How Can Bariatric Support Groups and Bariatric Forums Help You?
When deciding to take a huge step, such as going for weight loss surgery, you’ll need all the help and support you can get.
It can be beneficial to get support through people who have been through bariatric surgery or those who play a role in your weight loss success, such as the surgeons and dietitians in weight loss surgery clinics.
This will help you to understand the different types of bariatric surgery, the benefits of the surgery, and which surgery will suit you best. Moreover, through various bariatric forums, you’ll be connected with people who have had weight loss surgery and people who are thinking about having it.
Some of these groups can be incredibly thorough and diligent about the information they are dishing out. For instance, you’ll find that a bariatric chat room might have specific dates for particular sub-topics so that you can learn about every aspect in detail. It can also offer visuals, presentations, or even talks from professionals and present bariatric patients.
All of that will help you understand the dynamics of bariatric surgery. These bariatric surgery support groups help you during the three stages of surgery, and we’ll discuss in detail how they do that.
You need to know more about the happenings of the surgery itself and what to expect afterward in general terms. You can reach out to other patients and surgeons through different bariatric forums or even bariatric surgery apps that offer support groups or patient journals within them.
These outlets can provide information about the barriers you may face. Plus, you can speak to more than just one patient and more than one surgeon. This way you get a much bigger picture and understanding of bariatric surgery. You’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not you qualify for it.
As for the post-operative phase, a support system is going to be your number one motivator.
For those who have struggled with body image, any change will be exceptionally noticeable. Having others recognize your effort and applaud you for it can make a world of difference in your progress mentally and physically. Celebrate your achievements and milestones, even if they are little.
In the months after bariatric surgery, the body will experience some weight stalls. This is a defense mechanism in order to prevent you from using up all of your fat stores.
Some barriers, such as a weight stall, can lead to extreme levels of frustration and anger. Your weight loss success will rely on how you motivate yourself to push through those barriers.
There are some changes that you need to adapt to after surgery, and those include boosting your water and protein intake in order to prevent muscle degeneration as your caloric intake decreases. Last but not least, you will have to rely on multivitamins for life to supply the body with the nutrients it needs to survive.
Support groups can provide a reminder and encouragement to keep up with these life changes.
In the Long Run
Typically after a year, most bariatric patients manage to reach their goal weight. As a matter of fact, during the first six months after bariatric surgery, some people manage to lose half of their body weight.
However, after reaching your goal weight, it’s easy to revert back to old habits such as low water intake, prioritizing carbohydrates over proteins, and skipping constant exercise. These habits can lead to weight regain.
Additionally, low water and protein intake will lead to dehydration and muscle deterioration. In the long run, following a support group for bariatric surgery patients will help remind you of why you chose surgery in the first place, how hard it was, and everything you went through to reach your optimal weight.
Abiding by a healthier lifestyle doesn't have to be hard. As long as you put a focus on protein and water intake first, you will still be able to eat some of the foods you like. With a balanced diet, you can still have carbohydrates and healthy fats, such as fruits, vegetables, olive oils and whole grains. Moderation and portion control will be your new best friend.
Having the support and encouragement of individuals from any bariatric support group that you trust will help you stay on the right path.
Different Bariatric Support Groups
We already know that there are several types of bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, which are the most common types. If you already have knowledge on the surgery itself, you can still be involved in groups for support and encouragement.
Attending gastric bypass support groups or gastric sleeve support groups can keep you focused on what you want.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 put an end to most in-person meetings. However, we have opened the door to the virtual world of support groups and telehealth. You can now find interactive bariatric surgery support groups online.
As we’ve discussed before, they can split into specific groups for each surgery. So, you can find gastric sleeve support groups online and gastric bypass support groups online.
In the end, the qualifications for bariatric surgery will remain the same; a BMI above 35 with or without obesity-related comorbidities. Nonetheless, some people can manage to shed the weight without surgery, while others may require bariatric surgery. Both options require support and encouragement throughout the journey. The support can come from family, friends, healthcare providers and individuals who have been also been through bariatric surgery.
Utilize the resources available to you. Don't let excuses and barriers get in your way of success.
**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.