Bariatric Support Groups: How They Help You Achieve Your Post-Op Goals

Embarking on a bariatric weight loss journey can be a daunting task, but you don't have to go it alone. One option that can provide you with the guidance, support, and motivation you need to achieve your weight loss goals is joining a bariatric support group. In this article, we'll delve into what bariatric support groups are, how they operate, and the incredible benefits they offer to those on the journey to weight loss success in a post-surgery life. We'll also explore the different types of bariatric support groups available and provide tips for making the most of your support group experience.


What Are Bariatric Support Groups?

Bariatric support groups are typically made up of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery or are considering it. These groups come in different forms such as in-person meetings, online forums, or social media groups. The main aim of these groups is to offer the much-needed support, guidance, and education to help bariatric patients stay on track and understand what others are experiencing. In addition to being a valuable resource for emotional support, these groups can also serve as a platform for sharing practical advice, discussing common post-surgery challenges, and celebrating milestones together.

Bariatric Support Groups After Gastric Bypass Surgery

How Do Bariatric Support Groups Work?

Bariatric support groups work by bringing together bariatric patients who share a common goal: to lose weight and improve their health. Meetings or online discussions are often facilitated by a group leader, who may be a healthcare professional, a bariatric surgery veteran, or an experienced support group member. During meetings, members are encouraged to share their experiences, challenges, successes, and goals related to weight loss in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. The primary goal of a support group is to provide support and advice for other members while fostering a sense of community and belonging.


Benefits of Joining a Bariatric Support Group

There are so many benefits to joining a support group in your post-op life, including:

  • Emotional support - Losing weight can be an emotional journey, and it's important to have a support system in place to help you through it. Bariatric support groups provide emotional support by connecting you with others who are going through similar experiences. Members can offer a listening ear, words of encouragement, and a sense of camaraderie that can be difficult to find elsewhere.
  • Motivation - Bariatric support groups can provide motivation by celebrating your successes and holding you accountable when you're struggling. Seeing the progress of others in the group can also be motivating, as it can show you what's possible with hard work, perseverance, and dedication.
  • Education - These groups can provide education about bariatric surgery, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Members can share their own experiences and knowledge, while guest speakers such as nutritionists, psychologists, or fitness experts can be invited to share their expertise.
  • Accountability - Joining a support group can provide accountability, as you'll have others in the group to answer to. This can be particularly helpful if you're struggling to stick to your weight loss goals, experiencing setbacks, or facing challenges in maintaining new lifestyle habits.
  • Resources - These groups can provide access to resources, such as books, websites, and other materials that can help you.


How to Find a Bariatric Support Group

  • Ask your surgeon or anyone on your medical team - Your bariatric surgeon or medical team may be able to recommend a support group in your area or provide information about online support groups that can connect you with other bariatric patients. They have experience with helping patients through the post-surgery journey and may have valuable insights into the types of support groups that are most helpful.
  • Check online - There are many online bariatric support groups and forums available, such as ObesityHelp, American Bariatrics, and Bariatric Surgery Source. These groups can provide a wealth of information, resources, and support. These online groups can be particularly helpful for those who live in rural areas or who are unable to attend in-person meetings or anyone that has any social issues with being in a group setting.
  • Social media - Many bariatric support groups have a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. You can search for groups with a specific focus (such as groups for women or groups focused on a specific type of bariatric surgery).
  • Attend local events - Local bariatric support groups may host events such as support group meetings, seminars, or workshops. Attending these events can be a great way to meet others who are going through a similar experience and learn more about bariatric surgery and weight loss. In-person events can offer the benefit of face-to-face interactions, which can be more personal and meaningful than online interactions.


Tips for Making the Most of a Bariatric Support Group


Attend meetings regularly

Regular attendance is key to building relationships with other members and to getting the most out of the group. By attending regularly, you will get to know other members better and establish a sense of community and accountability.


Participate in group discussions

Don't be afraid to share your experiences and offer advice and support to others in the group. Remember, everyone is there to help each other. Sharing your successes and struggles can be incredibly helpful for both yourself and others in the group.


Be open-minded and willing to learn

Bariatric support groups can be a great place to learn new things and to hear different perspectives. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. You may learn new strategies for managing your weight or coping with the emotional aspects of weight loss.


Stay positive and focused

Remember that weight loss is a journey, and setbacks are a normal part of the process. Try to stay positive and focused on your goals, even when you experience challenges. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and use them as motivation to keep moving forward.


Ask for help when you need it

If you're struggling or need extra support, don't hesitate to ask for help. That's what the group is there for. Whether you need a listening ear or specific advice, reaching out to other members can be incredibly helpful in staying motivated and on track.


Building Positive Relationships

You may experience changes in friendships, but it's important to remember that you took this journey for yourself, and the people who truly care about you will remain in your life. Focus on building positive relationships with individuals who share your healthy lifestyle goals and always remember your worth. Read here for more on building positive friendships after bariatric surgery


Create Your Post-Bariatric Surgery Support System

Bariatric surgery is a major life change that can be overwhelming to navigate on your own. That's why building a solid support system is an absolute must. Having a group of people who are there to cheer you on, offer a helping hand, and provide a listening ear can make all the difference. They can help ease the emotional and physical burdens that come with the procedure and make your journey towards a healthier you a whole lot smoother. So, don't be afraid to reach out and start building your support system today!



Conclusion


Finding and making the most of a bariatric support group can be a powerful tool for weight loss success. By connecting with others who are on the same journey, you can find emotional support, motivation, education, accountability, and access to resources that can make a real difference in your health and well-being. By attending meetings regularly, participating in discussions, staying open-minded, focusing on your goals, and asking for help when needed, you can get the most out of your experience and achieve lasting weight loss success. Remember that bariatric support groups are a safe and judgment-free space.

 

If you're looking for an Online Bariatric Support Group, we recommend checking out the American Bariatric Support Group Forum. It's completely free and has plenty of great information to browse through!

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