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What I Learned About The Bariatric Community From A Huffington Post Opportunity

Huffington Post

Last week I had the privilege of being accepted as a Huffington Post Contributor.  I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a voice for our community.

My article was about the weight-loss surgery stigma and how many people refer to it as the “easy way out.” I know, and I know that you know, that this simply is not the case.

Having this article published in the Huffington Post really moved me out of my comfort zone. I had to prepare myself for what might occur when the article was published.

  1. Maybe no one would see it.
  2. Maybe a troll would see it. (Oh, my)
  3. Maybe a troll/hater would see it, AND respond in the comments. (OH, MY!!)

I felt pretty comfortable that I wouldn’t be blind-sided by anything that might affect my delicate psyche. The article was published on Thursday, May 12, 2016.  The Huffington Post then directly posted it onto my Ladies In Weighting, Facebook and Twitter pages. I sat and watched as a flurry of positive activity started to surround the article. It wasn’t going “viral,” but it had the most impact any of my blog posts had seen.

I realized that the article was indeed resonating with our bariatric community. Since I was a member of four bariatric Facebook Groups, I thought it would be great to share my NSV (non-scale victory) with those communities.  It seemed to be a win/win. Besides being a NSV for me, I thought the group members might find the article interesting as well.

Out of the four groups, two were totally responsive and accepting. The ADMINS and their members were very supportive.

The other two group’s members were completely accepting and responsive. Their comments and likes were fantastic. But, then something surprising happened, for which I was totally unprepared. The ADMINS of the second two groups had the complete opposite reaction from their group members. Even though their members were obviously interested, the ADMINS deleted my post. One of the ADMINS completely removed me from their group. I was banished, like a foul-mouthed troll. The other group’s ADMIN threatened me with banishment because I asked why they deleted a post that was resonating with their members. So, I just kindly removed myself from that group.

I had been active in these two groups since I joined Facebook and was ready to share my bariatric journey. I wasn’t a huge poster, but I always “Liked” posts and shared photos when I met a milestone. I was completely heartbroken by their response to something that was so positive for the community and in no way a threat to them. What made it worse is that I thought we were all part of the same community. I had prepared myself for the haters from outside our community, but not for the ones inside our community.

I’m sharing this with you today because I realized that some of the groups we participate in are really just big selling platforms. They are cultivating a group so they can sell their products. From their reaction to my post, I know that their number one concern is not for their members but for their profit center. I thought they cared about their members as well. To my surprise, that was not the case.

I often wondered about some comments their ADMINS would post. They would say “just wait until the honeymoon phase is over.” I always thought that seemed a bit negative when people were enjoying their successes. It’s not like their product can save anyone who does not have the right mindset to go along with it. Everything just made much more sense after my experience with them last week.

I really feel that the bariatric community is a great big family of committed fighters. Just be careful of the people more interested in selling their products than in the best interests of their group.

You, Ladies, are my peeps; and I don’t want any of you to feel the way I did that day. What was an absolutely positive day was marred by my experience dealing with those ADMINS. I actually thought that I was a part of their community. Guess I was wrong.

Although my disappointment with them lingered, I quickly realized that our community is so much bigger than those two groups. The positive support from our true bariatric community has been overwhelming.

In the end, I have learned a valuable lesson. Our community has no barriers of groups, countries, age, race or religion. It really is amazing how our shared experience truly unites us. We are a pretty cool “group” of people! (pun intended) ; ) I think the rest of the world could learn a few things from us.

If you haven’t seen the article here is the link: Weight-Loss Surgery, Why All the Judgment?

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