Who to Tell When

Making the decision and going through the process of having gastric bypass surgery was filled with highs and lows. One thing that comes up again and again in surgery groups I’m in is the question of whether or not to tell anyone. There is still a big stigma in society generally in regards to having surgery to fix your weight so the thought of telling people can be really scary.

For me the first hurdle was bringing it up with my husband and seeing if he was okay with the idea of me having surgery. I was worried he would be too scared of the complications and me needing to go under anaesthetic to be happy about the idea of it. He was really supportive and that was my first hurdle in terms of telling someone and I cleared it easily.

Because I had my surgery publicly there were lots of hoops I had to jump through and the process took a long time. From the time my GP referred me to getting my date for surgery it was about 10 months. I realised early on it was going to take a while and there were no guarantees that I would get through and be approved so I didn’t tell anyone about it while all of that was happening. I didn’t want the pressure of people asking what was happening every time I spoke to them when I had months between appointments and really no idea myself how the process was going or how much longer it was going to take.

Once I had met my weight loss goal of 8 kilos and had satisfied all of the other requirements and was told I was put on the list, even though I was still waiting for my date, I decided to tell close family. My parents took it well but were understandably a bit worried about the risks and just wanted me to be happy and healthy. My parents-in-law were a bit too excited about it (do you get what I mean?) but it was great to have their support.

The rest of my family were all really great about it but there was one not so nice reaction where someone asked if I had ever thought of exercising and watching what I ate. I mean really? Before surgery and once I had my date I also told my closest friends but that was about it.

After surgery I didn’t really do much or see many people for a few months and would generally tell people I knew as I came across them and the topic of my very noticeable weight loss was bought up. I didn’t mention it at all on Facebook and posted minimal photos of myself until six months after my surgery where I finally bit the bullet and posted a progress comparison revealing all to all of my Facebook friends.

In terms of other social media for example my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts I did talk/post about my bypass as they didn’t have very many people I know in real life (although I hate that term social media is my real life!) on them and it was a great outlet for me to share what was going on with a wider audience. I also connected with other people in various stages of the process and it was great to have people to talk about it with.

The only other negative (well actually downright rude) reaction I have got to telling someone that I have had bypass surgery is a colleague of mine who has no filter and really just said about every wrong thing she possibly could have. I started a new job three months after my surgery and was fairly open about it from the beginning. Things like that though have turned out to be a huge part in my inspiration and motivation to create my blog and share my thoughts and experience with the world. I not only hope to help and inspire people who are considering or going through the process but to hopefully help to educate the wider public whats involved and to help reduce some of the stigma that’s associated with bariatric surgery.

I think you need to tell people as and when you feel comfortable with doing so. I will tell literally anyone now and I am proud of my decision and what I’ve achieved but it took me a while to get to that point emotionally. I think for me taking a stepwise approach and telling selected groups of people as I felt okay with doing so was the best approach for me. I don’t think bariatric surgery is a secret you can keep forever (or to be honest very long since you lose weight so fast) but I can assure you the more you talk about it to people you trust the more confidence you will build in talking about it in a general sense and it will get easier, I promise you!

I’d love to know how and when you did or planned on telling people if you are anywhere in the process of having bariatric surgery. If you are still in the not telling camp but still want to comment below and let me know what you think you can still comment below. Your email address won’t be published and just make up a fake name and comment (This goes for all of my posts!) I’d love to hear from you!

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There are 10 comments for this article
  1. Michelle at 5:41 am

    Great post as usual. An off topic question prompted by you mentioning hoops: have you ever discussed what those hoops are ?

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 1:38 pm

      Hey Michelle, I think I said what some of them are in my Beauty Review article which I have posted here. I’ll tell you what was involved when we catch up next. It’s really dependant on the DHB and private/public. As well as that I know the DHB I went through change the process all the time so it not the most recent process what I went through.

      • Lou at 3:25 pm

        Thank you so much for sharing your journey, I’m at the investigative stage, I’m fall under the waitemata DHB could you please share with me the requirements you went through to get your surgery publically funded. You look awesome, well done and thanks again ?

  2. Jacqui Stokes at 9:13 am

    I have just found your blog. I had surgery on December 1 last year.
    I told all my friends prior to surgery especially as we we often get together for BBQ’s and drinks and I started making healthy changes from the day I decided to get surgery. They were all supportive.
    I tell anyone who asks about my weight loss and most people I have talked to have been interested in the process and my lifestyle changes. I would hate for people to get the idea that I was doing this through just sensible eating and exercise and that they could achieve the same results too.
    I personal messaged some of my extended family on Facebook the day before my surgery because I thought if something goes wrong with the surgery and I get sick it would probably be good for them to know why.

  3. Carolyn at 10:24 pm

    I am at investigation stage….. although maybe closer to process because I see specialist at diabetes clinic and he suggested that I would be a good candidate and for me to let him know my decision when I see him next…..which is next week!
    I have already discussed heaps with hubby, let my teens know, a few family members in person because they live elsewhere and were visiting, and I wanted to ‘see’ their reactions and a couple of close friends. My hubby questioned me about telling people and to be discerning which I completely agree.
    Because this is such a mental and emotional time…I need support and for them to be forewarned. ….heehee……
    A question. ….what did you do to lose the 8kgs

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:33 am

      To lose the 8kg I used the Weight Watchers app (I had to sign up and pay) and I started walking five times a week. I used the app to monitor my food intake and I stayed within the points and it helped me lose the 8kg I needed to.

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