Do I Really Need Support Groups?
Support groups are one of the very best tools in a bariatric patient’s arsenal. It is important to remember that the weight you want to lose did not come on overnight. It likely took years, decades or even a lifetime. As a result, losing the weight requires time as well. Bariatric surgery itself is not the silver bullet to weight loss. It is simply a tool that allows you to change your lifestyle and implement new, healthy habits that are sustainable for rest of your life.
We all know from countless diets, that changing our lifestyle including diet and exercise habits is pretty straightforward in the first month or two. However, as life gets in the way and our motivation starts to diminish, we often find ourselves tripping up and quitting. This frustration then leads us back to weight gain.
If you go at it alone after bariatric surgery, you risk the same outcome. Yes, bariatric surgery creates anatomical changes that make it much easier to keep the weight off, however most patients require the support of people around them to succeed over the long-term.
Creating a Support System
Creating your support group begins before bariatric surgery and includes:
- Getting a commitment from family and friends to support you as you navigate the hurdles of postoperative life
- Choosing a bariatric surgeon that has a robust follow-up and support plan in place to help you through the ups and downs
- Talking to bariatric patients who can shed some light on life after surgery and
- Getting all the information you can about what to expect including realistic goals for weight loss and the time it takes to lose the weight
If these elements are in place before surgery, the postsurgical process will be much easier.
After surgery, Dr. Henke makes it a point to be there for your needs, questions and concerns. Patients are always welcome to call our office or come in for a follow up. Indeed, we have a structured follow-up protocol to track your progress regularly through the first two years after surgery…and beyond. We also hold weekly support group meetings online where patients in all phases of post bariatric life can join and chat with Dr. Henke and other bariatric patients.
While it might seem trivial, there are very few postoperative lifestyle activities that pack as big a punch as fully developing your support system. If you have any concerns about the level of support you expect around you or who you can rely on after surgery, we suggest you speak to Dr. Henke about these issues during your consultation