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What to do? - Obtain Outside Support and Commitment

Chances are you are looking into weight loss surgery on your own with out having discussed this consideration with your family or friends and that is fine. Obesity surgery is a very personal decision to make but at the same time you won't be going through this alone. With the help of your practitioner, you together with your loved ones, should agree that weight loss surgery is the best choice for you but getting to that point can be difficult.

Initial Shock: When your doctor recommends the lap band or gastric bypass surgery (stomach stapling), most family members or friends expect the doctor to prescribe the standard behavioral related methods: more exercise, eating less, identifying psychological eating habits, and taking prescribed weight loss medication. But many are not prepared or have even heard of weight loss surgery. This is a good time to educate them about your BMI and what is involved in the lap band or gastric bypass surgery (stomach stapling) procedure. Initially they may think that it is a drastic means to lose weight and to some extent they are right. To your family, friends, and coworkers you may seem perfectly healthy and happy. Maybe they have known you for so long that they may not even think that you're obese. It is likely they have no idea how much you have struggled and failed to lose weight and they wonder why you can't just try another diet program. And for you to just volunteer for a major weight loss surgery in which you could conceivably die in the process! This can be hard to understand for those loved ones you hope will support you while you are considering bariatric surgery, so education and communication is very important.

Many things go through the minds of your loved ones while they know you are considering weight loss surgery such as the lap band or gastric bypass surgery (stomach stapling) procedures. It is the fear of the unknown. What exactly will the physician do to re-plumb your stomach? How will you feel when the family sits down to devour the turkey on Thanksgiving? What if there are complications? These initial thoughts and many others are normal and you need to be prepared to address these issues by educating yourself and your family, friends, or coworkers.

Educating Your Loved Ones/Gaining Their Commitment: They need to realize that it is not just weight that you will be losing, it is also what is called co-morbidities (morbid: of, relating to, or characteristic of disease). As an obese person you may have serious obesity associated health-risk factors caused or worsened by your high BMI condition. You probably keep these conditions private and they are not obvious to others. Some of these problems include:

  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • heart problems (cardiovascular disease)
  • diabetes
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the legs
  • joint and back pain
  • depression
  • sleep apnea
  • infertility

These problems alone or in combination contribute to a "quality of life" factor. Not being able to go out and play with the kids because your knees have worn out, or not getting enough sleep because the apnea wakes you up during the night. And if nothing is done about your obesity the list of co-morbidities you're experiencing will grow eventually leading you down the path to destruction. You know this but those close to you may not know the problems related to obesity so it is up to you to educate them. Let them know that this is a treatment of last resort; you repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to lower your BMI using diets, exercise and behavior modification and you still have serious health-risk factors associated with being seriously overweight, and that the primary reason for considering bariatric surgery is one of health and not appearance. Many of your friends may think you are doing this in vain instead of purely health reasons. So, it is important for family, friends and coworkers to understand your condition so they may better understand the path you are on and your plan to change that path permanently. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can make the commitment to taking your life back from obesity.

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