Help! My Family Is Against My Weight Loss Surgery!
Why Does It Matter?
Support during your Weight Loss Surgery journey can help you succeed. It is motivating to know that the people who love you are on your side. Through the long days of diet restrictions and dramatic lifestyle changes, your journey will be easier if your family members and friends pitch in however they can, whether with verbal encouragement or concrete changes such as avoiding eating off-limits foods in front of you.
Still, it is important to remember that you CAN succeed, whether or not you get the support you hope for.
Get to the Heart of the Matter
First, make sure you know why they are against your weight loss surgery. It is often because they are afraid for your safety. They may know people – or know people who know people who know people – who had complications from Weight Loss Surgery. You can talk to them about the real risks of surgery – using statistics rather than hearsay – compared to the risks of remaining overweight.
Still, do not assume that your safety is why they are negative about your decision. It is important to let them express their concerns and to address them directly. These are some other common reasons why your family and friends might have a negative gut reaction to your exciting news.
- They may be worried that you won’t be able to stick to the Weight Loss Surgery diet, and that you’ll be disappointed with the results.
- They may think you don’t need it. A lot of family members have trouble seeing how overweight you are, and understanding how much it interferes with your life and health.
- They may feel insulted. Parents especially may feel as though they have failed if they see you, their child, opt for surgery.
- They may feel threatened. Your significant other, for example, may be comfortable in the relationship you have had for years, and may worry that the way you feel about him/her will change as you lose weight.
- They may not know what it means for them. Friends may worry that you won’t want to hang out with them anymore, especially if your time together tends to revolve around food or if they think of you as their dependable “fat friend.”
Whatever the true concern is, address it directly. Reassure your friends and family that you are doing this for you, and that you will not become a different person.
Offer Them a Role
Some friends and family members may feel overwhelmed by your news of Weight Loss Surgery, and that can lead to their negative response. Surprisingly, offering them ways to be more involved in the experience can actually help change their minds. They may feel better about your WLS once you tell them the details about the prep, procedure, and diet, and may even be grateful if you let them know specifically what they can do to help.
Address Meal Times Directly
Food is central to relationships at home and in social settings, so it is understandable if your loved ones are worried about how your upcoming Weight Loss Surgery will affect the time you spend together. If you think this may be a concern, discuss meals at home and in restaurants with your friends and family. Let them know that you will still be present at the table and interested in being good company, even if you are not eating as much as them or ordering the exact foods that they are. If you are comfortable with the situation, they are more likely to be.
Agree to Disagree
In most cases, family members mean well. It may be hard to remember or see in the heat of the moment, but they often do genuinely want the very best for you. If you have already tried your hardest to convince them to support your Weight Loss Surgery decision and they are not ready to do so, your next hope is to keep them as an ally in other aspects of your life.
Hopefully, you and they can agree to disagree about your Weight Loss Surgery. You can let them know that you respect their opinion and will not be pressuring them to support your WLS. In exchange, you can ask them to continue to be your friend regardless of whether you are a bariatric surgery patient.
Sometimes, it just takes time. Your own Weight Loss Surgery success may be the best argument for why your loved ones should support you. It may take weeks, months, or a year, but they may come around as they see how happy you are, and as they realize how much they miss you.
Bariatric surgery is a lot easier when everyone you love supports your decision, but that’s not always the case. Don’t let resistance from family members and friends get you down, though. They’re probably trying to act in your best interest, and in most cases, you can still get Weight Loss Surgery while keeping strong relationships with them.