People who have never undergone weight loss surgery of any kind often are confused, uneducated, and in some cases, just flat out ignorant about the whole thing. It's my goal to educate those who "don't know" about the truth on WLS and what is myth. Many times someone will say something so outlandish about WLS that it makes me laugh (really? you think they turn our stomachs inside out??), and others they will say something that is just flat out rude. So, for those of you that have never had weight loss surgery, I have compiled a list of things you should NEVER say to a Sleever (or a Gastric By-Pass patient, Lap-Band patient, or any other person that has ever had WLS).
1. Isn't that the easy way out? NO IT IS NOT. First off, we are (literally) forcing ourselves to get over an addiction that most of us have had for a very, VERY long time (food). It's like uuber rehab for fat people. Only WE have to be around our addiction ALL THE TIME. Second, we STILL have to watch what we eat and exercise, just like everyone else. Our surgeries are a TOOL to use in CONJUNCTION with all of that. Easy way out? Hardly.
2. You don't look like you've lost that much weight! Really? We look in the mirror every day and still see ourselves as fat as we were six months ago sometimes, and you think that's a proper response? Everyone's body is different and everyone reacts differently to surgery. Besides, did you think that we were all going to lose 100 within a week?
3. You're losing too much weight! This is another gem. Please PLEASE don't say this. Our weight loss goals are between us and our doctor, and yes sometimes we do end up losing a little too much. But chances are, we will begin re-gaining some of that weight back soon. So unless we start looking a little too much like Karen Carpenter, don't worry. We got this.
4. Can you eat that/ should you eat that?/You can't eat that! We know what we can and can't eat, and sometimes what we CAN eat might surprise you. Also keep in mind that something we might not have been able to eat a time ago might have found its way back into our diets. Again, remember that our diets are between our doctors and us. And sometimes we might eat something we shouldn't or we might even indulge once in a while - that's okay. It happens to everyone, even Jillian Michaels once in a while.
5. Do you want my old . . . No. Unless we ask for it, express interest in it, or it's really, really nice (designer) we really don't want your old clothes. We've worked really hard to get where we are, and sometimes someone offering their old "fat clothes" to us is just a sad reminder of who we once were.
So now that we have those out of the way, here are some things you can say instead:
1. You're so brave! You have no clue what some of us had to go through for surgery. For many of us, bravery was an important part of that.
2. How much weight have you lost? Most of us are really, really proud of how much we've lost and will tell anyone that wants to hear it!
3. You look great! Even if we don't. Say it anyway. Some of us could really use the ego-boost some days.
4. What can you eat? We will gladly tell you what we can or cant digest that week.
5. Here's a gift card to *recipients favorite clothing store here*. We love new clothes, even if it's only one size smaller! (hey, who doesn't, right?) Sometimes a new top, new dress, or new jeans (ALWAYS new jeans!) can really make us feel special and beautiful, and proves to us that it DOES work!
The thing to remember is this: BE MINDFUL. And always feel free to ASK QUESTIONS. If there's something you don't understand, there's absolutely nothing wrong with educating yourself on the truth.
Thanks for joining me on this journey!