Jump to content
×
Are you looking for the BariatricPal Store? Go now!

Recommended Posts

So, I feel funny writing about this, but...has anyone else ever experienced a negative change in their social life post-op?

I had my surgery back in January. Although my physical health has made drastic improvements, I'm afraid my mental health has taken a toll.

I noticed people have been treating me very differently since having the surgery. I've been getting so many rude comments, I can't keep up. They think I "took the easy way out (not realizing it was actually quite the opposite: the last resort)," and/or are freaked out by all my new eating habits and restrictions or are saying cruel things like "oh, you'll just gain it back like so-and-so did anyway, you watch." A lot of them have also proceeded to claim my changed appearance "weirds them out." Some of my now ex-friends have even gone so far to complain that I "betrayed the body positivity movement by giving into society's expectations of what women should look like." What the actual heck? Even dating, something I thought would get better as I lost weight, is just as bad as it was before. Since I can't drink alcohol anymore or eat a lot of foods, guys have been pretty hostile. Although I've been private about my surgery while dating (simply stating I have a strict diet I need to follow), that hasn't stopped guys from being mean or rude.

Bottom line here is I've lost a lot of friends this past year and my love life is no better than it was. I'm extremely lonely and depressed.

Has anyone else ever encountered this? What can I do to change it? Why is there so much social stigma towards this surgery?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry this has happened to you!

I think it's time to find some new friends! I know it's hard to socialize during Covid, but do you have any hobbies or interests that would lend to joining a club? Gardening, hiking, skiing, cycling, golf, etc? If you could find some friends with non-food involved hobbies, then you would eliminate some of the problems. Likewise with dating, instead of going out to eat or to a bar, how about going hiking, skiing or playing mini golf. Just trying to think of a few ideas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people may feel threatened or jealous. This is something that scares me, that I will lose people. I think in the end the people that are meant to be on your journey stay. As far as the others you just bid them farewell and good wishes. I have to admit before finally checking into getting surgery done. I had two friends that went to Mexico and had the sleeve done last year. I am admitting that I was green with envy when I saw them dropping weight. Here I was struggling with Hypothyroidism and emotional stuff and they were posting pictures looking phenomenal. I felt it wasn't fair. I sat and cried my eyes out because I have been working hard on my own to do it and nothing was happening. Having the initial appointment today was overwhelming. You have to change everything, so it is hard work and the stacks of orders of tests from the doctor. This surgery is a tool, not a cure all. No one lives inside your body, they have no idea what you go through. I have one friend that I connected with who has gone through this process (not to Mexico) and she is supportive. I am holding on tight to that friendship, because she may be the only one that understands. You are not alone. There is support out there, you just have to dig for it. I'm scared of the naysayers myself, but I know I have this forum, and that helps out tremendously. Sorry my answer is so long. LOL. -Best Wishes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I agree that change scares people. When they see you, they have to face their own flaws, fears and insecurities. It’s human nature, however, good friends will support you and toxic people will sabotage you. Use this time to cultivate new hobbies, interests, self worth and crummy tv. It’s tough with COVID, does your Dr have a support group?

You have support here, don’t forget that.

Keep your chin up, your goals in a tight grip and recognize toxic people, you don’t need them. Brene Brown always makes me feel more confident when I’m down. Her TED Talk on YouTube is amazing and so are her books and Netflix special.

If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.”
Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Edited by Cheeseburgh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, kc892020 said:

Has anyone else ever encountered this?

I guess I was very lucky with this one. The people who knew and know about my surgery (or rather multiple ones) are/were usually curious but not hostile. When going to restaurants or ordering food for special events they usually ask what I can eat or not (I don't eat meat/dairy) and if I'm ok with the choice they made.

I can remember being at a fancy dinner after a meeting and one of my colleagues noticed me not eating that much even though the food was sooooo good (it was) and I freely admitted that I'd sometimes would like to be able to eat more, like e. g. tonight but that things are just as they are and that in the end it's not the end of the world. He asked some questions, I answered them and then we moved on to a different topic. I gave a damn that we we're surrounded by people. I'm not making it a secret, too much of a hassle.

Of course I can't look into their heads and I don't know if they're talking negatively about it behind my back.

Quote

Why is there so much social stigma towards this surgery?

I'm sorry to say so, but WLS patients are contributing to this stigma themselves by keeping their surgery a secret, sometimes trying to hide it at all cost and telling people they "just eating healthier and exercising" when asked about how they lost so much weight.

This "keeping it a secret" is usually explained with wanting to keep medical privacy. While I completely understand that medical history is private I still would like people to ask themselves the question if they would be as private about going to the dentist because of wisdom teeth surgery or having taken their gall bladder out. In fact "gall bladder surgery" is a popular camouflage for WLS as it seems, so "medical privacy" doesn't really seem to be the issue in the end.

Quote

What can I do to change it?

There will always be toxic people in your environment. You can only try to get rid of as many of them as possible or at least limit contact to them as much as possible.

Regarding first dates with guys: maybe try to meet them for coffee first, not for dinner. No eating involved at all or maybe only something small.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, JillianL said:

I am admitting that I was green with envy when I saw them dropping weight. Here I was struggling with Hypothyroidism and emotional stuff and they were posting pictures looking phenomenal. I felt it wasn't fair. I sat and cried my eyes out because I have been working hard on my own to do it and nothing was happening.

I think this is the main culprit when it comes to hostility post WLS: envy.

Weight/food struggles are ubiquitous, at least past a certain age and it's kind of a WTF?? feeling when slightly overweight people are getting all hostile when seeing a MO person dropping weight.

Edited by summerset

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve been fortunate that all my friends & family have been very supportive of my weight loss. And not everyone knows I’ve had surgery! Most do but a few that I felt might be initially negative I just told them working on getting healthy @ 66! And man I see off & on who I did NOT tell even sent card how happy I’m concentrating on my health! I think one reason many are so supportive besides being good friends & family is I’m very upbeat about getting healthy. And those that know I’m very open with about changes in my lifestyle. I’ve been part of dining out group. I did not stop going just because of surgery. I don’t want to end that part of my social life. Dining out is not just about the food. It’s about the fun of socializing, ambiance of restaurant & yes I can still enjoy food but in moderation.
Are there any of your friends that you feel close enough to & worth salvaging friendship to address these issues? If not then it’s time to do some self discovery & eventually surround you with more positive people. Otherwise it will only sabotage you. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, summerset said:

his "keeping it a secret" is usually explained with wanting to keep medical privacy. While I completely understand that medical history is private I still would like people to ask themselves the question if they would be as private about going to the dentist because of wisdom teeth surgery or having taken their gall bladder out. In fact "gall bladder surgery" is a popular camouflage for WLS as it seems, so "medical privacy" doesn't really seem to be the issue in the end.

For me, I kept it private because I did not want to be that guy everyone pointed to and said, look he had WLS and he gained all that weight back. ( Been there done that) From my posts you can see that I still feel that way. I am much more comfortable telling people that me and five others put $1,000 in a pot to see who could lose the most weight and in the end I didn't win the pool but I lost weight. That's my story, I'm comfortable with it and I'm sticking to it. A family member told people she had her Gall Bladder removed and after the surgery had a difficult time holding down food. That accounted for her weight loss. I don't feel that I have to advertise the virtues of WLS to help others who are comfortable in making the decision to tell others about it. I'm very comfortable with my decision and I'm sorry that the OP has a difficult time when she should be basking in the glory of her weight loss and new found health. In the end people like me who don't advertise our WLS have nothing to do with the negativity people have towards those who do. Those people are usually jealous, low self esteemed petty individuals to begin with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't had surgery yet, but have already encountered people like this. Whenever someone tells me it's the easy way out, I have to remind them and myself it's only a tool, not a magic pill. If I could have lost the weight on my own, I would have by now. I also have to remind myself why I'm doing it, for my health and to be able to enjoy my family more. I do hope things get better for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

There is still a difference between "hiding" and "advertising". Nobody wants patients to wear an "I had WLS. Kiss me!" shirt. But losing weight and giving people the "just diet and exercise, man" schlock is something that feeds into the lack of acceptance of WLS. There is always the middle ground.

---

However, there will always be discussion about this issue and I think I have made my opinion on this clear more than one time in the past. In the end I won't change anyone's mind on this anyway. If people want to hide their surgery, they will hide it as best as they can. Some will be able to hide it, some will be outed and some will be talked about behind their back because people are not as naive as some seem to think they are.

Edited by summerset

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 10/5/2020 at 1:38 PM, kc892020 said:

So, I feel funny writing about this, but...has anyone else ever experienced a negative change in their social life post-op?

I had my surgery back in January. Although my physical health has made drastic improvements, I'm afraid my mental health has taken a toll.

I noticed people have been treating me very differently since having the surgery. I've been getting so many rude comments, I can't keep up. They think I "took the easy way out (not realizing it was actually quite the opposite: the last resort)," and/or are freaked out by all my new eating habits and restrictions or are saying cruel things like "oh, you'll just gain it back like so-and-so did anyway, you watch." A lot of them have also proceeded to claim my changed appearance "weirds them out." Some of my now ex-friends have even gone so far to complain that I "betrayed the body positivity movement by giving into society's expectations of what women should look like." What the actual heck? Even dating, something I thought would get better as I lost weight, is just as bad as it was before. Since I can't drink alcohol anymore or eat a lot of foods, guys have been pretty hostile. Although I've been private about my surgery while dating (simply stating I have a strict diet I need to follow), that hasn't stopped guys from being mean or rude.

Bottom line here is I've lost a lot of friends this past year and my love life is no better than it was. I'm extremely lonely and depressed.

Has anyone else ever encountered this? What can I do to change it? Why is there so much social stigma towards this surgery?

Hey i think youre brave for sharing your story with most people. Thisll help other obese people To have hope that perhaps bariatric surgery will help them as well. People downplay that obesity kills. Better alive with unnatural anatomy then dead with no potential for improvement. As for dating i agree to find other activities but most people do like to eat. I once read Soup is a good thing to order as a bariatric patient When out with others and most places seem to have it. Keep up the good fight!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may not be a popular line of thinking but here goes:

<!-- Deep Thoughts, BEGIN -->

I think that alot of WLS folks believe that those around them would naturally share the same opinions and thoughts they themselves have about it, because, I mean, its a good thing, right? Why wouldn't anyone and everyone with a heart and a brain support and cheer someone on who wants to better themselves (for whatever reason)? The reality is that not everyone will think the same way as you.

Yes, one may get disappointed and hurt when those who we care about aren't on the same page, or react/behave in a way that we don't like/want/expect. Whatever their motivations are, in the end the only thing you can control is YOU. You have 3 choices (in terms of relationships, or anything else for that matter): work to change it, accept it, or leave it (and know when to do which). Anything else is doing a disservice to yourself.

I know, easier said. But I think the sooner one can recognize what things help and what things don't help (and act accordingly) for any situation, the sooner one can exist in peace and contentment, no matter what situations or people cross their paths.

<!-- Deep Thoughts, END...lol -->

Good Luck!

P.S. Re: Dating...take it easy and try not to put too much pressure on yourself...like attracts like. Again, I know, easier said. Good Luck! ❤️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 10/6/2020 at 8:51 AM, Danny Paul said:

For me, I kept it private because I did not want to be that guy everyone pointed to and said, look he had WLS and he gained all that weight back. ( Been there done that) From my posts you can see that I still feel that way. I am much more comfortable telling people that me and five others put $1,000 in a pot to see who could lose the most weight and in the end I didn't win the pool but I lost weight. That's my story, I'm comfortable with it and I'm sticking to it. A family member told people she had her Gall Bladder removed and after the surgery had a difficult time holding down food. That accounted for her weight loss. I don't feel that I have to advertise the virtues of WLS to help others who are comfortable in making the decision to tell others about it. I'm very comfortable with my decision and I'm sorry that the OP has a difficult time when she should be basking in the glory of her weight loss and new found health. In the end people like me who don't advertise our WLS have nothing to do with the negativity people have towards those who do. Those people are usually jealous, low self esteemed petty individuals to begin with.

I think it also boils down to the fact that some of us are more private by nature. Period. Realizing the spectrum of some let it all hang out, like it or not, here’s my reality, to the other end of utmost secrecy surrounding their personal journey. Most of us likely fall somewhere in the middle of this continuum and it’s all okay!😃 The important point is to know and understand ourselves well enough to consciously choose how we design our lives for greatest peace and quality regardless of what another thinks we should do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Lily66 said:

I think it also boils down to the fact that some of us are more private by nature. Period. Realizing the spectrum of some let it all hang out, like it or not, here’s my reality, to the other end of utmost secrecy surrounding their personal journey. Most of us likely fall somewhere in the middle of this continuum and it’s all okay!😃 The important point is to know and understand ourselves well enough to consciously choose how we design our lives for greatest peace and quality regardless of what another thinks we should do.

Say it, sister.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to post a little food for thought (lol). This has little to do with most of the posts on this thread, but I cringe when I hear people talk about others as “toxic”. People are not toxic. Nobody is toxic. It is a label assigned to someone that redistributes the power balance. These days instead of saying “this person does not respect my boundaries” “this person’s comments are constantly hurtful to me” “I don’t know how to assert myself when this person triggers my self-consciousness/self-hatred” “I am too sensitive to handle this person’s honesty” “It feels awful when I freeze instead of telling that person their actions were not ok with me” etc, etc, etc, people just say “that person is toxic”. Saying someone is toxic makes assigns the work to that person and then dismisses the issue (which is usually one of boundaries). We are not constantly fending off toxicity. We have all probably been called a toxic person by someone. In parenting right now (I have a 5 yr old) it is very popular to take on the idea that “my child is not responsible for my anger/anxiety/reaction when they __________”. If my daughter has to try on 6,000 pairs of shoes while telling me “duh” and having a meltdown, making me late to work, and I yell at her and am crabby at my meeting - that’s not her fault. I can work on this reaction, I can work on this routine, and I can find out why 6000 shoes were (duh) not enough and was so important to her. My kid is not toxic because I am crabby in the morning and late to work almost every day. I think this is true in any relationship - the other person is not you, not in your head, they have other priorities, and most of the time we don’t tell people how we need them to react to feel supported. The OP could have talked to her friends before surgery and told them what she needed from them - it might have changed how they supported her. Or she can set boundaries now (e.g. If we are going to go out, we are not talking about x,y,z, because __________”). Call someone rude, mean, dishonest, unfaithful, blunt, jealous - something specific that helps you and them learn from the relationship. If the person means something to you, give them something meaningful back. Calling them toxic will only lead you to more toxic people, because you will have the same reaction. My advice to the OP would be to be honest with the friends you still want to have. You won’t always react perfectly (or even well) to all of your loved ones’ life-changes either, so give them the chance to not handle it perfectly either. If they still suck after you are honest and set boundaries, then good riddance. Sorry - had to preach! Not meaning to offend! Somebody totally blew my mind about “toxic people” not existing a year ago and my relationships have been so much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recent Topics

  • Most popular:

  • Together, we have lost...
      lbs
    ×