Family – A Great Help or a Potential Hurdle?
You’re all set to go. You’ve done your research, found a bariatric surgery practice, had a consultation, and completed all the insurance requirements. Our office just called to advise you that you’ve been approved for surgery! You’ve saved enough to pay your out of pocket fees – everything is perfect…well almost. Now you just have to tell your family.
You may have already told several family members that you were thinking about weight loss surgery. But by their reaction, you might be hesitant to mention it again. Your family loves you, you know they do. But, despite their best intentions, it’s still hard to understand why they would be against something that you know will be so good for you. Something life-changing.
Life-changing may, in fact, be one of the reasons you are facing a wall when it comes to your family and friends. You are ready to embark on this journey, and the reality is that many of them will, or have already been, left behind. It was never your intention to leave anyone out of this time of change in your life, but the truth is that your new behaviors, outlook and support systems are making many of those decisions for you. While you are focusing on the positive, the naysayers have less of a voice. While you are learning about a new diet and post-op eating plan, your happy-hour buddies feel like they’ve lost one of their old crew. While you are meeting, connecting with, and being empowered by other bariatric patients, your friends and family – many of whom have doubted you from the beginning — hold less sway over your daily decisions and choices. You are leaving them behind – you are pulling ahead. For once, you come first.
You know that the weight loss surgery process is a challenge. As a result, you need to have focus and commitment to your health and a new life. There are many people that would benefit from bariatric surgery, and you probably know a few around you. They won’t have surgery, claiming what some people and some media outlets think: it’s the easy way out. But you know better, and thousands who have had successful, life-changing weight loss surgery know better. It’s hard work and you will get out of it what you put in.
Instead of fighting the naysayers, share with your family how hard you’ve worked on this process, your goals and how you want to live a healthier life. Remind them of past examples when your excess weight affected your life, i.e. health issues, not being able to participate in some family activities, your past failed weight loss attempts. You can explain to them the positive side of weight loss surgery and the positive outcomes it can have. They should also know that the surgery is not only going to improve your quality of life, but their lives as well. Lastly, tell them that it’s important to you to have their support and encouragement, even if they may not agree with your decision.
In the end, speaking to family members about something like bariatric surgery can be frustrating, and sometimes downright disappointing. However, it can be amazingly rewarding when you present to them your researched, confident case for having the procedure. Not only might you change their minds, but you may find yourself more motivated than ever to change your life and leave your old mindset and roadblocks behind.