HalvingEmma

Talking to negative Family/Friends

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Hello everyone, I’m new here and to be honest, I find this forum really refreshing and comforting. I’m so thankful to have stumbled across this. 

I am 23, and 5’3”.  My highest weight is 280. I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow to discuss options for WLS. I’m leaning toward VSG. I’ve dieted since I was 12, and I’m just struggling to keep it off long term. I also have an appointment with a counselor to start getting a grip on my relationship with food. I’m so excited but so scared to start this journey. 

My biggest fear though is talking to my family and friends about what I want to do. One of my aunts found out before I am ready to really talk about it, and she has already expressed her unapproval. Two of my other aunts and my mom have all had WLS (2 had bypass and my mom had the Lap Band) and the aunt who has been disapproving is mostly worried about the complications her sisters have all had. 

My grandma has expressed that she has a lot of questions (as all of us should in the beginning!) but has expressed she is supportive of that option.

I was just wondering what advice some of you may have for unsupportive family members and how to navigate that world. 

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I didn't tell many family members at first.  In fact, I didn't tell anyone until I explored the option, saw the dr and decided how I felt about it. Then I told my husband about it and he was, as always, supportive.  I told my kids shortly before surgery and our parents and my sister, and my BFF and two cousins that had had the surgery.  Other than that (and to this day) I still didn't tell many people.  I didn't want their negativity influence me.  So, feel free to be as discreet as you need to be and listen to your dr and decide before sharing.  Then share w/ those who you think will support you.  That being said HERE is where you can get lots of support and questions answered. We GET it, we've been there and done that, dieted forever and this is the one thing working for us and the only thing that works long term, if you follow the rules.  So arm yourself with facts and answers and know what you feel/believe before sharing it w/ the disapprovers!

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Yep. I totally echo @CheeringCJ. I say, don’t tell anyone who you have the slightest suspicion will be negative. It’s no one’s business but yours. For those who already know, I just wouldn’t discuss it with them. If they bring it up, I’d just say something like, “Thanks for your concern, but I don’t want to discuss this further. You’ve made your opinion clear and I’ll take it into consideration.” And I’d change the subject. If you’ve done your research and are comfortable with your decision, that’s what matters. If you do want to refute some of their concerns, do your research and come into the conversation prepared, but remember that, most of the time, you’re not going to change the opinion of anyone who has already made up their mind. This is GREAT practice, by the way for when you have kids (if you plan/hope to in the future). You’ll run into lots of opinions then too. Think of this as a chance to practice setting your boundaries in a respectful but firm way. And we’re totally here to support you. 

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@HalvingEmma

My wife was initially against my having the surgery, as she thought the risk of complications (e.g. I would die) was high. She ended up talking to a bariatric surgeon and changed her mind, and has been very supportive.  Is it possible your aunt who is "unapproving" is just worried about your well being? She may not be fully aware of the improvements in technique and reductions in risk that have occurred recently. 

The risk of death from having a VSG is quoted as < 1 in 1,000, e.g. lower than having your gall bladder removed electively. The risk for a bypass is higher, perhaps 1.5-2 in 1,000. So it is not to be undertaken lightly but the risk of surgery is usually lower than the risk of doing nothing and running the risks of diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, obesity-related cancers, etc. The risks are much smaller if a person does not already have these conditions when the surgery is done. 

Recently I was thinking about the trad-offs we often make, and found this website which listed lifetime risks for things like car accidents, gunshot wounds, poisonings, etc. ( https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-mortality-risk ). It lists the lifetime risk of death as a passenger in a car as 1 in 645, and risk of death by assault with a firearm (this is US data, gun death rates are much lower in many places) at 1 in 370. So if you are willing to ride in, or drive, a car, then you have implicitly accepted the risk of 1 in 645 as "reasonable."

Good luck with all of this!

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Disapproval from family is always the hardest to face, at least for me.  So, I just didn't tell anyone that I didn't have to or that I thought wouldn't be supportive or would worry excessively.  I told my mother just a few days before surgery as she tends to obsess about things and I just didn't want to put either of us through that.  To my surprise she was very supportive and it all worked out well.  I also gave her a "job" to do (run interference with the nosy family I didn't want to know) so she had something else to focus on lol.

Bottom line is this is your decision and only you can make it.  Arm yourself with facts and be comfortable with it.  Don't feel like you have to defend or justify your position but be willing to explain it calmly if need be. 

Best way to show people that you made the RIGHT decision is to ROCK that sleeve, baby!!

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@BurgundyBoy thank you so much for the statistics! That’s really interesting and definitely worth noting! I’ve had 2 aunts on just my moms side (worth noting, she is one of 8 kids) who have passed away from obesity related conditions and I’m glad to be able to arm myself with even more facts. 

@msmarymac thank you for that piece of advice! Giving people “jobs” may help them feel important. 

I know my aunt who isn’t very supportive at this time loves Instagram for whatever reason so I’m contemplating starting a weight loss Instagram and allowing her to see inside my world that way too. 

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5 minutes ago, HalvingEmma said:

@BurgundyBoy thank you so much for the statistics! That’s really interesting and definitely worth noting! I’ve had 2 aunts on just my moms side (worth noting, she is one of 8 kids) who have passed away from obesity related conditions and I’m glad to be able to arm myself with even more facts. 

@msmarymac thank you for that piece of advice! Giving people “jobs” may help them feel important. 

I know my aunt who isn’t very supportive at this time loves Instagram for whatever reason so I’m contemplating starting a weight loss Instagram and allowing her to see inside my world that way too. 

The evidence that WLS reduces your risk of death and disability is overwhelming. Using one of the on-line calculators which asked me things like age, weight, smoking history, alcohol intake, exercise, etc it predicted my lifespan at about 77 years of age before surgery, and 91 after surgery. I was almost 62 when I had the surgery, so it about doubled my anticipated remaining lifespan. You're younger so you could expect your joints not to wear out so early too!

If your family members can hear statistics - an Israeli study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this year which compared 8,000+ people who had WLS surgery to 25,000+ who did not. It tracked them over an average of 4 years. It adjusted for things like smoking, BMI, gender, hypertension and diabetes. The people with surgery had death rates that were half those of of their peers who did not have surgery. (I've posted the link to the PubMed abstract below).

In the same journal issue, other articles showed similar things: one from Norway showed that surgically treated persons had their hypertension and diabetes remit at rates 3 and 4 times higher than their non-surgically treated peers.

Another study (from Taiwan and the US) showed that persons with diabetes who had surgery were five times more likely to achieve the American Diabetes Association "triple end point" of (1) a normal hemoglobin A1c, (2) low density lipids < 100 mg/dL, and (3) a systolic blood pressure < 130 than people who had undergone 'intensive' medical management. High hemoglobin A1c is seen with diabetes; high lipids contribute to atherosclerosis; and high blood pressure leads to heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, and similar things. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29340677

You might think a person under 30 years of age will not die from diabetes or hypertension, but that is not true. It is less common than for older people but it still happens. 

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@BurgundyBoy wow! Thank you so much for that! I’m definitely going to look into those studies! I really appreciate your wisdom on the subject! 

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41 minutes ago, HalvingEmma said:

@BurgundyBoy wow! Thank you so much for that! I’m definitely going to look into those studies! I really appreciate your wisdom on the subject! 

Emma, the other piece to this is that diets don't work (your aunts and family probably know this all too well). The likelihood that someone can lose 100 lbs and keep it off for 2 or more years is very low - something like 1 person in 1500 or 2000 accomplishes this. (We are not talking about the person who needs to lose 5 lbs here). There was a recent study published sometime in the past 6 months that quantified this, but I am quoting this number from memory. 

So the traditional route of diet, exercise, etc -> > 99% failure rate. If you had a medical illness, and chose a route that was > 99% likely to fail, people would say you were crazy.

In contrast, WLS has a high success rate, reduces mortality and illness rates :D ... and some people castigate you for being weak and unable to achieve weight loss though dieting (which has a >99% failure rate). :wacko:

 

 

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2 hours ago, BurgundyBoy said:

Emma, the other piece to this is that diets don't work (your aunts and family probably know this all too well). The likelihood that someone can lose 100 lbs and keep it off for 2 or more years is very low - something like 1 person in 1500 or 2000 accomplishes this. (We are not talking about the person who needs to lose 5 lbs here). There was a recent study published sometime in the past 6 months that quantified this, but I am quoting this number from memory. 

So the traditional route of diet, exercise, etc -> > 99% failure rate. If you had a medical illness, and chose a route that was > 99% likely to fail, people would say you were crazy.

In contrast, WLS has a high success rate, reduces mortality and illness rates :D ... and some people castigate you for being weak and unable to achieve weight loss though dieting (which has a >99% failure rate). :wacko:

 

 

This is what I told people. This and that I had done my research and was comfortable with my decision. I'm a very assertive person, though, so I didn't catch a lot of flack. But EVERYONE has a horror story, it seems like. It seems like everyone has a cousin's friend's sister-in-law who died to death from surgery complications. The thing about that, though, is that the stories we tend to hear are the ones that pique our interest. We hear the major success stories and the major failure stories and we have to seek out the ones in between. I think most of us are in between. Most of us are doing really well and have a few minor setbacks from time to time. 

 

22 hours ago, HalvingEmma said:

I am 23, and 5’3”.  My highest weight is 280. I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow to discuss options for WLS. I’m leaning toward VSG. I’ve dieted since I was 12, and I’m just struggling to keep it off long term. I also have an appointment with a counselor to start getting a grip on my relationship with food. I’m so excited but so scared to start this journey. 



I am 5'4" and my highest weight was 279, so you and I are very similar in height/weight/BMI. My surgeon recommended the gastric bypass and that's the surgery I had. I'm very pleased with it! I have a friend who had the sleeve and has not had the weight loss she expected. But that right there is an example of how we hear a lot of horror stories/exceptions. There are plenty of people on here who would tell you that they have been very successful with the sleeve. :) Do your research, talk to your surgeon, and you'll have the surgery that's right for you. 

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On 7/10/2018 at 8:17 AM, BurgundyBoy said:

Recently I was thinking about the trad-offs we often make, and found this website which listed lifetime risks for things like car accidents, gunshot wounds, poisonings, etc. ( https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-mortality-risk ). It lists the lifetime risk of death as a passenger in a car as 1 in 645, and risk of death by assault with a firearm (this is US data, gun death rates are much lower in many places) at 1 in 370. So if you are willing to ride in, or drive, a car, then you have implicitly accepted the risk of 1 in 645 as "reasonable."

 

Thanks for posting this link. I love statistics. Very interesting how some of the more common fears - like dying in a plane crash - are far less likely than falling off stairs. 

 

 

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I was scared to even tell my hubby.  I’d failed so many diets.. a couple of our kids found out before but I didn’t tell the other 3 until after thefact.  I was a couple months into it before I told hubby and he’s been nothing but supportive as have my adult kids.  

Be careful who you tell as you can’t untell them or control who they tell.  You can take a family member with you to your appointments so they can ask questions..

I'm 5 1/2 Years out and have had zero complications.  Surgical techniques improve every day.  

Good luck!

 

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