Making the Most of Bariatric Surgery Support Groups
As you learn early in your weight loss surgery journey, your bariatric procedure itself is only a tool. But even with all the best tools in the toolbox, you’ll get little done if you don’t learn how to properly use them. The SAMPA post-op care team works hard to prepare you for success after bariatric surgery, but continuing to invest in yourself and taking advantage of all of the resources offered is important. Regularly attending support group offers benefits beyond what can be provided in the typical clinic setting. Following we’ll give you the top ways you can take advantage of spending time with your bariatric buddies. And take it from us – we’ve done this thousand of times over the years.
Bariatric support groups add more people to your team
In the midst of making such a major life change, you could use an extra cheerleader in your corner. Better yet, a cheerleader who is right there with you in the trenches, or who knows what you’re going through. Your support group buddies have the tips for navigating the ins and outs of the journey – they’ve been there too. Bariatric surgery comes with physical and emotional shifts and can also lead to changes in relationships and family dynamics. Establishing a group that you can rely on early in your journey can set you up should things get bumpy along the way.
With a peer support group comes a mixed bag of perspectives
Discussion allows for you to open up in new ways and learn from one another. No one’s perspective is the same, so having a group to bounce ideas or frustrations off of can help you gain new insight.
Take advantage of other’s trial and error
By participating in bariatric support group, you have the opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes and successes and skip the hardship or guess work. While everyone’s situation is unique, there are some things that ring true for most, if not all. Listen and take advantage of what others are willing to share. The experiences of others can help you prepare for what might be ahead for you, or how to move in a different direction to avoid a certain pitfall. Fellow bariatric patients can also share outside resources they have found helpful for their long-term weight loss, enthusiasm and success.
Groups create accountability
By surrounding yourself with others who know your goals and the journey you’re on, you create positive social pressure which helps to keep you on track. You learn to support each other and invest in each other’s story and ultimate success. This is not limited to our monthly support groups. Take advantage of mutual interests by creating walking groups, putting together exercise days or regular meetings in the interim.
Interact with the experts available when they lead or moderate the group sessions
The support group environment offers a unique setting where you can gain extra insight from expert speakers in various fields. Experiencing different speakers allows you to gain different perspectives or views of a specific topic. It may offer a new angle on something familiar, or introduce you to something new. While it is often in presentation form, there is always question and answer time as well as some time to ask questions privately following group discussion.
Don’t just wait until after surgery
True, support groups are mostly comprised of post-op patients, but as a pre-surgical patient, you can benefit too. First, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about surgery and immediate post-op recovery. Second, we all have things we should have done before surgery that we simply didn’t think of beforehand. What better place to learn from other people’s experiences! Don’t be afraid to attend and participate – everyone present will be enriched as a result.