We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that it is only skin deep. That being said, people want to look good, or at least their very best. The result of this, however, is that if someone loses weight very rapidly and in great amount, for instance after bariatric surgery, their family and friendship relationship will also be affected, even if they all said that it would never happen. The reality is that they will start to see you as a different person, and that you actually are a different person. This type of surgery does change you, and you will even notice that you see yourself in a totally changed light.
Overall, these are positive developments. However, there can be some downsides as well. You will suddenly find yourself receiving a lot more positive attention, and this can be an experience that may unnerve you. This is very common in people who used to be obese and who would be stigmatized and looked down upon. You have to be prepared for this, and learn how to accept compliments and attention. By preparing yourself, you will also be better able to respond.
Positive responses are happy, dignified, and grateful. Try not to fear the inevitable or to show false humility. Unfortunately, it is far more common for people to show the latter. People simply don’t know how to deal with positive attention all of the sudden, and to become somewhat of a local celebrity. Most of us aren’t prepared for that and just don’t know what to do with all the attention. They feel uncomfortable and many end up suffering from anxiety as well.
The most challenging element is within family relationships. This is particularly true if you have been obese for most of your life, or at least your life together. Most people who are obese have family members who are also too heavy. If someone then suddenly becomes a lot slimmer, this can elicit various relationships but not all of those are good. In fact, many people will feel envious of what you look like now. They may also judge that you see them as beneath you. Guilt is also common, because others will feel guilty about not being able to commit to surgery in the same way as you. You can manage this with good counseling, and it is one of the reasons why it is offered as standard to people who have had surgery.
You have to be prepared to receive both positive and negative attention, often from sources you did not expect. This is inevitable, just as the lifestyle changes that you have to make are. You will suddenly find yourself no longer going to the same hangouts (the ones with greasy burgers and shakes), choosing healthy, smaller portions instead. You will notice that your family struggles with your new diet, particularly if they don’t have to follow it. But that is the choice you made in order to be healthy.