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Now ye're talking - to someone who's had weightloss surgery

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  • When you say people treat you differently now compared to before, do you think there's a difference depending in whether they know you've had bariatric surgery or not: do any of those who know about the surgery/knew you from before seem to feel like you've "cheated" a bit?

    Or is it just the physical difference that seems to change their attitude?




  • KKV wrote: »
    For me personally, and this is where I'd like to put a question towards the AMA guest, I would characterise myself as having a sugar addiction of sorts, coupled with an ability to never feel full.

    I can sit down to a massive takeaway, and although it may start to be uncomfortable, I will manage to eat it all, or of i do have to stop, within 15 minutes, I'll be back eating the remainder again.

    I'd often have been in restaurants with people, and we'd order similar/same things, and everyone else would be busted after the dinner, some not finishing, whereas I'd be thinking "will i look bad if i get two desserts.. pretending i want to just see what they're like".

    I've an insatiable appetite.

    Hope the mods don't mind me putting this here, but your symptoms sound like classic insulin resistance. I have PCOS and when I first developed it I went from having a normal appetite to only being full if I was stuffed. In response, I developed an eating disorder and would starve all day so that when I would eat I could eat enough to feel full. Once I was finally diagnosed and put on metformin (which treats insulin resistance) the desperate hunger went away.

    They used to think that weight gain caused insulin resistance/diabetes and so diabetes/IR was a person's fault. Now though more and more research is supporting my n=1 experience that inulin resistance happens first and then weight gain (followed by diabetes in the genetically susceptible). Unfortunately, for some reason, it's hard to get a fasting insulin test done here so I went through a UK lab.




  • The OP can correct me if I am wrong. But from reading the OP's posts there seems be a bit of confliction going on.

    The OP admitted that they used to view obese people as purely lazy without taking into account their mental and physiological aspects. Which prevent some obese people from going the natural route to lose weight. As most people do let's be honest.

    Also the OP seemed to have gone this surgery route for health reasons, to look better, and feel better about themselves.

    Yet on the other hand the OP seems surprised that people treat them differently.
    Surely it is because people see a person:

    1) Making an effort and a successful one
    2) Looks healthier and seems happier etc.

    Yet the OP seems very irked by the fact that people now say 'you are looking well' and the OP's response is always 'I always looked well.' It seems like a bit of mental trick on behalf of the OP?

    Surely this is,

    1) A delusion on behalf of the OP that they always looked well - still a mental conflict there?

    And

    2) The 'you are looking well' comment from others is merely a nice way of saying 'you are looking much better than you were before' ? And people are pleased for the OP etc.

    --

    So I suppose my questions are:

    Since the surgery does the OP feel better and happier in themselves? Both from a mental and physical viewpoint.

    And is the OP merely annoyed about 'you are looking well' comments. As it is a reminder of how the OP was, and how the OP was viewed?




  • The OP can correct me if I am wrong. But from reading the OP's posts there seems be a bit of confliction going on.

    The OP admitted that they used to view obese people as purely lazy without taking into account their mental and physiological aspects. Which prevent some obese people from going the natural route to lose weight. As most people do let's be honest.

    Also the OP seemed to have gone this surgery route for health reasons, to look better, and feel better about themselves.

    Yet on the other hand the OP seems surprised that people treat them differently.
    Surely it is because people see a person:

    1) Making an effort and a successful one
    2) Looks healthier and seems happier etc.

    Yet the OP seems very irked by the fact that people now say 'you are looking well' and the OP's response is always 'I always looked well.' It seems like a bit of mental trick on behalf of the OP?

    Surely this is,

    1) A delusion on behalf of the OP that they always looked well - still a mental conflict there?

    And

    2) The 'you are looking well' comment from others is merely a nice way of saying 'you are looking much better than you were before' ? And people are pleased for the OP etc.

    --

    So I suppose my questions are:

    Since the surgery does the OP feel better and happier in themselves? Both from a mental and physical viewpoint.

    And is the OP merely annoyed about 'you are looking well' comments. As it is a reminder of how the OP was, and how the OP was viewed?
    The OP hasn't come back, so I'm going to give my reaction to this, as it's related to my own question.

    I don't think he/she was complaining about people saying "you're looking well": it was more about being treated differently. As you said yourself.

    IMO the question is whether it's ok to judge people negatively for being overweight, and seeing that as proof that they're "purely lazy". Would you judge someone negatively if their car wasn't cleaned regularly and if so, does it matter whether they clean it themselves or get it valeted? Or if their garden is a bit unkempt - and again, does it make a difference if your garden is lovely because someone else cuts your grass or if you need to do it yourself before people can think well of you for it?

    There just seems to be a lot more personal judgment of people for their physical appearance than any other part of their lives, and also a feeling that it's fine to keep your belongings looking lovely by having someone else do the hard work of looking after them for you, but if you don't manage to keep your body perfect through your own efforts, they're a bad person. (I'm kind of guilty of this myself, though I try not to, but then as you say, the OP had the same reaction themselves. It's almost the norm.)

    That's why I wondered whether people who knew the OP from before (work colleagues but also friends and family) and who know about the surgery, treat them differently to people who only see the "new" person in front of them, and don't know the back story.




  • volchitsa wrote: »
    When you say people treat you differently now compared to before, do you think there's a difference depending in whether they know you've had bariatric surgery or not: do any of those who know about the surgery/knew you from before seem to feel like you've "cheated" a bit?

    Or is it just the physical difference that seems to change their attitude?

    Yes, a few people have mentioned that it feels like cheating. I understand that reaction because I used to feel that way. I usually deal with those remarks head on and chat through it with them. People are curious as it's often the first time they have spoken to someone who has had it and people respond positively when things are explained in more detail. Even people with weight problems have a lot of misconceptions and stigma about it, so we are all learning.


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  • And do you think it’s important to talk about it or is it no longer a big thing in your life?

    Like, could you forget you’ve had it done or do you remember every time you sit down to eat?




  • The OP can correct me if I am wrong. But from reading the OP's posts there seems be a bit of confliction going on.

    The OP admitted that they used to view obese people as purely lazy without taking into account their mental and physiological aspects. Which prevent some obese people from going the natural route to lose weight. As most people do let's be honest.

    Also the OP seemed to have gone this surgery route for health reasons, to look better, and feel better about themselves.

    Yet on the other hand the OP seems surprised that people treat them differently.
    Surely it is because people see a person:

    1) Making an effort and a successful one
    2) Looks healthier and seems happier etc.

    Yet the OP seems very irked by the fact that people now say 'you are looking well' and the OP's response is always 'I always looked well.' It seems like a bit of mental trick on behalf of the OP?

    Surely this is,

    1) A delusion on behalf of the OP that they always looked well - still a mental conflict there?

    And

    2) The 'you are looking well' comment from others is merely a nice way of saying 'you are looking much better than you were before' ? And people are pleased for the OP etc.

    --

    So I suppose my questions are:

    Since the surgery does the OP feel better and happier in themselves? Both from a mental and physical viewpoint.

    And is the OP merely annoyed about 'you are looking well' comments. As it is a reminder of how the OP was, and how the OP was viewed?

    I'm not surprised that people treat me differently as I was expecting some changes, but I am surprised at the ways they treat me differently and the degree to which it changed my interactions. Things like how people stand closer to me, make more physical contact with me, smile at me more, etc. That goes for both people I knew before and new people I have met since. I don't blame people for doing it, it just feels odd.

    I think you're right that some people feel that I'm making a bigger effort and they approve of that so they treat me better. One colleague did say that to me.

    To answer your questions, yes I feel much better, much happier, and much healthier, both mentally and physically. My sex life has also improved, which is an important thing that I forgot to mention earlier. Weight can have a big impact on our relationships and we shouldn't be afraid to discuss that.

    When people give me a compliment, I accept it and thank them, I certainly don't say anything cheeky or rude. I might think "I always looked well" in my head but that's because it's true, I always did think I looked well, I just look and feel even better now. If I hadn't been suitable for bariatric surgery I would have had to accept potentially being overweight/obese long term and part of that is having a positive self image. I look back at wedding photos and I think we both look fantastic and very happy, even in my XXXL clothes.

    I don't feel irked by people's awkward comments, more surprised and amused. People do not spend their days thinking about me or my weight loss, so sometimes they make remarks off the cuff. I'm sure I do that as well about other things, we are all human, so I don't give people grief for it. It's just odd to experience such a difference based on the amount of adipose cells I happen to have under my skin.

    All of these conversations were in the first few months after the surgery when people were seeing my major weight loss. For the past few years I have just been getting on with life. I can't even remember the last time I thought about these things, they are only in my head now because of the AMA.




  • volchitsa wrote: »
    And do you think it’s important to talk about it or is it no longer a big thing in your life?

    Like, could you forget you’ve had it done or do you remember every time you sit down to eat?

    I talked about it a fair bit at the beginning as it was coming up naturally and people were curious. I don't think about it when I eat except on the rare occasion that I try a new food and I'm not sure how much I will be able to manage.




  • On a slightly different to the surgery, does the OP think that the general HSE/ Medical profession's advice or strategy is fit for purpose.
    Is our advice in the food pyramid etc correct for the modern world.
    In my opinion some of the issues we have are around the types of food we eat and the constant grazing /eating habits of modern society.
    Yet I feel that the responses are somehow formulated by people that believe that we are still eating three square meals per day, as our parents would have done.

    Walk into any small shop or filling station and most/all of the shop is given over to coffee and snacks/sweets. Stop at a motorway filling station and you have probably 3 or 4 choices of fast food.

    I believe we have moved to a vast proportion of processed calorie dense but nutritionally poor food. I don't believe that the response from health authorities reflects the realities of modern society.

    It would be interesting to get the OP's opinion having been through the system from both sides.




  • I'm not surprised that people treat me differently as I was expecting some changes, but I am surprised at the ways they treat me differently and the degree to which it changed my interactions. Things like how people stand closer to me, make more physical contact with me, smile at me more, etc. That goes for both people I knew before and new people I have met since. I don't blame people for doing it, it just feels odd.

    I think you're right that some people feel that I'm making a bigger effort and they approve of that so they treat me better. One colleague did say that to me.

    Prejudice against obese people really is the last socially acceptable stigma. It's so sad. I hope such people are not your loved ones. Given that things like atypical anorexia exist, your colleague sure is assuming a lot. Both fat and thin people can eat really well or really badly.


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  • Did you tell many people beforehand or was it easier to wait until after it was done? I'd imagine it's still a very misunderstood surgery (the likes of My 600lb Life on TV don't help)




  • farmerval wrote: »
    On a slightly different to the surgery, does the OP think that the general HSE/ Medical profession's advice or strategy is fit for purpose.
    Is our advice in the food pyramid etc correct for the modern world.
    In my opinion some of the issues we have are around the types of food we eat and the constant grazing /eating habits of modern society.
    Yet I feel that the responses are somehow formulated by people that believe that we are still eating three square meals per day, as our parents would have done.

    Walk into any small shop or filling station and most/all of the shop is given over to coffee and snacks/sweets. Stop at a motorway filling station and you have probably 3 or 4 choices of fast food.

    I believe we have moved to a vast proportion of processed calorie dense but nutritionally poor food. I don't believe that the response from health authorities reflects the realities of modern society.

    It would be interesting to get the OP's opinion having been through the system from both sides.

    I'm not an expert on nutrition but I think you're right that it is a systems problem. Our environment makes it really easy to eat high-calorie food and it can be a battle to make good choices. The healthcare system mainly deals with the consequences of these problems and educating patients can only do so much. I think it's particularly difficult for parents to manage what children eat as they have so much more access to junk food now.




  • Galbin wrote: »
    Prejudice against obese people really is the last socially acceptable stigma. It's so sad. I hope such people are not your loved ones. Given that things like atypical anorexia exist, your colleague sure is assuming a lot. Both fat and thin people can eat really well or really badly.

    Thankfully my family and friends have been great. Most of my colleagues have also been very supportive. I think we all have our blindspots and as you say it is one of the few major acceptable social stigmas. I have a friend who is very thin because of a chronic illness and she finds it tough when people are constantly commenting on her weight. She would love to put on some weight but she can't. We never really know what is going on for people so best to be supportive and not judge or assume.




  • Did you tell many people beforehand or was it easier to wait until after it was done? I'd imagine it's still a very misunderstood surgery (the likes of My 600lb Life on TV don't help)

    I told very few people beforehand as I was still quite ashamed of it all at that time. I was also worried that it might not work and then I would be even more embarrassed.

    It is so harmful stuff how the tabloids and glossy magazines portray it as somehow cheating or being distasteful. I remember seeing a magazine cover showing a before and after of a celeb and accusing her of having a gastric band in the same tone as you would accuse someone of a high crime!

    On the plus side more and more people are being offered the surgery through the public system here which benefits their health but also society in the long run. Hopefully as more people have it done there will be more acceptance of it as an option.




  • What was the hardest part of the surgery and run up/aftermath?

    What was the easiest?

    Was there anything unexpected that you really weren’t ready for?

    I’ve heard there is a high risk of transfer addiction, is this accurate do you think?




  • I had planned to do the AMA for just a few days so I've long overstayed my welcome. Thanks to everyone who asked questions and I hope it's been helpful. Be kind to yourselves and others, and you only get one body so explore all options!


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    I have a friend who is very thin because of a chronic illness and she finds it tough when people are constantly commenting on her weight. She would love to put on some weight but she can't. We never really know what is going on for people so best to be supportive and not judge or assume.

    Reminds me of a friend who recently bumped into someone he knows professionally but wouldn't have seen in person for quite a while. She told him he was looking fabulous and she'll have whatever he's having...when he leaned over to her and told her quietly it was the 'chemo diet' she nearly died :o You just never know what is going on with people.

    Thanks so much to the OP for this great AMA! If anyone else would like to try their hand at one with their own story, please PM or email me :)


This discussion has been closed.
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