Fatty Quickie: Heartbreaking Comment

Just a comment I saw today on the Facebook wall of my friend who went through weight loss surgery relatively recently. I’ve been following her reported ups and downs, noting the preponderance of comments to her posts which all focused on “But you look GREAT!” (Even if the post was about how awful she was feeling).  For the most part I’ve stayed back, giving sympathy when required, and congrats when she feels great (hey, we all like to know our friends are happy for us when WE’RE happy, right?).  But her post today about broke my heart:

thinks I was happier as a fat kid. Actually, I know I was…losing all this weight took all my happy away…

My response, which I don’t think helped anything except to maybe let her know that her friends do love her no matter what and DO wish for her happiness was:

*hugs* The outside can’t change the inside. If cultural pressures to always appear outwardly thin weren’t so opressive then maybe when bodies went through such a change the mind wouldn’t get so disconnected. Bit of ramble but regardless, I hope you find the happy again at any size

I may not think that WLS is something I’d want to pursue for myself but that doesn’t mean I feel any vindication to hear that anyone who DOES select this process becomes unhappy.  It does make me angry at a society who feels that such measures are not only a valid but a needed means of making a person healthier and happier, when clearly that is not always the case (though, hey, you’ll look great!).  I don’t know if there’s a better response, what would you say to a good friend?


10 thoughts on “Fatty Quickie: Heartbreaking Comment

  1. I think you did the right thing by being supportive of your friend. That’s all we can do. Anything else is a bonus! Though, I don’t agree with WLS, I applaud you for having compassion. It’ll be interesting to see how your friend is doing in 10 years. . .

  2. The problem with weight loss surgery and losing that much weight that fast (and it is fast) is that the expectation is that the weight loss will solve all your problems. When it doesn’t, and ends up presenting a whole new set of problems, disillusionment sets in. When you lose that much weight, you’re treated differently (better), and that leads you to thinking about how superficial people are – that they can improve their treatment of you, based on looks alone, and not on any improvement in personality, humor, ethics, etc. Makes you feel like a piece of meat, not a person, and that can seriously upset any happiness you’ve gained at becoming thin(ner). It also leads to a lot of self-reflection on whether you were right to have based your sense of self-worth on how you look, and if you would have been better off to have loved yourself for all the other great things about yourself and learned to love your body as it was, instead of pining for what society said you should be.
    As for what you tell someone in those circumstances, I don’t have a clue, other than you’re there to listen if she needs an ear.

  3. I just finished reading “Lessons from the Fat O Sphere”, and aside from feeling like those two ladies reached into my head’s Black Box and replayed every single day since someone first called me FAT at 9 years old, I keep thinking of this one phrase: “Turns out there wasn’t a skinny person inside me after all. She’s fat, and she’s FABULOUS.”

  4. I think you offered a really thoughtful supportive comment.
    It’s hard to walk that fine line with folks who are actively pursuing weight loss; especially with drastic measures.
    How would you talk to them if they were doing anything else that was nigh on impossible, but very important to them?

    My sister in law is a big serial dieter, and recently went through emergency gall bladder surgery on vacation. Did I lecture her about how her dieting caused the situation? No. Did I jump in to take care of details? Yes.
    Have I offered resources to help her eat healthy without dieting? Yes.
    Has she taken much of this in? Likely not. I can be her sounding board when she wants to go on the next cookie diet, and suggest she may find a better way to feel good.

    I only wish I had the sanity points to deal with my (clueless) best friend’s forwarded email with obnoxious photos clearly taken from people of walmart. I’ve got too much else on my plate to open that can of worms right now. I think just knowing when we’re up for battle, or at least intense emotional risk, is half the game.
    Glad you were able to be positive and supportive.
    I’m sure your friend feels you have her back, and that is what is important!

  5. Speaking as someone who underwent WLS six years ago and still suffers from side effects, I would also encourage your friend to speak with a doctor and a mental health clinician, if she is not already. Some of the side effects from WLS include B12 and D deficiencies, both of which can lead to depression. She may be susceptible to SAD. She may also being having a reaction to the massive hormone changes that WLS causes in the short term.

    In the three months after I had my surgery (also this time of year), I become suicidal and exhibited anorexic behaviors. Luckily, I found good health care (outside of the WLS center), received real support to deal with the physical causes of my symptoms, and that gave me the strength and time needed to deal with some of the mental health side effects. The entire process eventually lead me to fat activism and HAES. A long journey and one with an unfortunate catalyst, but a journey I am happy to have made.

    • Heather B I think my friend does have some good follow up folks taking care of her but it does sound like SAD is having its impact. 3+ feet of snow isn’t making for much quality sunshine time here in New England. I’m so glad that you found good care and solid support when things were rough for you too!

  6. ” Some of the side effects from WLS include B12 and D deficiencies, both of which can lead to depression. She may be susceptible to SAD. She may also being having a reaction to the massive hormone changes that WLS causes in the short term.”

    I agree with the poster. I was suffering from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks when I re-started taking the pill. The anxiety messed up my stomach so I was not eating well -not enough protein and that I’m pretty sure caused my anxiety to take a big toll on my body. I added more yogurt, fish, lamb, eggs and whole milk with Ovaltine to my diet and helped me a LOT.
    Advised your friend to get her B-12 serum levels check. Also, tell her to make sure that her potassium and magnesium levels are not compromised.

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