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Something is going on in my head that concerns me and I feel like writing about it. I think some of you will relate to my thoughts and others may think I am overly cautious.  From the very beginning I have been secretive with my interest and later decision to have WLS. I spoke first to my husband who was very understanding and supportive. He agreed not to mention this to any of his family or friends. My two daughters agreed also but one of them said people were going to ask me how I did it. What would I say?  The reason for my uneasiness is that I feel certain many people will give their negative opinions and their own success stories of losing weight and keeping it off.I don't feel like I have to defend my decisions and therefore I want to avoid the topic of surgery altogether. Everyone I know has seen me lose up to 60 pounds in the past (three different times) only to gain again. I have decided to reply to any questions with something like "I have been able to lose weight in the past, but this time around I am learning the importance of moving around more and being active." I know I may be overly sensitive about this and one reason is my pride has suffered with my failures. I also know this new "tool" is exactly that and not the cure all to my food issues. Worrying about what other people think is one issue I have that I want to stop. This all seems so silly to be thinking about, but I can't seem to relax. I don't know WHY I feel like I should be like an open book and speak freely about most anything.  If I could overcome this crazy reaction I would probably consider myself more "normal" and I would not feel like I had to explain myself to other people. While putting this all into words I have realized the ones I fear the most are my sisters and their families. I just do not want to build up anger in my heart and mind with them. I visualize having 'fantasy fights' with them when I am confronted. Being the youngest girl in the family I should be used to this but I fold too easy. 

This is a long winded post, so I better hit send before I delete it all!   

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Wls for a while had a negative Connotation for "being the easy way out".  I have kept it quiet too.  My immediate family (heck 3 of our adult children didn't know until after the fact; and my mother in law will never know!). knows and a couple of friends.  I have failed so many diets.  I didn't want this to be another failure..  And when I was looking into surgery I was nervous enough I didn't need to hear horror stories or about your cousins wife who had surgery and gained it all back.  I consider myself "normal" (well, as can be be for my level of craziness) now.  People I work with (switched jobs after I lost weight) have never known me heavy and just know I eat healthy.  I'm normal for the first time in my life!  I'm no longer the heaviest person in the room, I blend in..

When asked I'd say I was on a doctor supervised high protein low carb diet and moving more.  Our neighbor actually asked if I felt ok..I asked her, "why, do I look sick?"  You just need to be prepared for comebacks...

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My two cents is that what you've identified - some new tactic to explain your success - should be enough. Thank your daughter for helping you to foresee the questions you might be asked.

If your older sisters ask very close questions you don't like, or that make you angry, consider doing some role-playing with your daughters or your husband. Have them ask you the questions you don't like very much. (It's probably safer for your husband if you do this with your daughters). You'll figure out with them what feels best and it will give you some confidence. This is safe and there is no down side in terms of anyone else knowing. Plus, you'll have some allies (your daughters and your husband) in a social situation where they will help support your explanation.

Your reaction isn't crazy! It's just the way you are. 

And an edit after @Cheeseheadso rightly posted: Just need to be prepared with those comebacks to the questions. The role playing may help you both with the explanations and with the comebacks to the second question. You'll be fine and confident!

 

Edited by BurgundyBoy
add reference to Cheesehead comment that was great

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Lots of wisdom here already from @Cheesehead and @BurgundyBoy, so I'll just chime in and say "me too." I have told 5 people. I don't plan to tell more (at the moment). My weight is something that I've always been so embarrassed and sensitive about. I know that I made the right choice, but I just do not want to hear anyone's ignorant spouting off about it. My very obvious fluctuations over the years have led even more sensitivity, and my reaction to harsh words would be either a really cruel dig back or a crying jag, I think. Neither one would be good.

I have the "low carb high protein diet plus exercise" answer ready to go. People have responded well to it. I might consider giving the truth to someone who was overweight and desperate to figure out how I have done it, but maybe only to someone I knew, like a PSA :) For now it's a secret. I'd love to be open about it and help take some of the stigma away, but I'm not there yet. 

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For the first year or so, I would give a version of the "low carb, high protein diet" answer. I never lied, I just didn't tell the whole truth. Now, I usually tell people about having bypass BUT that's because, at this point, the people who are commenting on my weight didn't know me before and my response is typically in response to a comment like, "oh my gosh! You have four kids?! But you're so tiny. You must have great genes, you're so lucky!" At which point I start laughing hysterically and tell them that I used to be 135 pounds heavier. And that leads into the conversation of how, etc. And, honestly, I've yet to get a negative response.

Now, that all said, you know your family. You know your relationship with your family. If you have reason to think that they'll be anything other than totally supportive, keep your mouth shut. The post-op period is hard enough with the internal battles (both emotional and mental) and the adjustments you'll be dealing with. Do not add the stress of feeling like you have to justify your decision to anyone to that. Maybe saying something like what I used to say would help. I would say, "I cut out basically all carbs, all sweets, and I don't drink anything but water. And I watch my food intake like a hawk. Basically, if it's fun or a treat, I don't eat it." I would make my diet sound like the most boring, limiting thing possible. And people would lose interest quick. They generally want to hear some great trick or easy diet, not that you actually had to drastically change your eating habits and lifestyle. 

But basically, you don't owe anyone an explanation. You don't need to be an open book or even let them read the dust jacket if you think they won't have your back 110%. Keep your surgery as private as you need to without any guilt.

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11 hours ago, athenarose said:

 

But basically, you don't owe anyone an explanation. You don't need to be an open book or even let them read the dust jacket if you think they won't have your back 110%. Keep your surgery as private as you need to without any guilt.

Yes. This! Your body, health, eating and exercise habits aren't anyone's business. I told very few people. I know lots of people suspected I had WLS. I had one come right out and ask if I got 'the band'. I just laughed and said, GOD NO! When people asked how I was losing so much so fast I said: High protein, low carb diet and tons of exercise. That was all true. 

 

Once you get the weight off, it won't be too long, maybe a year or so until people will forget that you used to be fat. People tell me, "I was going through old pictures and saw one from (fill in the blank), I forgot you used to be big!"

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3 hours ago, Stephtay said:

 

 

Once you get the weight off, it won't be too long, maybe a year or so until people will forget that you used to be fat. People tell me, "I was going through old pictures and saw one from (fill in the blank), I forgot you used to be big!"

And remember, once you tell someone, you can't untell them or control who they tell?  

My kids had a discussion recently that couldn't remember me being heavy and I was heavy their entire lives..

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@Cheesehead this is a great argument for only having short-term memory. :P  When your kids are older and so are you and they give you a hard time about forgetting something just remember this to them. 

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You guys are great!!! Thank you for your words.

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So... I understand both sides of this and that being said, I have found it is easier to tell people who ask than to lie. It is easier for me to keep it straight and to be perfectly frank, who gives a #@$% what other people think? Even my family.

It has taken me since way before my surgery date to get to this place. Today, I know that this is not a quick fix, that my head will be my worst enemy, and that I am worth saving. I was a person who thought WLS was the easy way out until I did more research and watched a friend of mine go through it. I know that I have tried traditional methods of losing weight and have been somewhat successful, but I've never been able to keep it off. I am tired of putting a moral judgment on a physical and mental condition (obesity and food addiction ,in my opinion, have components of both) for myself and anyone else subjected to this battle. For me, AND I SPEAK ONLY FOR MYSELF HERE, feeling like I could not talk about my surgery to people who know me fairly well meant that I was ashamed of my decision.

After some "fudging of the truth" with people in my outer circle, it started to get too complicated and ultimately no one really cares other than they haven't seen me for a while and I'm no longer the Larson twins. It would be weird, actually, if no one noticed or said anything. I also realized that people ask if I'm ok out of concern because many people who have certain cancers lose a lot of weight quickly. People also notice because I'm not dressing like a Ninja all the time anymore.

Part of my awkwardness also centers around my sexuality and control issues. Most people are just going to be more attracted to me as a thinner person. They are not bad or evil, and not everyone is out to hurt me. I knew going in that I would be confronted with certain aspects of my past due to sexual attention and I would not have food as a buffer. Knowing it and actually walking through it are animals of a different stripe, but the people who find me attractive are not being creeps (for the most part). They are being human. I'm the one who needs to figure out my own boundaries, not them. I'm the one who has to find my limits and speak up, or easier yet, walk away. People are allowed to be who they are. I do not have to participate, but getting so over-the-top enraged about some sexual attention / flirting says way more about my maturity level and coping skills than it does about the other person. Please understand here that I am not condoning any kind of forced sexual contact, or saying that I am responsible for making other people feel ok at any level; I'm just saying that healthy sexual interaction is something I am continuing to define as my weight drops.

I have had a few uncomfortable moments with several women in my recovery community who yelled across the room about it (How'd you lose all that weight? What are you doing? Did you have "the surgery"?) and/or would not let it go in a public atmosphere. After I dragged them to the side and got them to let go of the death grip on my leg, I discovered they had been considering surgical options themselves and really wanted more information. They just had a messed up way of going about it. Again, not about me. I do encounter some jealousy about my weight loss and people baiting me with food, particularly family, but they would do that whether they knew about my surgery or not. HAHA!

One thing I do with my family (read "Mother" and certain associates I must see fairly regularly) is say, "I don't want to talk about it." and walk away, hang up, or leave if they won't let it go. Works like a charm. They may never get it, but I am a grown-a$$ woman and I can decide what is discussable and what isn't. If their lives are so boring that they talk about me when I'm not there, all I can say is, "I'm here to help."

This is your decision about whether or not to talk about your health issues.  I support whatever you decide to do.

Edited by slars04

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