To tell or not to tell about your Weight Loss Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  

Lonicera The Bandit (a patient from Bristol, United Kingdom)

You’ve taken what could be the best decision of your life – to have weight loss surgery. You’ve committed your own funds or persuaded your insurers to commit theirs after months of fighting for it. Perhaps your nearest and dearest don’t approve of what you’re doing, or they looked at you in awe when you told them you were going ahead with it.

You return from the hospital feeling a bit shaky, yet triumphant in a weak sort of way, and go into purdah for a while as you get used to the new regime, and get over the soreness.

Now you’re ready to face the world, but in a sense you feel out there on a limb, by yourself. You don’t know anyone who is experiencing what you are. You’re going to be seeing your neighbors, friends and colleagues at work, and you’re asking yourself…

“Should I tell them?”

Whatever your decision, it is very likely that the answer will be different two years on. My policy about everything has always been that honesty always works best, and that being truthful from the outset will mean you’re less likely to be tripped up later. “Why not?,” I thought. “I’ve nothing to hide. What does it matter if people know?” But now I don’t know if I was right.

When I had a gastric band fitted I felt I was on the threshold of a brave new world. I told people I knew, who congratulated me and were genuinely happy for me – it felt wonderful.

During the first year they would ask me how I was getting on and always remark, “Wow, you’ve lost weight!” Over the second year the weight continued to go down, but very slowly, and now in my third year it’s stopped and gone up a few kilos, despite reaching the sweet spot.

This is because although I’m grateful that the gastric band continues to work as it should, my bad habits came back. Biscuits and chocolate were pleasurable to eat, satisfying, AND didn’t make me sick. Eventually I’ll recover the will to stick to the rules because I know they work – I’m as much of an advocate of this method of losing weight as I ever was.

However, those friends and colleagues I referred to above continue to ask me how I’m getting on and expect me to talk about it, only they don’t mention any longer that I’ve lost anything, because of course I haven’t. I stick to being honest, but now it’s much harder, and I wish they would talk about something else. But that’s human nature.

If you see someone you haven’t seen in a while, you remember things about them that will prompt you to make conversation (how’s the budgie, is your leg any better, etc) – and when they see me, it’s the gastric band. I realize that if I had kept my mouth shut in the first place I wouldn’t be having to talk about it now. But it’s too late.

I’ve got my blog to keep me honest – when I write a post updating ‘how I’m getting on’, I give all the not-so-good news. I will keep the faith and I will not lie. The gastric band is an excellent tool and it’s keeping me safe from my past excesses.

I suppose the warning applies to every life-changing event, whether it’s a surgical intervention, a pregnancy or a new love. If you have good news, it’s natural to want to share it, but it’s also worth taking time to think it through and project your thoughts ahead to a time when things might be different or less positive. If you’ve told people, you’ll be forced to keep updating them. Telling them at the beginning is irresistible, but can you keep it up later?

Till next month…

Lonicera The Bandit

Related Pages:
Online Weight Loss Support & Blogging
Weight Loss Surgery Support


Patient Responses to the Question Above


by: Stephanie

I've told three people at work. For everyone else, I just say that I went vegetarian and lost the weight. I am now going from gastric sleeve to full gastric bypass. I initially lost 120 lbs but over the last 5 yrs I've gained back 40 lbs. Now I am determined to save myself. I have other health issues and the surgeon told me I may need to have this second step. So I am choosing to have the bypass and I am changing every aspect of my life.

I would have said tell but...

by: Mindy

I did tell nearly everyone at first about my band. But hindsight being 20/20. NOW I would have not said NO. For a few reasons.

1. When you tell people about the band EVERY TIME most of them see you, they say something about your weight loss. "Wow you look great', how much weight have you lost?" so you never really know if your showing the weight loss of if they feel obligated!

2. I had issues w/ my band which caused me to gain weight back . Then people who are not so supportive go back and say "see, told you it would not work," or you can feel like a failure .

SO I would say tell some supportive close family and friends but not A LOT of people at first.

When well-meaning people state the obvious ...

by: Lonicera The Bandit

I agree - they care about us, they're well meaning, but couldn't they just credit us with the intelligence to know that they're telling us what we know already? Lonicera The Bandit

This conversation has come up before

by: Beth

I met many people who felt they wanted to scream it from the rooftops that they had been banded.

I'm usually a big ol' blabbermouth, but in this case, I have only told a very few people.

My parents and sister know, but I never told my brother; and I told my best friend, a co-worker, and a couple we hang with a lot and who I dub our "foodie friends." The only reason I told those two was simply because, after dodging them for a number of months and them not understanding what was happening, I felt they needed to know so maybe they would understand and quit trying to get us to go out all the time.I guess I worried about being judged, especially if I stalled or gained, which I have done.

I originally lost 75 pounds and then gained back 30 of those pounds.

I am now within one pound of my lowest banded weight, but during my gain, I had criticism from my mother and sister.

They weren't ugly about it, but I don't need people telling me that I have a band and shouldn't be gaining when I know that.As it is, I'm literally dieting and exercising a lot now, so I'm not giving my band 100 percent of the credit for my weight loss.

It is one of many tools I use, and dieting properly (lifestyle change dieting, not crazy stuff) and exercising (when I'm a good girl) five to six days a week is key.All this is to say is that for me personally, I just didn't need all those eyes on me, or critique when I wasn't doing well, or scrutiny over every bite I put in my mouth.

I have already beaten myself up enough over the years -- I certainly didn't need help.

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