Are you among the 42% of U.S. adults classified as obese? If so, you might have considered bariatric surgery.
Over 220,000 people undergo weight loss surgery each year, which involves a procedure aimed at helping you lose excess weight quickly and safely.
The surgeries themselves are minimally invasive and come with names you may already know. Gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass surgery are two of the most common procedures that help patients lose between 50% and 70% of their excess weight.
Do you suffer from obesity comorbidities like type 2 diabetes and heart disease? If so, you’ll be happy to know that these weight-loss surgeries can treat and often reverse obesity-related ailments.
With all these benefits and the breadth of improvement to your quality of life, you would think patients of weight loss surgeries would want to hail the good word about their procedures.
Yet keeping weight loss surgery a secret is more common than you might think.
Why Would Anyone Want to Keep Weight Loss Surgery a Secret?
There are several good reasons for wanting to keep bariatric surgery concealed.
- You may believe the fact you had surgery is no one else’s business. And you would be right.
- You might be fearful of a weight loss stigma. That having surgery to lose weight somehow makes a negative statement about you.
- Or you may believe that pre-celebrating the success of your surgery would somehow doom your weight loss to failure. As if you could hex yourself by getting your hopes up.
Your Weight Loss Surgery is No One Else’s Business
The way you are perceived by others is a powerful motivator to conform. When you step outside of conformity to have a surgery like the gastric sleeve, for example, you begin to feel set apart.
Naturally, others around you will want to ask questions about your surgery. If you go to work and come back after a short vacation, no one will know you had surgery unless you tell them. Before long, you will begin to lose massive amounts of weight that will be difficult to hide. Weight loss surgery patients tend to lose the bulk of the weight within the first few months to a year after surgery.
Even if people notice that you’re suddenly losing weight and positively glowing with newfound confidence and energy, you still don’t have to tell anybody about your surgery if you don’t want to.
Weight loss surgery is between you and your doctor. No one else has to know. If anyone asks, you can say you had minor abdominal surgery for health reasons. You can then chalk the weight loss off to your commitment to healthier living, which is one of the requirements of becoming a weight loss surgery patient.
Do You Fear the Stigma of Weight Loss Surgery?
There is a prevailing myth that losing weight when you are obese is all about willpower.
That if you eat right and increase your physical activity, you’ll be down to your ideal BMI in no time.
Unfortunately, losing weight as an obese individual is downright difficult. There are a few factors that contribute to obesity, which could include bad lifestyle habits, certain diseases that slow the metabolism, genetics, and some medications.
Once you are obese, losing even a single pound becomes an uphill battle, and your hormones are mostly to blame.
Obesity often makes you resistant to insulin, which regulates your blood sugar. You also don’t respond to leptin, which is the satiety hormone that tells you you’re full.
On top of it all, you may be producing a heavier level of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. No wonder you feel constantly hungry and never full enough to stop taking in calories.
Weight loss surgery removes you from the cycle of overeating and helps you live healthier.
One of the main components of today’s popular surgeries is the removal of most of your stomach. The most important aspects remain. The part that is removed is the part that creates the hunger hormone we just mentioned. With a smaller stomach, you eat less, and you don’t feel as hungry.
Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
Surgeries like the gastric bypass reroute your smaller stomach to a portion of your small intestine, helping you absorb fewer calories from the foods you eat.
Weight loss surgery normalizes your hormones. Your body functions like someone of normal weight. And comorbidities like type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and even osteoarthritis can begin to diminish in their effects or reverse course completely.
Some weight loss surgery patients are advised by their doctors to stop taking medications they’ve taken for years for certain comorbidities. This all happens within a year of having surgery, in many cases.
Now that you know more about bariatric surgery, let’s get back to that anxiety-inducing stigma.
While it is true that weight loss surgery helps you lose weight by making the process easier, the techniques used are not magic.
The weight does not fall off without constant and consistent effort on your behalf.
Most people will tell you that losing weight with weight loss surgery is downright hard. You must adopt healthier habits and change your lifestyle. Once you do that successfully, though, most bariatric patients will also tell you that bariatric surgery saved their lives.
This information should help you discount anyone who tries to tell you that having weight loss surgery somehow makes you weak.
If anything, making the difficult decision to have surgery makes you strong, determined, and focused on living a longer and better life. Who could judge you negatively for that?
Do You Have a Fear of Weight Loss Surgery Failure?
Are you afraid that telling other people about your bariatric surgery will somehow stop it from working? This is also an understandable apprehension. What if you brag about your procedure only to remain obese?
It is true that you must work to maximize the amount of weight you hope to lose. Surgeries like the rare duodenal switch let you lose up to 75% or more of your excess weight. But you must still work to choose healthy foods. And you must toil away at moving your body and building fat-burning muscle mass. The more effort you put in, the more excess pounds you can potentially lose.
Your bariatric surgeon will direct you on how to get the most out of your surgery. Eating small portions of nutritious food as part of a healthy diet, regular exercise, and checking in regularly with your doctor are a few of the lifestyle changes you’ll be forced to make. Living a healthy lifestyle is paramount to finding success with bariatric surgery.
If you follow your surgeon’s directions, you can boast about your bariatric procedure and have confidence the excess weight will soon be gone.
How to Open Up About Bariatric Surgery
If you are an introvert or private person and wish to keep your surgery a secret, more power to you.
However, being more open about your lifestyle changes can have a variety of important benefits. For one, you may inspire someone else to choose weight loss surgery.
Imagine saving someone else’s life by merely sharing the experience you had with your procedure.
How to Talk with Friends and Family About Weight Loss Surgery
The best people to inform about your surgery is your immediate support group. These are the people who love you and want the best for you, no matter what.
Having at least one close person to share your experience with can make all the difference. You may find that spilling the beans about your procedure delivers abject relief.
While you may be nervous to tell others, you’ll find that those who want what’s best will always back your decision if you’re passionate enough about it.
Don’t Let Anyone Talk You Out of Your Decision
While telling your close circle about your upcoming or past weight loss procedure, you may encounter a naysayer in your midst.
A naysayer might try and use the common myth we referred to, that you don’t need weight loss surgery. Eat right and exercise, and the weight will come off.
You can give individuals like this a science lesson about hormones and the effects weight loss surgeries have on the body, or you can agree to disagree, then walk away.
Once again, weight loss surgery is between you and your doctor. You are encouraged to engage in your own research and ask your bariatric surgeon plenty of questions.
Once you have come to the decision of having surgery, it should only come after diligent homework on your part, so that you can be assured your decision is healthily sound.
If anyone tries talking you out of surgery after you’ve done all that work, it’ll be much easier to tell them to enjoy their day and turn the other cheek than to engage them in the first place.
Gather a Support Group & Meet Other Like-Minded People
Another benefit of telling others about your bariatric surgery is that you can meet others like you.
You never know when you’ll meet someone who recently had a gastric bypass or lap-band procedure, which cinches a portion of your stomach closed to restrict the amount of food you can eat.
Online and physical support groups are an excellent idea. They could revolve around weight loss and/or weight loss surgery. They could even be support groups for people interested in attaining a healthier lifestyle.
Making friends with people you meet in support groups could open a whole new world for you. You could share your weight loss goal and potentially compete with a friend going through the same thing.
You can mitigate risks like weight regain by having an accountability partner ensuring you’re both keeping to healthy habits.
And you can both work toward long-term weight maintenance using your shared tips and experiences.
Get Your Bariatric Surgery Paid for By Insurance
We’ve covered telling your friends, family, and co-workers about your surgery. We’ve even mentioned what to say to the busy body naysayers you meet in the wild or at the office. But what about your boss and the HR department? Should they be notified of your weight loss surgery?
There are two good reasons to tell the higher-ups about your decision to change your life with bariatrics.
Your boss can give you the time off required to recover after surgery if you have PTO available.
You may also find that all your costs are covered under your company’s insurance policy.
Keep in mind there are still ways to get your surgery covered if your company policy doesn’t cover bariatric procedures, such as lobbying your company to include weight loss surgery coverage.
Of course, if you plan to finance your surgery or you’re paying out of pocket, your employer can stay in the dark too.
Many bariatric patients have strategically used vacation time to accommodate their recovery periods, allowing them to keep their surgeries a secret.
Want to Learn More About Bariatric Surgery?
Whether you are considering surgery, have a surgical date scheduled, or you’ve recently had surgery, you’re wondering if you should tell others or keep your surgery close to the vest.
Tell those you like and love. The adage holds true: Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. Any naysayers do not matter, so don’t listen to them.
Even if you decide to keep your weight loss surgery a secret, people will eventually catch on that something is different.
When your clothes start fitting looser and your face and body begin to thin out, you’re bound to get questions like, “What did you do?” or “How did you do it? How did you go on to lose all that weight?”
It is your decision to divulge the details about your surgery – or not. It’s your health and life, and you’re in charge.
Want to learn more about bariatric surgery and what it can do for you? Call (310)-694-4486 to schedule a consultation.