Sep 14

The Stigma of Weight Loss Surgery

Stigma of Gastric Bypass Surgery

Yes, for me, there is a stigma to gastric bypass surgery. My feelings may be truth or fiction, to someone else. For me, the stigma is real. I feel, well maybe felt until now, ashamed.

I didn’t want to tell people I entered a weight loss program at the hospital for the purposes of prepping for this surgery. I just told them I joined a weight loss program. They cheered.

Today, just 60 hours before surgery, just a handful of good friends know I’m having weight loss surgery – and telling them was so freaking difficult.

Heck, I started this website and blog, but only three people know about it, and only two of them know its my blog and website.

I’m ashamed, because I feel people will see me differently if, not when, they find out. I know a lot will say, “Wow, she took the easy way out. If she were as strong as she thinks she is, should could have kept her mouth shut and lost the weight.”

I’m a fiercely proud woman. I’m successful in business, life and marriage. At time, many time, this has felt like failing.

I was comforted early on in this seven-month trek to taking control, to learn from my medical group every patient who walks through their doors feels like a failure.

Misery loves company.


© Sashkin – Fotolia.com

Oh sure, I can use all kinds of cliche quotes to make myself feel better, like:

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan

Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” Zig Ziglar

But, here’s a quote I prefer to focus on:

It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Bill Gates

I did fail and losing weight and keeping it off. But, I learned the lessons of my failure.

I can’t do this alone. I’ve proven that to be a fact. So, I’m seeking help — help that I’ll have at my disposal the rest of my life.

If there’s a stigma to that, then crown me the Stigma Queen.

About the author

Laurie Lee Dovey

LLD is a writer, photographer, marketing and media consultant, hunter, angler, RVer, sports nut, poker player, and wife.


  1. Lois W.

    I have to confess that I almost didn’t tell anyone either about my plans to have surgery. But then I heard from a surgery patient that said that he didn’t tell anyone except his wife. His children didn’t even know. I thought how sad was that, that he felt like he couldn’t even talk with his family about his journey. And then I thought what must his children think. They must think that their dad had a life threatening disease or something that is why he is losing so much weight. So I tell everyone who asks about my weight loss journey. It is something to be celebrated. I had surgery 12/3/13 and since then I have lost over 30 pounds! But more importantly, I feel better about myself and everyone around me! I don’t feel like I have to hide or never leave my house anymore. I want to get out and enjoy life!

    Lois W.

  2. “Something to be celebrated.” Amen. And a chance for WLS patients to educate those who feel it’s the easy path in life. When people sort of give me the “stigma vibe”, I do my best to tell them what the six months of preparation was all about, what my life is now, what I’ve agreed to give up to be healthy.

    As to confidence and loving yourself again, there is no better gift, right?

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