To My Weight-Loss Surgery Friends

Steph Wagner MS, RDN

July 22, 2013

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Today I spent some time at a bariatric clinic. It flooded back memories and feelings I always have when I get to see people go through this process. I drove home thinking of my weight-loss surgery friends. I think so highly of them, even if society sees it different.

So to my weight-loss surgery friends,

I’m proud of you. Proud of you for getting past the uncomfortable feelings you or others feel about having the surgery. Proud of you for taking action and getting started in a program. Sitting through a seminar and hearing some scary things. Listening to a doctor talk about things you didn’t totally understand.

Telling your family and spending time in thought and even prayer. Brushing yourself off when someone you care about said crummy things about your decision. Looking past what others were eating to make your pre-op weight requirement. You’ve said no thank you more times than you ever thought you could. You took a lot of time off and sick days to get to appointments and classes. You studied your materials at home and read online about surgery.

You made friends at support groups. Thought you were doing well and had your dietitian tell you she wanted more. But you were still nice to her- thank you! You changed your household with better foods, got to the grocery when you didn’t have the time, and kept good options for you and the family. You dealt with upset kids and spouses when “they weren’t the ones that chose to go on a diet.”

You fit in exercise in even the busiest of days. Pack your protein bars and water for your summer trips. Bring something to share for a holiday party when you secretly just want to make sure you could eat. You step on a scale in front of strangers and sit in front of doctors, nurses, dietitians and exercise physiologists to talk about that stupid number. What did you eat? Why? What were you feeling? I’m the one asking the questions, yet I know it’s not easy to be asked.

If you have heard someone say surgery is the easy way out, I’m sorry you heard those words. I want you to forget you ever did (and forgive the person who said them) and remember the truth. What’s easy about changing everything you know about food? What’s easy about trying to eat out with friends when you have to drink liquids? What’s easy about having to remember your water, your vitamins, your breakfast and your lunch when you are rushing out the door for the day? I’ve always thought if someone sat one day in my office, they would quickly realize it’s not so easy. Sure, it gets easier the longer you do it. But the process to get to that point is long.

My husband and I met on an online Christian dating site. When you tell someone you met your spouse online, some people are still a little uncomfortable about it. I think my husband puts it very well when he says, “I don’t care how we met, I care that we met.” And that’s how I’ve decided I feel about weight-loss surgery. I don’t care how you lose the weight, I care that you lose the weight. Oh sure, I want you to do so in a very healthy manner that greatly improves your quality of life. Just like I would care that someone was in a healthy relationship.

So I will keep posting recipes that are all bariatric friendly. Never will I post something I don’t want a post-op patient to eat- although always consult your dietitian as recommendations will vary with individual situations. 

If you have ever thought about a surgery, or know someone who has, I am more than happy to talk through this option. The good, the bad, the ugly. Send me an email and we’ll get in touch.

This post was very long because I have a lot to say on this subject…and the only ones left reading are likely my post-op friends! ;) One more time….I am so proud of you!

31 thoughts on “To My Weight-Loss Surgery Friends”

  1. Great post. I’m reading this on a treadmill on a day that I really didn’t have time or energy to come to the gym but I did because I’m at a weight plateau and I know I need this. Thanks.

  2. Steph – this was SO touching. I love and appreciate the fact that you “GET IT”!

  3. You are so insightful Steph, and you “get” all of this. I wish I could have lost my weight on my gadzillion trips to Weight Watchers, but at some point you have to decide to take charge and DO something about it. Makes me crazy the people who think you took the “easy” way out. You still have to do the hard work.

    It’s a complicated relationship you have with your body, and although I don’t regret at all having WLS, I didn’t totally anticipate some of the ripple effects.

    Your blog is such a gift and I love reading it.


  4. Steph, I was so bummed to find out you were no longer my dietician. I miss seeing your smile. Thank you so much for the sweet words because at times I do allow others’ words to start defining my decisions….so important to hear and recognize truth. I have never thought of some of these changes even though I have been through them all. Thank you again!!

  5. I’ve heard all of these things and I have been hurt by them, too, but I also don’t believe I would be alive today if I had not made the decision to have gastric bypass. I have learned to enjoy life again. Thank you for the wonderful words. They make all the hurtful ones go away.

  6. I miss seeing you too!! So thankful I can still encourage you, even if from afar :)

  7. Yes! So glad you said that Connie. The risks, whether health related or socially are nothing compared to keeping your life AND living it! Thanks for posting :)

  8. Thank you Stephanie, I sure needed some great encouragement. God truly put you in the right career field. I will never give up!

  9. THANK YOU Steph! You are SUCH an inspiration to all of us. not only in your dietition mode, but your faith and your positive outlook on life make us all want to keep ‘walking the walk’ with you by our side!

  10. Thank you Steph! I don’t think I could’ve done it without you! I thank God every day that I have you in my corner. Your honesty and energy are what make you amazing! HUGS! I’m still waiting on the “Saying No to Katie O” part of your blog ;)

  11. Thank you so much for your kind comments. You were such a great help in my journey and I so appreciate all of your help and encouragement. I’m glad we have your blog so we can stay in touch. Of course, I like the recipes, also!

  12. Thank you so much Steph. The people in the Enid Support Groups love your recipes and we tell all new comers about it. I also have introduced your web site to my Diabetic Support Group and many people there love it too. (I am a Diabetic in remission). I miss seeing you when I come to Edmond. I am so very happy for you and your new husband. God Bless You.

  13. Thank you Dorothy! For your encouragement and for sharing the site. I miss seeing you too!!

  14. You’ve worked so hard Carla! I’ve be honored to get to see your hard work pay off!

  15. So sweet!!! And now that you say it, I think I need to get to work on a new section of the blog…

  16. Well said Stephanie and what I needed to hear.
    Isn’t wonderful how God puts the right words thru the right people at the time we need to hear it. I am so happy that you are healing too. God is so Good!!!

  17. Amen sister! He is so good and I’m humbled he used my words to encourage you! To him be the Glory :)

  18. Hi Steph! I’m so grateful for finding your site. I read this and could hear the words being said to me loud and clear and felt for once…someone who understands, not judging, your positive words of encouragement brought tears to my eyes! Thank you! I will make sure to follow you, so when I’m feeling overwhelmed I’ll read this and remember who I am and why I get this surgery on 1/12/15…I wanted to live, enjoy life at 31 and be healthy! This is not easy as I feel myself cracking because I want to drink normal and not be afaird of vomiting or counting down the day until my 2week follow up appt to be cleared for puree food, but I can do this…we all can! Thank you Steph for this site. May God bless you!


  19. I’m so glad it’s the website has been a blessing to you! Congratulations on your surgery and yes, please come back for encouragement! You are not alone in this! :)

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