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Angela's Tips: Explaining Your Weight-Loss Surgery Decision to Loved Ones

Angela Banks-Konate poses of a photo after bariatric surgery

Angela Banks-Konate had roux-en-y gastric bypass at Penn Medicine with weight-loss surgeon Gary Korus, MD, in 2015. Since then, she’s lost more than 160 pounds, and has gone from dreading running even short distances to pounding the pavement many miles at a time. In the blog, Angela discusses how you can explain your decision to have weight-loss surgery to your friends and family.

If you’re like me, you decided to have weight-loss surgery and wanted love, support and understanding about your decision from your family and friends. 

You not only wanted your family and friends to know the facts about weight-loss surgery, but also wanted them to know what motivated your decision in the first place. 

Some may have looked at you in complete shock, and may have even said a few of my favorites:

“You can lose the weight on your own.” 

“You’re not even that big!” 

Or even “That’s the easy way out, you just have to eat right and exercise.”

Empower Yourself

Explaining your decision to start the weight-loss surgery journey can be frustrating, but it can also be empowering!

I started my journey by informing myself of what weight-loss surgery entailed. 

I searched the web for information and shared-experiences of people who opted to have weight-loss surgery. I discussed the option with my husband first, who had seen me lose weight and gain even more. We discussed the pros and cons and both agreed that the pros far outweighed the cons. 

I thought to myself, “That was easy!”

From there was possibly one of the toughest people for me to inform of my decision: my godmother. She was really critical of the option, which frustrated me, but also allowed me to further evaluate and confirm that this was something that I actually wanted to do. 

Include Others on Your Journey

With that, I invited these two very important people to my first step: the information session.

The information session provided additional insight about the overall process and options included in Penn Bariatric Surgery program. I decided in that moment that I wanted to go in the direction of the roux-en-y gastric bypass.

While my husband was on board completely, my godmother still had her reservations about the process but agreed to offer me her support along the journey. Given these were the two most important people I shared my decision with, I made the choice to share with other people who were close to me.

Set Up for Success

Here are a few tips I’ve found to be super helpful in explaining the decision to begin your weight-loss surgery journey to those you love and care about:

  • Inform yourself first of what weight-loss surgery is. Search the web, read those experiences of those who have gone through it, and even ask questions to people you may know who have opted to have weight-loss surgery. The more you know, the better informed you are, and the easier it will be to explain your decision to your family and friends.
  • Be willing to listen to what your loved ones have to say about your decision. Many times when we feel we have to justify our decisions, we become defensive and emotional. This can either cause us to have feelings of doubt, or feelings of wanting to prove ourselves. Take a step back and understand that your loved one may feel that they have your best interest in mind. When you listen, you’re able to hear what they’re saying, and process it so that you are able to understand where they’re coming from.
  • Give your loved ones the benefit of the doubt. You may be surprised with how supportive your family and friends may be! When you’re able and willing to share such an important decision, your loved ones may show they are understanding and have a willingness to learn more. You may have experiences like myself, and they may even tell you that they’re considering weight-loss surgery for themselves.
  • Include your close friends and family in the various steps of the weight-loss surgery process. Take them with you to the information session, support group meetings and appointments. By including them, it not only informs them of the facts and various steps, but it also gives them a better understanding of what to expect and puts them in the position to better support you throughout your journey.
  • Try not to take negative reactions personally. Some people you share your decision with may not support or understand you, and possibly don’t want to. The decision for you to start your weight-loss surgery is your own.

Your decision to have weight-loss surgery might not only impact you, but also those you love.

Whether it will allow you to be more active, happier or motivated, often the hope is that will also positively impact your relationships with close family and friends.

Sharing this with them may be scary, but that’s fine, because once you’ve conquered that fear and you’ve shared your decision with them, the sense of empowerment can be great!

Maybe you’re not concerned with the possible reactions associated with sharing your decision, and that’s great, too! There’s still a sense of empowerment and the potential to gain the support you never knew you needed.

 

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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