Tips for Active Participation in Bariatric Support Groups
Bariatric patient support groups are the perfect place for bariatric surgery patients to share stories, get encouragement, and gain helpful knowledge about the surgery and recovery process. All bariatric patients can benefit from support groups, but they are especially helpful for those seeking bariatric surgery post-op support. Patients can find guidance on all aspects of recovery, like regulating their vitamin intake and exercising safely.
There are many different types of bariatric support groups available to patients, including ones for specific surgeries or for pre-operative patients. In most cases, both formal and informal groups are available in-person and online. Studies show that those who actively participate in their support groups are more successful in losing weight than those who don’t attend or don’t participate in their groups. Active participation in your support group can help you remain, or re-engage, with your weight-loss journey.
There are several ways to keep yourself actively engaged during your support group meetings—from simply attending meetings to sharing your personal struggles and triumphs.
Introduce Yourself to Your Bariatric Support Group
A warm introduction sets the stage for positive exchanges and healthy discussion. If you have helpful insight on the group’s current topic, don’t be afraid to briefly address your thoughts in your introduction.
Commit to Regular Attendance
Attending every support group meeting keeps you engaged with the group’s discussions and ensures you don’t miss useful information. It’s normal to feel anxious ahead of a support group meeting, but remember that every member of the group is there for the same reason—working together is the best way to achieve your goals.
Be an Active Listener
Stay engaged and listen to fellow group members share their stories and concerns. Show others you’re vested by demonstrating active listening cues, such as :
- Maintaining inviting body language
- Refraining from fidgeting in your seat
- Making eye contact with whoever is speaking
- Encouraging the speaker with subtle affirmations or nodding
Provide Your Full Attention
Taking full advantage of your support group’s benefits requires you be fully present at meetings. Arrive on time, and silence your phone to more easily focus on the group’s conversation.
Engage In Active Participation
Prepare for your session by writing down thoughts or questions before the meeting, so you can add structure to your time with the group and keep yourself interested in the conversation.
Some Patients experience a weight plateau or weight regain after bariatric surgery. If you’re struggling with motivation after regaining weight, support groups can keep your weight-loss journey on track. Make sure to support and encourage other members of the group who are experiencing the same problem.
Be Aware of Triggers
Be vigilant with your mental health. It’s normal and healthy to take a break or seek out another support group if the conversation begins triggering negative thoughts. Remember, this group exists to help you.
Share Personal Updates
Support groups are meant to be confidential, but feel free to share personal updates if you are comfortable doing so. Showing vulnerability may help establish a sense of solidarity and partnership among the group, which can lead to positive experiences and weight-loss breakthroughs.
Leave Medical Advice to Your Bariatric Team
Tri State Bariatrics offers several support groups led by our team of caring and compassionate healthcare professionals. Our groups are a non-judgmental, safe space for patients to share experiences or ask questions.
If you’re considering bariatric surgery or are interested in learning more about our bariatric support groups, schedule an appointment with us to begin your journey.