Most Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) patients know they need to change their lifestyle habits (diet and exercise) to lose weight and keep it off. What many may not know is that diet and exercise are not enough – what is missing? Your bariatric surgery support group! Research shows that regular attendance of a bariatric surgery support groups is vital to your success both short and long term.
Why Bariatric Surgery Support Groups Are So Important
Bariatric surgery support groups are a place where all patients (post ops, pre ops or prospective patients) can learn more about what to expect after surgery from people who have actually had the surgery.
Most support groups have a topic planned for each meeting to help educate patients and allow patients to share their experiences to help others. Some topics we have had at our support group meetings are: emotional eating, food addiction, fitting in fitness, addiction transfer and non-scale victories to name a few.
Getting Back on Track
Some WLS patients have gotten off track, fallen back on old habits and may be experiencing weight regain. Returning to your bariatric support group for guidance and to reconnect with other patients and your bariatric surgery team is a good place to start to lose that regained weight. You will find you are often not alone in your struggle and many can offer support and advice.
Long Term “Veterans”
Many WLS patients who have had surgery 3 or more years ago find it important to stay connected to other WLS patients and their bariatric surgery team to stay on track. Staying involved with their WLS support group not only helps them, but helps newer post ops and pre op patients get advice and support from someone who has been in their shoes.
Making New Connections
Even though you may have a supportive family and friends, it is not the same as having friends who are also WLS patients. Many WLS patients meet and make new friends through their bariatric surgery support group.
Bariatric surgery support groups are a place where WLS patients can feel “safe” sharing their feelings, thoughts, triumphs and challenges with other patients. Friends or family outside of the bariatric community may not fully understand what you are going through.
People who regularly attend a bariatric support group may lose more weight than their peers who do not. In addition, WLS patients who attend a support group may have a better chance of maintaining their new healthy weight.
For all the above reasons, attending a WLS support group provides the support, education, comradery and a safe place to discuss your weight loss journey. At our office we provide monthly support group meetings, usually the second Wednesday of the month from 6-7 pm. Check our website primesurgicare.com or call the office at 732-761-1740 for dates, time and location.
Dietitian’s Corner is a monthly column for post-op and pre-op patients of bariatric surgery in NJ written by Prime Surgicare’s Lori Skurbe. Lori has been a dietitian for over 20 years with an extensive background in weight management, bariatric nutrition and diabetes education.