8 Tips for My Family & Friends To Understand WLSMarch 20, 2017
Choosing to have WLS is not an easy decision. Usually, it is the last choice when nothing else has worked in the past to lose and maintain weight loss. Before making your lifetime change, you probably did much research, had appointments with surgeons and talked in-depth with family and loved ones. You have surgery, and as the weeks and months go by, you are surely losing weight and inches. You're shrinking fast!
More often than not, friends and family have lots of questions and concerns. You begin to hear, “You look too skinny!” or “Why don't you eat more?” What do you say, how can you respond? I'm sharing the letter that responded to my family and friends about my new life and my new way of eating. Of course, edit it to fit what you want to say, but hopefully, my own letter will get you started on your own.
I'm sharing the letter that responded to my family and friends about my new life and my new way of eating. Of course, edit it to fit what you want to say, but hopefully, my own letter will get you started on your own.
Dear family & friends (an open letter to all):
Let's address the elephant in the room - or lack thereof…I've had RNY Gastric Bypass surgery to help me become a healthier person. It's been 16 months since my weight loss surgery, and you all have watched my miraculous transformation. But you still have lots of questions! Let me explain some things.
1. I’m the same person inside
I love helping people. I enjoy seeing family and friends, clothes shopping and being outdoors. I love to bake for my co-workers too. But mostly, I love myself more now because I've accepted this new lifestyle and I'm proud of my 90-pound weight loss! Most of you have always seen me as the “big girl.” I understand your concern that I may be too thin. I assure you, I am closely monitoring my weight and general health with my bariatric surgeon and my nutritionist.
2. I'm still learning healthy eating habits
All my life, I was a member of the “Clean Plate Club.” I ate so fast that I didn't remember eating! Those habits are hard to break, even with a new, tiny tummy. I'm focusing on eating slower. And I leave food on my plate. Protein is my #1 food priority. I don't want you to be disappointed if I don't finish a meal you prepare for me.
3. I only eat 4-5 bites of food at a meal
I used to eat an entire large pizza - all by myself. Now, I use smaller plates, smaller utensils. My new tummy can only hold about ½ cup of food at a time; if I eat too much, I throw up. That's pretty self-correcting…I’d like to believe I've learned my lesson. I need about 25-30 minutes to eat a meal properly and safely. So let's enjoy a meal together and talk!
4. I don't like attending functions with food as the main attraction
In my pre-weight loss surgery life, food was my main focus. I'm learning to cope with my emotional relationship with food. I have a food addiction. It's not easy to be around a lot of food, especially holidays and large food-related events. I have to plan and eat before going, packing protein-rich snacks to stave off hunger or just get me out of making a poor choice that might make me sick.
5. I eat several times during the day
Food prep and meal prep helps me to stay on track. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and pre/post workout snacks. I eat more calories on weight lifting days. It may look like I'm grazing, but everything I eat now is accounted for. It works for me. And that's all that matters right now.
6. My life priorities have changed
Successful and permanent weight loss. Healthy eating, proper hydration, daily exercise. These are my priorities now. I was unhealthy, too heavy and depressed for too long. I NEVER want to go back there. Because of weight loss surgery and my commitment to a long, healthy life, I have reached my goal weight, and I am very happy with my results!
7. Yes, I've had plastic surgery
Although I feel blessed with a 90-pound weight loss, I was left with a few “bags and sags!” My upper arms and breasts took the brunt of excess skin left over after weight loss surgery. For me, plastic surgery has helped me “complete” my total transformation. In January 2016, I had an augmentation breast lift (phase 1) and bilateral arm lift. By the time this story goes to print, I will have completed phase 2 of my breast lift (implants). For the rest of my loosey-goosey skin, primarily my derrière and legs, I'm working to build new muscle to eliminate some of the sags, the rest belongs in Spanx!
8. I am happy to explain WLS, but I love talking about other things
I am MORE than a weight loss post-op. I have lots of interests, and I'm interested in YOU as well. Let's talk about you, your job, family & interests. I love photography, kayaking, and my cats. I am blessed with a career that takes me all over the world. I love to share my photography from other countries. Most of all, I'm happy you are still in my life!
You made a commitment to a happier and healthier lifestyle when you chose WLS. Your reasons are valid. They're personal. And they are real. No one really wants to have a surgeon rearrange their stomach and guts and reduce the quantity of food they can eat for the rest of their life! But some of us have no other choice. I celebrate each and every one of you who have had bariatric surgery to improve the quality of YOUR LIFE. Embrace the new you!
ABOUT THE AUTHORSabrina Beauchamp is a 54 year old RNY Gastric Bypass post-op having WLS in August 2015. She has lost 90 pounds and a total of 46 inches. She and her husband are employed by the Department of State in the Foreign Service, serving in US Consulates and Embassies around the world. Sabrina loves photography, inventing recipes in the kitchen, and helping others stay accountable with their weight loss lifestyles.