The Importance of Weight Loss Support Groups Before and After Bariatric Surgery
By Jessica Basso, RN, BSN
Every patient’s weight loss journey is different and unique. Weight loss support groups provide a place where patients can find help and assist each other throughout the journey, both pre- and post-operatively. Patient support can be from family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and other WLS patients.
Studies have found that patient support increases the chances of long-term success for losing and maintaining weight. This is because:
- Patients can obtain validation
- Learn new techniques to approaching weight loss
- Stay motivated
- Celebrate the various accomplishments achieved
- Help each other overcome the many obstacles that may develop throughout the journey.
More so, you will receive insight, perspective and real-world experiences from those who have personally gone through the process and are now able to share their perspective.
Attend a weight loss surgery support group if you don’t have family support
As a weight-loss surgery patient, it’s possible to sometimes feel alone and misunderstood. Therefore, it’s important to create a circle of people who understand the decision to have bariatric surgery. Doing so will enable you to better understand the challenges of dealing with the many physical, emotional, and relationship changes that you will experience throughout the weight loss journey. More so, you will receive understanding, compassion and encouragement.
What type of weight loss support group is good for you?
With technology readily available, you can attend groups online or in person. But whichever group you choose, it should be designed to:
- Provide a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that supports long-term weight loss success
Some support groups can provide a more structured agenda featuring topic presentations and discussions. Other groups can include more participatory activities designed to:
- Reinforce key principles of success
- Help patients learn concepts
- Teach how to adjust to lifestyle changes
Many groups often invite guest speakers like dietitians, psychologists and/or fitness instructors. Other guests provide presentations on topics like grooming, dating, or cooking.
Share your own success at a weight loss support group
The success you achieve after weight loss surgery is something to be proud. You can, and should, share this success and celebrate it at groups. You may not even realize that you are helping someone else by simply sharing your own experiences. In actual fact, your experience could offer hope and encouragement that will allow other patients achieve their own goals. More so, when you share HOW you achieved success, other patients will receive a practical framework that they can model.
Tristate Bariatrics provides numerous support groups throughout our offices and hospitals, both for pre-& post-op patients. The groups are designed to help you give and receive support. We highly encourage you to attend, to hear and see the different aspects, obstacles, and accomplishments that are involved with weight loss surgery.