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Negative Nancy / Cue the Shamers – Bariatric Edition

It is so interesting how some people react when my clients tell them that they have had a bariatric procedure, call it the sleeve, mini bypass, full bypass, revision surgery.


“You took the easy way out”.  Excuse me?  “Yes, you had surgery.  That’s not the same as doing it through exercise and diet”.  (say that with a high-pitched, whiney voice)


Let’s back up a bit here.  My clients have done ALL the diets.  They have done ALL the exercises.  Some of them have lost and gained hundreds of pounds.  So you think it is unfair that they hopped a plane to Mexico, paid thousands of dollars, recovered from a surgery, and then learned to eat all over again while getting a lot more active?


Woo Wee, watch me get on my soapbox. 


If you don’t like the fact that “so and so” went to Mexico for bariatric surgery, then look the other way and keep on dieting and exercising and complaining. 


My clients did the math in their heads. They were sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  They were depressed and tired of feeling out of control.  Their bodies were showing signs of metabolic illness, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugars.  Their backs, hips, knees, and ankles all hurt.  They had tremendous inflammation.


They were all eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), and following the darn rules.  They still kept gaining weight.  Thanks, SAD.  Thanks for LYING to us.  Thanks for selling us all your junk food and pretending to take care of us. Thanks for all your food labels that confuse us.


So “Karen”, you prefer your friend to feel poorly daily.  Do you like seeing your BFF depressed?  It makes you happy for your buddy to have back pain?  Do you feel like it’s your business to shame them?


I think I need to get off my soap-box, because I may start using four-letter words now.


Look, guys, if “Karen” does this to you, remove her/him from your life until he/she chills out. If they are your friend, they will be happy for you.  This decision is hard enough without having the “shamers” try to prevent you from taking control of your health.


“But you only need to exercise”.  “But you only need to diet”.  “But you only need to get some of those prescription diet pills”.  “But you only need to be happy with yourself”.


“Thanks, but you don’t live in my body”. “Thanks, but you don’t live in my brain”.


Don’t allow the “negative Nancy” to prevent you from doing what you know you need to do to get healthy.  Sure, there will be genuinely concerned people.  Those people also love you and understand your decisions. 


If Karen or Nancy is reading this, sorry for using your name.


May I say something?  Maybe (just maybe), if you change and get super healthy, others around you may feel like they have to take responsibility and get healthy also.  Change is HARD.  Most people don’t want to change.  Are you challenging them to do better?  Think about it.  Maybe that is why they lash out at you and your decision to have weight loss surgery?


You do You Boo. 

Your body.  Your mind.  Your money.  Your decision.

Only YOU know what you should do.

You do You Boo.


I’ll support you whether you choose to have surgery, try to lose it on your own, or gain 5 more pounds.  You are in charge of yourself. 


I get it. 

Healthy Hugs.


Sheri Burke – your bariatric RHN


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About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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