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Pushing Gastric Bypass: When to Talk, When to Keep Quiet
Sharing our bariatric stories is as personal decision as electing to have the surgery itself. Some of us are very private and others of us are very open. Overall I think we do the best we can on any given day. There are times when the moment is right to share and times when it is best to keep quiet. Here are a few things this bariatric zealot has learned the last few years:
It is well known that when a person affects a tremendous change in their life they often experience a great spirit of sharing and a desire to convert others to the new belief system. This is an altruistic desire to bestow upon others their wonderful new life. Think of converts to religious beliefs or former addicts graduating from recovery programs; often these people reach out enthusiastically to others who are as they once were. The recovering alcoholic is a champion of reform to the drunken and depressed. The born again believer is a champion to the sinners and downtrodden. So it is with the bariatric zealot, a champion to the fat and hopeless.
The desire to share our stories - to make converts to the bariatric persuasion - is sincere and well intentioned. But just like the recovered addict or the new believer, we must tread lightly when it comes to proselytizing this new wonderful way of life. First, we cannot assume that every obese person we meet is in a place where they wish to hear about our weight loss success. Second, it is quite easy to hurt someone's feelings by suggesting weight loss surgery - it implies inferiority, even coming from a formerly obese person.
Think back to when you were overweight and hopeless. Didn't you sometime feel betrayed by a former fatty gone thin? Chubby folks stick together and when one betrays the band to join the tiny tummy league the others can feel exposed and vulnerable. They can feel like failures because one of their members has succeeded where they have given up hope.
On the other hand, a bariatric patient is an inspiration for the heavyweight hopeless among us, a living breathing shrinking miracle overcoming the obstacle of obesity right before our very eyes. It is my experience that this metamorphosis is the greatest inspiration of all. Let the physical manifestation do your talking for you and tread lightly on tender feelings. We all share a great empathy for the obese and should never forget where we came from, even after the giant clothes have long been tossed on the garbage heap.
When asked about the wonderful transformation weight loss surgery has affected, the opportunity is ours to empathetically inspire others with hope. It is an opportunity to commiserate. Obesity is a lonely place to be. Sharing an intimate understanding of that loneliness will go far to ease another's pain.
Copyright © 2005 Kaye Bailey - All Rights Reserved.
Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of http://www.livingafterwls.com and http://www.livingafterwls.blogspot.com
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