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The Public Stoning of Gastric Bypass Patients: When Things Get Ugly

Recently a woman went public in her online diet community with her decision for gastric bypass surgery. She was asking for fellowship and support from fellow dieters. What she received was a public cyber-stoning from hostile opinionated and poorly informed sanctimonious people.

I was a bit taken back by the arrogance of some respondents: that if Lisa simply had the willpower she could lose the weight.

Lisa has 170lbs to lose. In the last two months she has lost 7 pounds and a poster told her that was wonderful progress - she should just keep doing what she's doing and lose the remaining 170 lbs. It would take Lisa, losing 3.5 lbs/month, 48 months to lose her weight. That is without setbacks or life's little disruptions. That's 48 months of maintaining a rigid diet/exercise program while seeing little progress. Few people can accomplish that. Take a look around, there are a lot of obese people struggling just to get by, yearning to be in any body besides their own fat one.

In the same forum another poster had the nerve to write Eat Less: Exercise More. Calories In = Calories Out. Really? Thanks for the help with the math.

Another threw in the cheesy slogan: Grit Determination + No Excuses = Goals Reached and Dreams Becoming Reality.

Guess what folks? Catchy phrases and simple math don't cut it when a person is morbidly obese.

I do not personally know Lisa, nor do I know her state of self-esteem.

I can tell you with heartfelt sincerity that when I had 150 pounds to lose I was in such a spiral of despair and hopelessness that nothing short of surgery worked for me. My acts of self-sabotage and self-destruction derailed every conventional attempt to lose weight. I did not have the self-esteem or courage to muster any grit determination. I was on the train to hell and getting there by way of obesity.

I needed help.

Surgery opened a window for me: for once in my fat life I was succeeding at weight loss. My weight came off and I was empowered by the success of it. I sought fitness as a way of life, not evil torture. I embraced the art of cooking healthy balanced meals. I started taking care of myself. Surgery and the occasional resulting discomforts is a small price to pay for self love and self acceptance, not to mention health and wellness. Without weight loss surgery I can only shut my eyes in horror at the sad life I may have had. Low self-esteem and poor health never equal grit determination.

The most disappointing thing to come of Lisa's call for support was the lack of empathy or understanding from people aboard the same sinking ship - all overweight, all struggling dieters, all hopelessly defeated. Should this not have been the very group to rally Lisa's cause; to give her credit for a making a gut-wrenching decision; for having the courage to reveal her very private choice?

Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of and

LivingAfterWLS is a no-nonsense resource for people Living After Weight Loss Surgery. Our community is growing in numbers even as we are shrinking in pounds. Together we support one another in this lifestyle, that it turns out, is NOT the easy way out.

Fresh & insightful content is added daily, check in often.To subscribe to the LivingAfterWLS monthly newsletter "You Have Arrived" click on and enter your details in the subscription box.


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