Weight Loss Surgery Support Groups Offer Practical Help

Weight loss surgery support groups can bring practical help and balance to a patient’s life. After all, bariatric surgery isn’t brain surgery — it doesn’t change the way you think. Support group leader Stevie Blair explains in this video feature.

For many weight loss surgery patients, the immediate period after their operation can be the hardest. Patients may not have expected to encounter struggles post-op, but it’s what they experience. Cravings and depression often follow weight loss surgery, and this can be hardest during the first three months. This is “the window of misery,” according to bariatric support group coordinator Stevie Blair, a gastric bypass surgery patient who later started her own group.

“You are so geared to getting to that surgery date, nothing else matters,” Blair says. “After that, you start to think, ‘What have I done?’ You may even have had a little buyer’s remorse: ‘I should be feeling better – this is what I really wanted, yet I feel miserable at the same time.’”

The solution for such people, she said, is to link with a support group designed for post-operative weight loss surgery patients. Actually, any such group, connected to weight loss surgery in any way, can be helpful. What’s most important, contends Blair, is the content of the gatherings.

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Blair notes that weight loss surgery support groups not only offer patients a chance to share their testimonies, but also provide a forum for input from visiting psychologists, physical trainers and chefs. The group she leads has even taken field trips to grocery stores, gaining practical knowledge on daily activities that help participants in their new lifestyle. Attendees can gain new friends, or, at least, learn how to not regain weight.

Surgeons understand the body. But a support group understands the mind, which is just as critical.

“It is extremely important that you connect with a group,” Blair says. “You need to get hands-on experience and hear from other people. What are they experiencing? These things, a physician and surgeon cannot tell you. They did not go through the surgery themselves. You need to feel grounded.”

She adds, “It’s something that really is the key to your success,” even years after undergoing a bariatric procedures. “Those who are five, ten, fifteen years post-op and doing okay [should] also go to meetings. [They] need to pay it forward and help those people who are maybe struggling in their three years post-op, when the honeymoon phase is over.”

2 Responses

  1. NikkoPapi

    Paying it forward is the best way to head off bad recurring habits in post op patients. It keeps us focused on the “remember when” aspect of our “journeys”. As a RNY/GBS patient 6 years post op, I still have issues that I contend with daily and I am ever grateful for my GBS family. Every single one of them. It’s easier for a post op patient to “backslide” or develop other issues many years post op when they are disconnected from their “family”. Besides, who knows better about the “rowing and bailing” you have to do in your life than someone who is in the boat with you? They will be best suited to help keep you on track.

    Reply
  2. sharon snyder

    i am a 60 year old woman and i am 3 yrs. post op and i am starting back up the poundage by 9 lbs and is this ever depressing to me i would like to loose allof this and more.i am planning on retiring in 2years lets hope i get this back on track

    Reply

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