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How to Handle Questions about Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery

By Karen Kelly, R.D. | August 18, 2021

When you first start seeing family and friends after weight loss surgery, they may be surprised by the new you. If you’re comfortable talking about your weight loss, a surprised reaction may be welcomed and sharing your experience with bariatric surgery comes with ease. If you’re not comfortable, the questions and attention may put you in an unwanted spotlight. 

It’s important to remember that your weight loss journey is your journey, and your journey only. You made this decision for you.  If you want to share your decision with those around you, that’s great; but if you don’t want to share, that’s okay too.  Each journey is personal.

The reality is that once you start losing a significant amount of weight, people will notice and some will comment. In our experience, the best way to handle questions and comments is to decide ahead of time how much, if any, you are comfortable sharing and prepare your responses.

Here are some ways to respond to the typical questions and comments you may get.

The ‘How did you lose so much weight?!’ questions

When you don’t want to go into details, a simple response of “I have been working hard and I appreciate you noticing” often works best. You can even share that you are on a healthy path, you have increased your lean proteins and vegetable intake and you are feeling great. Quickly changing the subject to a new topic may prevent further questioning. 

The ‘I can’t believe new eating habits made you lose so much weight!’ comments

Everyone has an extra curious aunt or a friend who just won’t let it go. They may continue to comment on and question your weight loss and what you have done to get the results. If you do not want to share your weight loss journey, a firm line in the sand needs to be drawn.  Once you've shared what you feel comfortable with, a “ thanks for your support, but I am done speaking about my weight right now” can work. For those who don’t take the hint, politely excuse yourself to escape more questioning.

The ‘You had weight loss surgery, isn’t that the easy way out?’ questions

Not everyone understands that obesity is a disease and the hard work it takes to achieve sustainable results after weight loss surgery, so insensitive comments are inevitable. First, decide if the comments are coming from a place of concern or meant to be intentionally hurtful. If the comments are about concern you can simply say, “thanks for your concern, I did my research and I’m comfortable and happy with my decision. I'm healthier now than I was before.” On the other hand if you feel that the comments were meant to be hurtful, you can choose to be vocal about how the comments made you feel; change the subject or remove yourself from the situation. 

RELATED: How to Maintain Weight Loss

Remember that being prepared with what you are willing to share is going to help you feel more comfortable and in control to handle social and everyday encounters. We offer support to help guide you through these sticky situations. Our Tuesday Talks Support group is a great way to share your stories and hear what other postoperative patients have done in similar situations. For more information about support group, email info@njbcenter.com

 

Karen Kelly, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Hackettstown and Sparta, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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