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Trigger warning: Discussion of weight loss surgery and its consequences.
“Although most previous research suggests that weight loss surgery leads to an increase in quality of life for the majority of patients…” I would say that all depends on how you define “quality of life.” If you’re defining it strictly on how other people treat you, how much weight you lose, how easy it is to buy clothes, how easy it is to navigate the world — then I can see where “quality of life” might be considered to have improved. But if you’re also considering the physical complications of WLS and whether or not it actually worked, as opposed to the other criteria I listed, you may not think your “quality of life” improved all that much.
“Becoming slimmer and lighter is mostly perceived of as positive. At the same time it is ambivalent, since people start to behave differently towards the women after they’ve had surgery. People are friendlier than before, and this may feel extremely provoking. And people often ask very invasive questions concerning the woman’s radical weight loss.”
The interviews revealed that some of the women experienced a boost in self-esteem after surgery, were more outspoken, and found other people were more likely to listen to what they were saying — particularly in the workplace.
Groven notes that although these factors are clearly positive outcomes, this could also be seen as a “grief” because the women realize they had to undergo weight loss surgery before seeing these outcomes.
These “positive outcomes” have a very negative side to them — what does it do to one’s self-esteem to realize that people are only listening to your opinions because you’re thin? Not because your opinions are valid, not because you have a right to those opinions and to express them, but only because you’re now thin? What happens to your self-esteem if the WLS ends up not working and you end up regaining the lost weight? Does that make you feel even worse than you did before you had the WLS and lost weight?
As for those “invasive questions” that people ask about weight loss, it’s all part and parcel of this thin-obsessed culture we’re living in. Everyone is not only afraid of getting of fat, but if they’re already fat, they feel obligated to ask “How did you do it?” so that they can either say “That worked for me,” “That didn’t work for me,” or “Hmm, I’ll have to try that.” Problem is, if/when they find out you had WLS, they think you took the “easy way out,” and then your “accomplishment” is negated. It’s a no-win situation, which sure doesn’t make for an improvement in quality of life.