Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why I Am A Non-Discloser

I haven't talked much lately about the reasons why I don't discuss my weight loss surgery with anyone (minus two) in the real world. I know that many post-ops do. My reasons for keeping my WLS to myself include the following.

1. Many folks seem to want to hear that weight loss is a result of the traditional, non-surgical approaches. They're a part of The Biggest Loser culture where they are enraptured by contestants who set all else aside and focus only on weight loss. It is somehow gratifying to watch the Blue Team eat Subway and work out until they are forced to go to the doctor for overexertion-induced injuries. (I myself have watched many seasons of TBL--see what I mean!).

2. I don't feel any compulsion to debate/butt heads with or even worry about what others think about the merits of WLS if they already have their minds set. Lots of people state that they would never choose WLS for themselves. I don't have the time or energy to deflect criticism such as that I have chosen an easier method of weight loss.

3. Moreover, I don't want to be associated (especially professionally) with any unneccesarily negative thoughts. I am not defined by my WLS and don't need others to agree with me about it. According to one social science theory, when someone disagrees with us, we like the item of disagreement more and the person less (and if they agree with something we like, we like them more). I know that this gives more fuel to my already fully fired problem of people pleasing, but in my professional life, I have a need to be liked and don't need most concepts and opinions irrelevant to my work to jeopardize that.

4. I don't want the constant scrutiny of others paying attention to my weight fluctuations, exercise, and food types and portions. My family does this enough without my help.

5. While I know we say things like our weight is 'gone forever,' bounce backs unfortunately happen. People have complications. Prioritizing weight loss can become difficult. We rekindle some bad cravings. And the list goes on and on (or, to be grammatically correct, "On and on goes the list." :) ). I have observed others through their own accounts who've had regain struggles, and I can personally attest to my own issues since I've had my unfill and have had to prioritize things other than weight. I feel like my audience of three (including myself) is enough to watch me regain without purposefully inviting more to my weight-gain freak show.

6. Similarly, some people seem to WANT people to fail and to regain. I don't like satisfying that sort of crowd moreso than I'll already be doing if I gain.

7. My health and my body are my business. I can't keep people from commenting about my weight gains, bulges, and the like, but I can choose not to contribute to their attacks with a background story.

8. I'm not ashamed of WLS and definitely would try to steer others toward it if I felt that they could benefit. I just wouldn't be their picture of a success (or unsuccessful) story. I would have to be a bit more creative in how I approached recommendations, but my not laying it all out there doesn't completely prohibit me from sharing wonderful things and results with WLS.

9. I haven't shared my deep thoughts, feelings, or actions about gaining weight to many people in my life, so I don't feel I need to do the same with how I've lost the weight.

Of course, the decision to go public or to tell anyone at all is completely your own. I am not trying to advise any newbies or to speak from any sort of superior pedestal. I understand that different people might have a different dynamic in their lives and require a larger support system. Some people might need financial support for surgery or after care. There might be any number of other reasons TO tell. The decision is one's own. However, I would say to give it a little thought before you decide to confide in people. Once you tell, you can't ever un-tell.

Has anyone told anyone and regretted it? Does anyone have positive comments about their decision to go completely public? Is anyone a non-teller like me?


  1. Great post. I can see both sides of the debate of to tell or not to tell. For me, telling people is my accountability (your #4). I have found support and encouragement from the most unlikely people. It is a very individual decision for each WLS patient to make and I totally respect that. Congrats on your continued success.

  2. I told my husbands best friend and his wife and we don't even talk anymore. The husbands still talk but not the wives. Talk about awkward! I learned my lesson though and now, I only tell if its on a needs-to-know-basis.

    Great post!

  3. I'm mainly a non-discloser for many of the same reasons as you are.

    The biggest one for me is I decided that my motivation and accountability needed to come from me this time, not anyone else. I always would tell everyone that I started weight watchers/slimfast/atkins for accountability, and guess what? It never worked. Why would this time be any different? I wanted this time to be about ME!

  4. We share all the same reasons for not telling. I do have a bit of guilt about not telling from time to time, but I'm getting over that. Besides my husband, I only told one other friend, only because I thought that she could benefit from the information. My best friend does not know, because she doesn't need to lose weight. I do regret telling that one friend now though, because she did not have a particularly positive reaction and I wish I could untell now.

  5. Preach, sister, preach I can't agree with you more on 3, 4 and 6!! I'm a new reader and look forward to visiting and reading more.


  6. I agree with all your points...For me I never feel bad about not disclosing...its a matter of medical privacy. Only my husband and 3 friends know. The three friends know about my long term issues with weight so it was natural for me to tell them. Also these friends had been very open and forthcoming with their weight issues (bulimia, anorexia). Although my friends did not deal with obesity; they understand body and food issues clearly! I don't regret the surgery and I don't regret being discrete.

  7. I have told a few people but no one at work. I just didn't want them all in my business. My own daughter (teenage) gives me grief about it saying how I took the easy way out. If my family gives me slack then I can only imagine what people who don't like me would say.


  8. This is a fantastic post, and you have expressed it much more articulately than I could. Only three people know about my plans, my husband, one of my best friends (who is a doctor), and my sister (well, I guess four as I'm fairly sure she has discussed it with her fiance). My quick take on it is that you can't un-ring a bell, once it is out, you are out. I am just not reading for that kind of scrutiny from people.