Dear Annie: I am quite a bit overweight. My 29-year-old daughter is concerned that I might have a heart attack and die on her. Meanwhile, she has been smoking cigarettes since she was 16 years old. She said to me, “If you have gastric bypass surgery, I will quit smoking.”
My sister says I should absolutely do it because I might be saving my daughter’s life. That is an awful burden to place on me. Of course, I would love to lose weight, but something as drastic as gastric bypass surgery is frightening to me. Am I being selfish by not wanting to have the surgery? – Need Your Help
Dear Need: Not at all. We know your daughter’s heart is in the right place and that she is worried about you. But surgeries, including gastric bypass, come with serious risks. Such surgery is a last resort for those who are morbidly obese and have been unable to lose weight any other way. Have you tried programs like Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous? Have you seen a nutritionist about eating in a more healthful way? Have you attempted an exercise program or checked at your local gym for a personal trainer? These are all steps you should take to get your weight into a healthy range.
So here’s a better bargain: Tell your daughter that you will get into a diet and exercise program while she works on giving up cigarettes. Someday, she may have a 29-year-old daughter who worries that her mother will die from smoking. We wish you both the best.
Annie’s Snippet for Earth Day (credit John Muir): When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.