Food for Thought: Five Truths About the Bariatric Community

The other day I decided to write down the assumptions on which I moderate Bariatric Foodie, in general. I think it’s a good exercise to make sure what you think you believe is what you actually believe. So here goes. I operate on the assumption that:

#1 – You are all adults. You know how to make good decisions for yourself so long as you have good information to go on.

Here that translates to the fact that I try to bring up topics that challenge us. I think in doing so we have the space to flesh out our beliefs and decide if they really fit us, or if we are going with the status quo. To be clear, either is fine in my opinion so long as it’s a conscious decision. But I try not to tell folks what they should and should not do. I’m neither your mother nor your doctor!

#2 – Being that we are all from different bariatric programs, we probably have different rules.

This one is especially important. It’s frustrating that there isn’t much standardization in rules and so you come here and you’ve been told not to do X but someone else’s surgeon said X is fine so it introduces doubt. My philosophy is that you should almost always follow your bariatric practice’s rules. If there is a rule you don’t understand or don’t agree with, you should ask for the reasoning behind that rule. If your bariatric team won’t tell you, that’s not a great sign. But the bottom line here is we each have a set of rules we’ve been given to follow. We each made the choice to work with the bariatric team we are working with. And we each have a comfort level for how far off course we can or should go. Be true to yourself. Don’t do things simply because you can, do them because you’ve decided it’s the best thing to do.

#3 – We all are, at ANY point in this journey, worthy of love and respect (from others as well as ourselves!)

I see lots of folks who seem to think they have to get to a certain size or number before they are worthy of not having to put up with the ridiculousness this world can serve. That’s not true. You were always worthy of love and respect – before surgery and now.

#4 – What we say to others (for better or worse) has an effect on them.

That’s why I am super serious with my “do no harm” self-policy. I kid you not, I’ve deleted my own posts when I felt like my words were more damaging than helpful. I think about the words I share and the words you all share. I think about if I would give the same advice with my voice. If not, I don’t understand how I can justify saying it here. We are all human.

#5 – There are levels to this.

What I mean by that is that this is a journey that is both physical and psychological. At seven years post-op I simply don’t see the world and my life the same way I did when I was seven weeks post-op. It took me a LONG time to understand that. There were years here on BF where I tried to “fix” people, which is an arrogant perspective to begin with. Who the heck am I to “fix” anyone else? That’s why I try not patronize folks if they are worried about things that do not worry me or focused on things I am not focused on. You are on your journey and you’ll progress on it as you are supposed to. I think of my role as being an ear to listen as you go through the process, and a convener to help folks see just how common some of our worries are and how very, very, VERY capable we are of overcoming them.