Hospital:

Overcoming Bariatric Challenges: Unwanted Attention

December 2, 2019

It is important to have a strong support system when having a major life-changing surgery like bariatric surgery. In most cases, patients are open to family and friends about having the procedure. There is no surprise when they see you losing weight rapidly. But in some cases, privacy is very important and patients only reveal their intentions to a select few who they know will support them along their journey. In this situation, the post-operative weight loss is impossible to hide, bringing unwanted attention. It is important to be ready for questions so you are not caught off guard or put on the spot. You may be asked, “You look great! How are you doing it?” or “What’s you secret?” or “How much have you lost?” Even if you make your intentions known to family and friends there could be some personal questions asked that you are not expecting. Humans are curious by nature and it helps to be prepared.

Something as simple as going out to eat could possibly seem uncomfortable. You order a wonderful steak with steamed vegetables. You eat your small portion and put the rest aside to take home and have tomorrow for lunch or dinner. The waiter comes up and asks you if there was something wrong with your meal, seeing how little you ate. While the question seems invasive to you, the waiter just wants to make sure there was nothing wrong with your meal. He is only doing his job, but it can feel uncomfortable thinking you have to come up with an explanation.

Some people hide in the background because they don’t like the way they look. With rapid weight loss comes unwanted attention that you may not be familiar with so you don’t know how to respond to it. Not everyone is used to being the center of attention. How do you handle this? These are all valid concerns that some patients have and want answers to. Because of this, it is important to follow up with your pre-op psychologist/therapist to discuss how this makes you feel and what would be the best way to handle it.

Mental health is often put on the “back burner” after bariatric surgery. Most people focus solely on weight loss and the number on the scale. However, mental health can affect your appetite and is extremely important to your overall health! You can only be healthy if you take care of yourself, both mind and body. If you need assistance with this, we are always here to help guide you in the right direction. You are never alone on this journey!

Submitted by Jacquelyn Bartie, Scheduling & Financial Clearance Coordinator for Jefferson Health General and Bariatric Surgery