Yesterday I had posted a Facebook status about how proud I was of myself for sticking to my nutrition goals for the week (I have done a good job, methinks), and one of my friends replied by telling me that she shared with the folks in her lab about “how awesome [I] was for doing this for myself, but sharing [my] experience openly” (her words, not mine).I then replied,
The reason I decided to share what I’m going through is it would look a little suspect if I dropped a huge amount of weight in a super short amount of time with no good explanation. Rather than have people speculate about why it was happening, I decided to just lay it all out there. Also, the encouragement, support and accountability that comes with telling other people you’re doing something like this is tremendously helpful.
I didn’t want people guessing at why I was losing so much weight so fast. Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve lost weight in the past using Weight Watchers, but
So I wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly what I was doing. The why doesn’t really matter, as all of us that try to lose weight in the manner of our choice do it for our own individual reasons. My primary reason: to be truly healthy so that I can live a long life with my husband.
I also felt that the more people around me who knew, the better off I would be in getting support and encouragement when I needed it. This support can come in various forms such as:
- cheering me on when the process is working
- providing encouraging words when the scale refuses to budge
- not framing social events solely around food
- not feeding me things I prefer not to eat or cannot eat due to my new stomach
- supporting the need for me to do this for myself
- lighting the fire under me when I need it
- most importantly, loving me for who I am even though I might not look the same way
Many people elect not to tell anyone and do not share my view on transparency through the weight loss surgery process. They have their own reasons for keeping their path private: unsupportive family, mouthy co-workers, food pushing enabler friends–there are so many reasons why one might not want others to know that they’ve chosen surgery to help them get healthy.
The decision to have weight loss surgery is an intensely personal and for some, an intensely private process. As I work around students, fellow educators and other community members on a daily basis during the school year, being private about this whole process was not going to work for me. For me, I believe that what I do publicly influences others. Let’s face it, there is nothing more public than one’s body.
As an educator, I don’t just educate within the confines of my school building; I educate everywhere I go. I hope that whatever I write here helps someone else regardless of whether they are on a path to better health through weight loss, no matter how they choose to pursue that path. I hope that whatever I write here educates someone who may be supporting a friend or loved one who has someone in their life with the same struggle. The more people I can educate about my choice to have weight loss surgery, the better off I think we’ll all be. And if this means that people become supportive of my decision, then that’s awesome.
I am also cognizant of the fact that there will be some who aren’t supportive, and who think that I’ve chosen the easy path. And you know what? Let them think that. Until they’ve spent most of 40 years as an overweight person, they have no right to tell me that what I’m doing is the easy way out. I don’t need people around me who will be unsupportive in any way as they will only hamper the process that I began back in January.
As my friend Georgianne said as I began this process, “An army behind you.” And that’s what I’ve got going into battle. While I’m the one fighting the good fight, my army of support will have my back every step of the way.