was very upset when my husband (who didn’t know any better) told his MIL (I haven’t even had the surgery yet) because I know it’ll spread through wildfire on his side of the family.. I’m not hiding.. I just wasn’t ready for those conversations to ensue.. I wanted to decide when and who to tell. Oh well, guess the cats out of the bag.. Best make this the best experience I can..

  5. I have a bit of a different perspective to offer you. I came out when I was 20. I knew that if I only told a few people I risked having others told. The thoughts of being gay in Indiana and having someone have the power to tell hanging over my head didn’t sit well. When I told people, I told everyone. It was part of my life to tell and no one else’s. No regrets. Not long after that I divulged the secret to others that I was no longer Christian. Then, I had this surgery. I told a few people that I trusted because they stuck by me all these years. They told others. It’s your secret to keep or it’s yours to share. You’ve chose to share with others. I hope it works out for you, and I hope you end up in a comfortable enough place not to hide it from others.

  6. Hello.I dnt live int the usa but I want to have my surgery there. I have finally been able to save up enough money but I dnt know where to turn because my research and contacts have not been very promising. Could you recommend a clinic I could check out. Thanks.

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