a man talking to his family about bariatric surgery

Talking to Your Family about Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure—not just for patients but for their loved ones as well. If you’ll be undergoing this surgery soon, it’s important that you sit down with your family and discuss how it will potentially affect them. Use these talking points as a guide for your conversation if you’re unsure of where to begin.

Discuss the risks.

While you may be tempted to gloss over the risks of bariatric surgery to keep your family from worrying, it’s unfair to them to give a distorted picture of the procedure. Emphasize that the chance of potential complications are low, but make sure they understand that there is still the possibility for things to go wrong. It’s probably best to address these risks early on in the conversation—ending on a depressing note has the potential to negatively influence their perception of the entire conversation.

Discuss the benefits.

Be sure your family knows that bariatric surgery has the potential to be a life-changing experience for you! You can discuss how the procedure will help you lose the weight you need to get rid of, but don’t neglect the additional benefits it will provide you as well—like more energy for family activities and a longer life to spend with loved ones.

Discuss the changes.

Life after bariatric surgery will be radically different from your life before it, so make sure your family is aware of the changes you’ll have to enact. Explain to them that you’ll be on a highly specialized diet which will take some getting used to and that you’ll be exercising every day. If possible, use these changes as an opportunity to suggest healthy lifestyle habits that you can develop together.

Discuss what you need from them.

Even with bariatric surgery, your weight loss journey will be a struggle sometimes. Emphasize that you can’t make the changes you need to without their support, and offer them practical ways they can give you that support. This can include things like not tempting you with foods that aren’t allowed on your diet, offering words of encouragement, and being willing to lend an ear when you’re feeling discouraged.