Note from a fellow bariatric patient:
It’s really hard to ask for help! I know that I am not the only person who feels this way.
I worry that it makes me look weak; like I don’t “have it all together,” but sometimes, if I’m honest with myself, I DO need help.
It’s taken time, but I’ve learned that my life is better, and I accomplish more when I reach out to others. Here are the reasons I think it is important to seek help, especially when you are struggling:
- Things are easier, and more fun, when you do them with a friend, especially if it is something difficult. When I was running for public office, my campaign manager wanted me to visit every home in the district. It was intimidating to repeatedly walk up to stranger’s homes and ask for their vote. But, because we did it together, it ended up being one of the best, and most memorable, experiences of my life. And I won!
- Others give us perspective. Many times, we are too close to situations (or ourselves) to see things correctly. A friend or mentor can help us view things with a different set of eyes. As I was always obese, I lacked physical confidence and I see “barriers” to many activities that don’t exist. My brother is good at knowing that I can do something that I think is too difficult. As a result, he pushes me, and much to my surprise, I accomplish things that I was sure I couldn’t do.
- Friends can pick you up when you are down and, perhaps more importantly, bring you back to earth when you are “full of yourself.” There is nothing like someone who really knows you to keep you in line, nudge you when you are procrastinating, or provide an encouraging word at just the right moment.
- Others point out things that you don’t see and ask probing questions to guide you. When making decisions, I often worry more about what others might think rather than what I need. At these times, my son will ask, “What’s most important to you?” or “What do you really want?” His questions force me to think about the problem in a different way and many times change my decision.
- Friends can keep you from making mistakes or rushing into situations. A few years ago, my adult son was offended by something that occurred at work. Thankfully, he sent me the draft of an email he was planning to send his boss in response to the situation. I encouraged him to give it some time, and additional thought, before responding. By that evening, he decided that his first email was a bit “harsh” and decided not to send it.
- Mentors bring wisdom and experience, especially if they are further along on their journey. I never knew that a “three-week” weight loss plateau was common after weight loss surgery. I was going crazy trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Only later, by attending an Unjury support group, did I discover that many weight loss surgery patients experience the same stall.
- Friends build your courage and confidence. I am petrified of heights and often encounter intimidating “cliffs” when I’m out hiking. It is so nice to have my son there to offer his hand for stability, even if I don’t take it. Just having someone by your side helps you overcome hurdles.
- Friends hold you accountable. It is easy to make excuses for not doing (or doing) things. When I decided to give up potato chips a few years ago, I was too weak to do it on my own. So, I got an accountability partner, and I reported what I ate to them each day. I did that for months until I had built the new habit of “no chips.” And I haven’t had a chip in over four years.
When we include people in our goals, they help us to work harder and be better. It feels like a team effort, and we achieve more with them by our side. I’m so grateful for my friends and family as they bring comfort, counsel, and fulfillment to my life. What more can you ask for? Do you have someone that you rely on, who builds you up when you are down, or offers wise counsel? Maybe thank them today for the important role that they play in your life.
If you want a new friend, go to the Unjury Cares Facebook page and connect with some fellow weight loss surgery warriors. It’s where I met my best friend!