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by Abigail Van Buren

Gastric Surgery Patient Wants to Avoid Snarky Comments

DEAR ABBY: I have been overweight for half of my life. After many diets, exercises, weight loss and eventually gaining it all back, I'm planning to have gastric sleeve surgery within the next two months, or when my surgeon can place me on his schedule.

I have gone through all of the required office visits with my doctor, but haven't yet made a final decision because I'm so nervous about it. I have not mentioned this to my adult children or my parents. My parents are elderly and probably would hate it and worry, so I don't want them to know. As for my children, they probably won't like it either.

The surgery will mean I'll lose 60 to 70 pounds. Should I say something or wait until it becomes obvious? I'm a private person, and I absolutely don't want any negative or snarky remarks from neighbors or my church family.

Am I being ridiculous, selfish or silly? If I don't tell, how will I explain how I lost the weight without spilling my secret? I may tell everyone later on, but not right now. -- GOT A SECRET IN THE SOUTH

DEAR GOT A SECRET: Wanting to be your best and healthiest self isn't ridiculous, selfish or silly. If you need surgical intervention to conquer your weight issues and your doctors agree, there is no reason to be defensive about it. Attempting to hide a 70-pound weight loss would be like trying to smuggle dawn past a rooster.

As you pointed out, your weight loss will become obvious. When you are asked about it, all you need to say is that now that your weight problem is in the past, you prefer not discussing it, so please don't bring it up again. You may encounter fewer raised eyebrows if, once your doctors allow it, you start doing some walking so you can be seen by others adopting a healthier lifestyle. If you do, people may assume it's the reason you are thinner.

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