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Did you keep surgery a secret? What did you tell people?



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I’m not planning on telling anyone aside from 4 family members that I’m having surgery. Did anyone else keep their surgery a secret? How did that work for you?

I’m asking because I work at a place that has extreme fat shaming practices and has terribly discriminatory practices as well. Unfortunately discrimination against overweight employees in my state isn’t illegal. I’m using some of my PTO time and having a hernia repair too.

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I have two weight loss procedures...one non-surgical (ESG) I only told one person because the doctor insisted I have someone with me following the procedure. It really wasn't necessary, but if it wasn't for that I wouldn't have told anyone. You can guarantee that someone will tell someone and before you know it.....

I had a sleeve in mid March, no one knows at all...those who knew I was going in for surgery, I told them I was having gall bladder surgery. It helped that my surgery was was of state and I travelled solo.

Because of the time off for surgery and then working from home most of the time, and the social isolation at the moment, I haven't seen that many people for then to question what may seem like sudden weight loss. If anyone asks I will be telling them I lost a little weight before surgery (true) and have kept up the healthy eating habits and exercise since then (also true).

It must be awful going into a workplace that is like that...such culture is driven from the top down, must be some terrible people there.

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1 hour ago, FinallyLosingIt20 said:

I’m not planning on telling anyone aside from 4 family members that I’m having surgery. Did anyone else keep their surgery a secret? How did that work for you?

I’m asking because I work at a place that has extreme fat shaming practices and has terribly discriminatory practices as well. Unfortunately discrimination against overweight employees in my state isn’t illegal. I’m using some of my PTO time and having a hernia repair too.

I told like literally everyone lol. I was just too excited about it, but there are a LOT of people that I work with that had weight loss surgery. Even the same surgeon lol. So I didn't have the same kind of experience that you've had to go through with small minded co-workers. Honestly, if you're uncomfortable telling people then don't. Surgery is just a tool to help us lose weight, but it won't do it on it's own. So, it'll be YOUR hard work that leads to your weight loss and that's all people need to know about it.

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I shared it only with my spouse and a few close friends. I told everyone else that I was on a medically supervised diet through a local hospital, which was technically true.

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I'm a rather private person and when I had my surgery I only told about 3 or 4 people who I consider in my close circle. I didn't even tell my adult children.

After a while, I started loosening up on the subject and told people if they asked. I think it started when my kids started asking questions. They thought I was sick and they weren't buying the "Mom's on a new diet" response anymore.

You may be as private as you like. It's YOUR journey. However, be prepared for questions. I had my canned responses at the ready, like "I had a hernia repair" or "A minor surgical procedure" or "I'm eating healthier and exercising more" All of which were more or less true. For people who weren't close to me, those all worked like a charm. BUT, for those closest to me they didn't buy it after a while.

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8 hours ago, FinallyLosingIt20 said:

I’m asking because I work at a place that has extreme fat shaming practices and has terribly discriminatory practices as well. Unfortunately discrimination against overweight employees in my state isn’t illegal.

WTF - you would think management would Not put up with that! I did not keep mine a secret but many here have Search this site and you will see many threads about this.

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I only told ~ 5 people--my closest, inner circle friends--including the two men who helped me: One guy took me to surgery and dropped me off at the other guy, who kept me at his place for 3 days post-op (and took me to the doctor's office for my 2-day post-op visit [my VSG was out-patient]).

Months later, when I resumed eating out, some friends later noticed that I was eating small meals, ordering appetizers only,a nd even having to take some of that home. They'd also noticed my weight loss. I said, over the past months I'd limited my portions and went mostly high-protein. Facts.

You don't have to tell anyone you don't want to tell. Besides, some are ignorant of the 'whys' of having wls, or that wls is 'the easy way out,' etc., and you don't need naysayers who may not understand and lack knowledge of the struggle.

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you've got a wonderful excuse - you're going in for hernia repair! That's all people need to know for now - that is, anyone who needs to know why you're away from work - and most people don't even need to know that.

I was pretty private about it the first year or two. My immediate family knew, as did a few close friends. I had my surgery in June, and it was October before people started noticing my weight loss, so I doubt anyone tied it to my "staycation" from four months earlier. I told most people I was working with a dietitian and was doing it through low-carbbing and exercising. However, I was more open with other overweight/obese people because I knew they wouldn't buy that. Most skinny people believed it, of course (technically, it was true - I just conveniently left out the part about the surgery...)

I'm more open about it now, although it rarely comes up anymore. Most people either never knew me when I was obese or if they did, the surprise weight loss was a few years ago, so they're used to seeing me this way. It really only comes up when I see someone I haven't seen in several years. Sometimes I tell them the truth; sometimes I give the old "diet & exercise" reason - it depends on who it is.

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1 hour ago, S@ssen@ch said:

I'm a rather private person and when I had my surgery I only told about 3 or 4 people who I consider in my close circle. I didn't even tell my adult children.

After a while, I started loosening up on the subject and told people if they asked. I think it started when my kids started asking questions. They thought I was sick and they weren't buying the "Mom's on a new diet" response anymore.

You may be as private as you like. It's YOUR journey. However, be prepared for questions. I had my canned responses at the ready, like "I had a hernia repair" or "A minor surgical procedure" or "I'm eating healthier and exercising more" All of which were more or less true. For people who weren't close to me, those all worked like a charm. BUT, for those closest to me they didn't buy it after a while.

One person I am telling is my adult daughter, She lives with me, so she needs to know I am making dietary changes. When you told people after the fact, were they upset that you had not told them in the beginning?

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The only person who knows is my husband, and I plan on keeping it that way. For work, I just told my boss I was having gallbladder surgery (which is a surgery I had many years ago! LOL!), and took off a week. My kids are young and didn't even notice that I was spending extra time in bed the week after surgery.

My parents have noticed that I lost weight, and just think that I'm dieting - which I am! Anyone who asks, I just tell them I'm doing low carb - which is also true!

Since you are having hernia surgery, you already have the perfect excuse for missing work. Sounds like your workplace is a bit toxic, so tell no one! Just use this board for support!!

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I'm like NovaLuna--I was so happy about getting my slipped lap band revised to RNY that I would talk to anyone that was willing to listen!😁

Now that it's five months out I'm a bit more private about it. If anyone asks I tell them, but most don't.

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29 minutes ago, FinallyLosingIt20 said:

When you told people after the fact, were they upset that you had not told them in the beginning?

For the most part, the people I told that I was having hernia surgery or that I had started eating healthy/exercising were not the same people who I later told. If there's gossiping behind my back, I'm oblivious of it.

My oldest son seemed to be a little upset. Not because I didn't tell him, but because I had the surgery at all. At this point, it's hardly an issue. We sort of make a game of it in restaurants to see who's willing to share a meal with mom.

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1 hour ago, WInston223322 said:

WTF - you would think management would Not put up with that! I did not keep mine a secret but many here have Search this site and you will see many threads about this.

You would think so, but unfortunately it started with new management. Our new owner is a personal trainer on the side. Since they purchased the company when her grandpa - our founder - died suddenly last year, the culture has changed immensely. I am very unhappy there. I've been on this journey for over a year now, and I was so happy to find this site. I'm scared of someone finding me if I post on Facebook.

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I had only told my husband and kids. Then then 2 weeks before I told one of my cousins and then the Friday before my Monday surgery told my siblings and my parents and that same week end I was at a family party my extended family noticed I had lost some weight already and they noticed all the food and drinks I was rejecting so I shared that I was having sleeve on Monday. Jaw dropping news since I would always say I was scared of something going wrong and then who would watch over my son with special needs since obviously my husband would need the help. Everyone was supportive for the most part. There was one or 2 people who had their opinions but ad I told them if they are worried or think anything negative just pray for me because im doing it no matter what and I don't need negativity as surgery is set for Monday which was 2 days from when I told them.

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I told 5 people: the Mr., the Kid, my Mom, my sister & my BFF.

Of course, as the weight started falling off, others would ask how I was doing it; I told them I was severely restricting calories & carbs, as well as exercised daily. All of which was true.

After about 9-10 months, people just got used to seeing me smaller and eating differently and they stopped asking questions/commenting.

It's been 1.5 years now, and me and my weight are old news.

P.S., I did, however, tell people I had plastic surgery to remove excess skin. I had PS over Christmas, and I had to explain to friends and fam why I was all hunched over and unable to lift my arms. Plus they would see the scars on my arms/tummy eventually (sleeveless tops!), so I couldn't really hide it anyway.

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