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How to explain this to my kids??



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I'm pre-op. Scheduled for a sleeve on sept. 12th. I have 2 daughters (11 and 13) who saw me struggle with my weight and try diverse diets all their lifes. I have never openly complained about my weight in front of them, always talking about ""health"" instead, but they are not dumb..... They are both slim/ healthy weight, but one of them barely eats and tends to eat to much sugar..... I just dont know HOW to explain what I'm about to do to my body in order to lose weight. I don't want to screw them up (more?) about weight and dieting......... My dad died of a heart attack at 46 (I'm 42) so I'm thinking of, one again, leading the explanation with the health mindset. How did you do it?

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My kids are a bit younger (10 & 6), but I just came right out and said it. My son (the oldest) has seen me struggle a lot too. Fortunately, my sister had the procedure done before me and he’s come into the room when I’ve watched 600lb Life in the past and saw what those people went through. I explained it back then so bringing it up prior to surgery wasn’t too much of an issue. He understood that it was about health, but also me wanting to look better and feel better about myself. I tell him about how my life growing up as a chubby kid was difficult and I don’t ever want that for him or his sister. My daughter doesn’t really get it yet. She just knows that I had surgery and it’s helping me to ‘get smaller’.

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My kids are a bit younger (10 & 6), but I just came right out and said it. My son (the oldest) has seen me struggle a lot too. Fortunately, my sister had the procedure done before me and he’s come into the room when I’ve watched 600lb Life in the past and saw what those people went through. I explained it back then so bringing it up prior to surgery wasn’t too much of an issue. He understood that it was about health, but also me wanting to look better and feel better about myself. I tell him about how my life growing up as a chubby kid was difficult and I don’t ever want that for him or his sister. My daughter doesn’t really get it yet. She just knows that I had surgery and it’s helping me to ‘get smaller’.

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Most kids have seen chubby kids at school teased and bullied so I'm sure they get it. Explaining that some people's bodies are broken and need the surgery to fix it should suffice.

GL with your upcoming surgery!

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I didn’t have children to tell but I have several nieces & nephews aged 5-27 now. I never told them about the surgery though it’s likely the older ones knew. They all noticed my weight loss & changed eating habits of course but rarely made comments.

At 7, niece #5 asked why I was so skinny now & I told her it was so she could give me bigger hugs more easily. She looked at me a little quizzically then wrapped her arms around me, squeezing hard & ran off to play. (She often also used to curl up next to me & squeeze the loose skin on my upper arms - it’s so soft & squishy she’d say 😆.) Niece #3 was offering everyone cake at her 13th birthday but when she got to me she simply asked if I’d like some of the strawberries. My mum asked nephew #1 when he was 19, what he thought about my weight loss & if I was different to him now. He looked at me & said nope, she’ll will always just be Sissy to me. Nieces #1 & 2 (in their 20s) & I have have had a few general conversations about nutrition, recipes & lifestyle but nothing specifically about my weight loss. Both are dancers & one has studied nutrition.

These were very interesting, reassuring & also surprising conversations & comments. Their easy acceptance of how I looked, how I ate, etc. & also how to them I still was just me - their bestest aunt. I believe if they asked me more I probably would have focussed on the healthy eating aspect, making changes to be healthier & able to do more with them. Explaining I wasn’t making good choices in the past & have learnt a lot about what I need & what’s best for me. It’s what I tell people whether they know I had surgery or don’t. You may be surprised by your daughter’s reactions too & they may eventually adopt some better/different eating habits simply through the example of your new habits.

All the best.

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I think you should just sit them down and tell them you are going to get gastric sleeve and ask them if they have any questions or concerns, also leave the conversation open so they can come to you with questions or concerns as they might think of some later.

I think once you get your surgery it will become a lot easier to maintain the healthy balanced lifestyle you desire and your daughters will see your progress and cheer you on. I also think that your daughters may pick up some of your new healthy habits, for themselves and hopefully learn how to eat and maintain a healthy relationship with food. (something I wish I would have learned when I was a teen)

I do not know how active you are with your kids, or if you plan on taking up new activities, but this could be a great bonding experience for you and your daughters, maybe you all be become expert divers, or hike around the state or world together if you do not already do these things. I just mean you might find something fun that makes activity easy that you guys can do together as you get healthier and healthier.

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My children are adults. But, they've seen me struggle with my weight for all of their lives. They know that I had obesity-related health issues. Having the surgery was an attempt to reverse these health conditions and in my case, it worked. Thanks be to God! My children are happy that their mother will perhaps get a chance to bounce grandchildren on her knee, one day.

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thanks!

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this is very thought provoking for me!

you know, it never even occurred to me that getting wls would/could have re-inforced negative body issue ideas to my daughter at the time i had it.

like the other poster above, i just told her point blank (she was 12 or 13 at the time). i think it was along the lines of "i'm having surgery to reduce the size of my stomach to help me lose weight". and i remember her asking me why i wanted to lose weight and me saying that i am fat and i'm getting old and being fat and old will probably stop me from getting older....AND i just wanted to not be fat anymore and surgery will help me alot in achieving this. and that was that.

now, my daughter is familiar with the concept of surgeries so maybe that is why she presented as aloof when i told her. when she was 5 or 6 she asked about my breast reduction scar and i told her i had surgery to make my boobs smaller because they were too big before and hurting my back, and now my back doesn't hurt anymore. also when she was younger she asked why she doesn't have younger brothers or sisters and we explained Mr.'s vasectomy. she was 10 when my mom had double bypass surgery and she knew that the doctors took a vein from grandmas leg to put in her chest to help her heart work better.

she is also like her father, slim and naturally active and fit, so i dunno if me doing something to my body to "fix" weight would trigger her in any way...

BUT i totally see now how WLS in particular may touch on self-image issues and ideas that we may perpetuate or even create about our kids bodies. i'm gonna go ask her about her thoughts later.

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Posted (edited)

I have 3 kids 12, 6 and 2. I did not tell them. The day that I went my mom stayed over and hubs and I told the kids that I had to go to the doctors because my stomach needed to get checked and fixed. Now all they see is that my eating habits have changed, and I workout every day. So they just think that I made a lifestyle change and got thinner that way. My oldest is my step son and his mom is very very body conscious and body shames? She struggles with her weight and has made comments how my daughter has slimmed down, or how the 12 has finally lost his baby weight and will barely eat. I nip that in the butt quick! I have to tell her that we cannot speak negatively in front of our kids, its going to cause a complex like we have. I grew up with my mom always talking about weight and she still does. I try my best to not surround our conversations on negative body image. I do home work outs 2-3x a week and sometimes with my daughter who is 6 asks to work out with me to get skinny, I tell her its not to get skinny its to get strong and stay healthy. So I try to just surround our convos around that.

Its tough with kids!

Edited by AmberFL

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When I had my initial sleeve surgery, my kids were 24 and 15 and my granddaughter was 1. None of them had ever seen me thin. I was 240 pounds when I had my son and his first real memories are from when he was 2 and I weighed 270. When I had my daughter, I was 315 pounds and her memories are from around 3 years old and I weighed 340.

My highest weight, when I had my initial consultation, was 421 pounds. I lost 33 pounds pre-surgery and I was 388 on surgery day. I knew I had to be open with them, so I just came out and told them the truth. I went over my goals for health, getting off medications, increased mobility, weight loss, etc... They were both surprised but really happy for me and supportive.

Now my kids are just so proud and impressed with not only my weight loss, but the improvements I've made with my health, my overall fitness (one of my son's favorite things to do with me is go on hikes now). My granddaughter only knew me as 421 pounds. She's 3 now, so it's taken her a little bit to get use to me being thinner (she lives in Arizona and I'm in Colorado, so she doesn't se me a lot, so the changes are more dramatic for her).

I'm glad I was open with my kids, because it taught them about the real struggles with morbid obesity, the tools available, and they saw first hand the changes that have to be made, the relationship with food that has to improve, and the work that has to be put in. My son said he always looked at the surgery as a way for someone fat to be lazy and take the easy way out. Now that he's seen what it REALLY takes, his whole opinion changed.

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