May - Jun 2023

How to Tell Friends and Family You Have Decided to Have Bariatric Surgery

By Amy Bunn, RN BSN


By now, most people understand that undergoing weight loss surgery for morbid obesity is a viable solution to address many health issues. And, recently it’s also gained acceptance as a way to improve self-esteem and well-being. But, the surgery alone can only do so much. It’s important to stress that the surgery itself is just a tool. You will need determination, the support of your bariatric program, plus the support of those people closest to you.


The decision to have bariatric surgery is a big one. Chances are you have done your research, weighed the pros and cons, and tried other methods of weight loss without maintained success. It is certainly not a decision that you have made lightly. Now that you have made that decision, there is another thing to consider: how will you tell your family and friends that you’ve decided to have weight loss surgery?


One option may be to not tell them at all. Of course, close family members would be likely to find out, if you may share a household. But you don’t have to feel obliged to tell all your friends or family members. However there is a lot to be said for having a support system, as this has been found to be a crucial part of reaching your weight loss goals. Achieving long-term success with bariatric surgery requires changing your habits and this often requires a complete lifestyle change, which would likely be noticed by your family and close friends. 


If you do decide to tell your family and friends about your decision to have bariatric surgery, then honesty is the best policy. Be direct and straightforward. Share with them your reasoning for making this choice, and assure them that you have not taken this lightly. Any resistance you may feel from family and friends is likely coming from a place of love and concern for your well-being. Inform them of the research that shows that weight loss surgery is safer than it has ever been. And let them know how you hope to improve your health and confidence by losing the extra weight once and for all. Explain that you will be making a lifestyle change, and that their support is an important part of your success. 


When deciding how to tell your family and friends about your decision to have bariatric surgery, remember there is nothing to be ashamed of. You are taking a step towards a healthier and more confident you and that is something to be proud of. Your loved ones will eventually support you, even if it takes time. You might even be an inspiration to them in the future to start making healthier choices as well.