Rant Alert – this has been brewing in my mind for a while now (fair warning)! I shared this post on my private Facebook account and a shorter question on Instagram. Make sure to read through to the end to get my final thoughts. I’ll also share some resources for you!
I have a public service announcement – and I’m going to try to share my heart about this with as much joy and kindness as I can.
I have had these prying questions asked of me too many times to count over the past year. At least 10 times in the past few weeks. I feel like some things are private and sacred, so here goes…
It is NEVER, and I repeat NEVER appropriate to ask someone after massive weight loss if they are going to have skin removal surgery! Especially if you have never faced this battle!
Trust me when I tell you the answer is somewhere between:
• OH no, I’m going to wear this hanging skin as a battle scar, to
• I wish my insurance would cover surgery, to
• Please give me the name of THE very best surgeon, because I have tens of thousands of dollars saved and I’m ready, to
• That is really none of your business
I’ve been around the weight loss community long enough to know – a handful of people might share about this – but MOST do not.
These types of decisions require deep and soulful reflection. A decision that is not made lightly. I’ve met people that have shared publicly it is their goal to march into the surgeon’s office the day they reach their goal weight. I’ve met people that are horrified about people confronting them with this question.
So – why not be safe, be sensitive? Error on the side of caution and DO NOT ASK that question!
If someone wants you to know about their plans in this regard about their health they will tell you on a need to know basis. Please, for the love – do not put them in an awkward conversation.
Instead, might I suggest you ask them to share how their life has changed, what they have learned about themselves in the journey, etc. Those questions are engaging and encouraging – and most people winning this battle love to share some deeper life lessons about their journey.
This is comparable to other great life advice: NEVER ask a woman when her baby is due if she hasn’t shared her pregnancy with you. I recently realized a friend was pregnant, it was so obvious to me! Even though I was bursting to ask her a million questions, I zipped my lips and waited until the news was shared with me.
Oh, and I should mention – it is also inappropriate to ask someone if they have had gastric bypass surgery or some other type of weight loss surgery. If they want you to know this, they will tell you. I’ve had the privilege to share some of my friend’s journeys after weight loss surgery. I can attest on their behalf, THIS is a difficult journey, too. Just because they had surgery, doesn’t mean they had an easy road. The journey through weight loss is mostly emotional – there is no surgery to fix emotional battle. For the record, I have not had weight loss surgery. I was seriously considering it, but our insurance changed and put an end to those thoughts (because our new insurance no longer covers it). It was definitely a God-intervention. I’ve written about this before in my story.
Since I’m speaking from personal experience, I hope I’ve shared this with some authority, in a positive light, and brought some awareness to your world.
In response to my Facebook and Instagram posts: I’m not trying to make any of my friends feel bad if they have asked me this question – it is my OWN fault I did not know how to respond to this. So, I have learned a lesson in all this, too. I want everything I say and do to be done in love, so please forgive ME for not knowing how to deal with this at the time. If you know me well, you should know I would never hold a grudge for something like this. I’m just sharing this to bring awareness to something very sensitive to weight loss warriors!
Also, there IS a difference between asking IF I have excess skin and if I am going to have surgery. Of course, I have excess skin after losing over 100 pounds. I carried the majority of my extra weight in my belly – it’s the natural result. Keep in mind we all carry our weight differently!
Final thoughts: What wonderful feedback I received on Facebook and Instagram.
I received a few heartfelt apologies today, and while that was not my intent, it is truly appreciated. The funny thing is, I had to really think back in my memory to see if they brought this up. I’m honestly not harboring these conversations, but it is getting to be too much.
Also, through asking my Instagram followers (who are all mostly weight loss warriors), I realized, YES I am more sensitive to and willing to discuss this topic if I am approached with sincerity by someone battling obesity. I am more willing to discuss it and not run screaming from the conversation.
And my final, final thought: If you have never been obese – why are you asking me this?!? Please stop!
Now for some resources! I have
two three suggestions. Edited to add a third suggestion from my health hero.
First, for the ladies (guys, I am sorry – I can’t help you with this. Maybe one of you can start your own business to market something similar for men!). I swear by these. I wear them every day. They help keep me contained and “feel” skinny! I wish they had size X-Small, though – because that’s what I need now. Woot, woot!
Maidenform Flexees Romper (what I love about these is you can wear your own bra). I learned about these from my friend who had gastric bypass. Her surgeon actually told her about them to help her heal her skin as she lost weight.
Second, for anyone considering plastic surgery – this is a popular website for your own research. I learned of this through a friend that works in the plastic surgery world. RealSelf. Another great resource would be a local surgeon!
Third, Dr. Fung talks a lot about healing your skin through fasting, too. This is a very popular blog post from him on his reasoning:
How Much Protein is Excessive?
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve experienced massive weight loss and have dealt with this question. Share your comments below! Make sure to sign up for my email subscriptions to keep in touch, too.