I recently got an email from a Random Reader that struck a chord with me. She was asking my advice on how to cope with a food-focused family event no more than two, count ’em, two days after surgery without actually spilling the beans on getting the band.
Naturally, I was surprised that one wouldn’t tell one’s family about their lap-band journey especially since I find it so easy to dish all the dirty details for the public to see. I actually received an email from an old university friend complimenting me on that very thing that makes blogging about my band work for me – my openness. But there are people who simply don’t want anyone else involved in their journey and this Random Reader is one of them.
I can totally understand why she wouldn’t want to tell the whole tale to her family members…
I didn’t dare tell anyone other than my family (but only because they helped me pay for it) that I was getting a band until the night before my surgery. I announced this blog on my Facebook page and let the whole world know hours before the main event. I kept it quiet for the very same reasons as my random reader: I didn’t want to hear all the reasons why I shouldn’t do it.
Sadly, I’ve heard too many tales of loved ones lecturing overweight family members about losing weight but only doing so on their terms and when it’s convenient for them, not when it’s convenient for the overweight person. OR they only want them to lose the weight in a way they approve of. It’s usually covert and unconscious sabotage but it’s sabotage nonetheless.
And everyone seems to become an expert on these things. All of a sudden, they think they know the best way for you to do it. I have friends that are doctors, lawyers, med students, nurses etc and they all would have had something to say about my choice. It may not have been negative but I couldn’t take the risk because some people even consider it an easy way out. It AIN’T easy let me tell you!!!!
But I AM glad they know. It helps in a lot of ways. In my family, if they didn’t know, everyone around me would be overeating or eating unhealthy foods and the temptation would be raging right in front of me.
The band doesn’t make it impossible to eat unhealthy foods, it makes it impossible to overeat unhealthy foods. There are ways around eating with the band and if I don’t address the issues, I could end up overeating again. And if you’re a pleaser, one might try to eat unhealthy foods or over eat simply because it’s easier than listening to the comments from the peanut gallery.
If everyone knows, they won’t question my small portions either. Otherwise, they’d notice my all of a sudden eating portions that are far smaller than my smaller family members’ and also what they’re used to seeing me chow down on a regular basis. When the overweight family member eats less than the average weight family member, the average weight family member will most certainly have something to say about it.
This is as much about families making a change as it is about us. What Bandsters need is support, not criticism. Positive influence around as often as possible. One doesn’t need food triggers to make them want to eat poorly.
So, to me, it’s not really about whether or not you’re open about these things. I can sort of understand how Random Reader feels. I don’t want ANYONE to comment on what I’m eating EVER – good or bad. They have no right to get involved. It’s my body, my process, my results. And that’s how I felt when Dr Yau told me I would need my family’s support. I thought, I can handle this myself. I got here, I’ll get myself out of here. But it’s not really about that. It’s about realizing that my friends and family love me and they’re there to support me – whether I want it or not.
Personally, I sat them down and told them what I needed from them and asked if they could it. In my case, they’re all full of opinions and believe themselves to be better than doctors but it’s better having them know. That way, when I say I can’t eat somewhere or eat something, they understand I’m not just being snobby or picky (which I kind of am sometimes). It’s that I actually can’t eat food from the establishment they wish to frequent.
The things is, our minds will change because they have to adapt to what’s happening to our bodies. Their (ie family, friends) minds will take longer to adjust to the new us: The one that doesn’t eat all the goodies. The one that’s not always up for a tasty snack or a drink or whatever got us to where we are. We’ve lived our lives the same way for years and the change will be sudden and obvious to others because they haven’t had the chance to adjust and to think it over like we have.
But basically, they’ll figure it out eventually. Postponing the inevitable may lead to some hurt feelings from friends and family but we’ve got to do what works best for our recovery. If that means keeping things under our hats, then so be it. But my experience has been full of love and support and very little criticism and I’m grateful for that. I wish the same to any potential bandster.