It will be recommended that any person who will have or already has had weight loss surgery become involved in a bariatric support group. Such a suggestion will probably lead to the logical inquiry about what happens in such a support group.
You might be given bare bone explanations such as a bariatric support group will help you to work through the emotional and psychological issues that present before and after weight loss surgery. That's great, but what exactly are those emotional and psychological issues?
You might be told that a bariatric support group can help you to successfully address the challenges that will accompany weight loss surgery. Again, that's great, but what exactly are the challenges that will accompany weight loss surgery?
These are all good and legitimate questions that merit good and legitimate answers.
The Preoperative Benefits of a Bariatric Support Group
Once the decision about having weight loss surgery is finalized, the process of change begins. The first benefit of a bariatric support group will be the interaction and companionship that comes from a shared and common experience. Those in the group are most likely experiencing the same concerns, hopes, and feelings that you are around weight loss surgery.
Preoperative education will be about the things that will enhance post-weight loss surgery outcomes. Subject matter will include nutrition, exercise, and pre-weight loss surgery needs such as physical and psychological assessments to insure proper assignment of counselors and medical professionals.
Preoperative education also will include an introduction to behavior modification. Determinations will be made about the patient's eating habits, knowledge about nutrition, and readiness to comply with post-bariatric surgery protocol. Some determinants for readiness might be ability to maintain a weight loss journal, weight loss prior to surgery, keeping appointments, and participation in a group environment.
The Postoperative Benefits of a Bariatric Support Group
The post operative benefits of a bariatric support group include a shared learning about personal experiences and the experiences of group members at different stages in the weight loss surgery recovery process. Sharing will reduce the anxiety that accompanies change and also will help mend the emotional bruises that occasional failures produce along the way. Finally, a bariatric support group can help establish more realistic expectations about success.
Challenges After Weight Loss Surgery
Some of the challenges that will surface after weight loss surgery that a support group can help address are learning to accept responsibility for feelings and behaviors, learning to address these feelings and behaviors without a relapse into over-eating habits, learning to adjust to a change in eating habits, and accepting the labor that is required to keep the weight off after gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and other bariatric surgeries.
Provisions of a Bariatric Support Group
Bariatric support groups have useful provisions for those who engage. They are a refuge and safe environment where weight loss surgery patients can discuss those feelings and barriers that are preventing maximum success. Bariatric support groups also are places where patients can speak freely about esteem, body image, and any social issues relating to obesity, weight loss, and weight loss surgery.
Patient support also will help address chronic and poor eating habits, learning new and beneficial eating behaviors, identifying an urge to eat versus hunger, identifying triggers that spark poor eating habits, and developing coping skills.
Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland http://www.aagbi.org/sites/default/files/Obesity07.pdf - accessed 4/25/12
Bariatric Surgery Program of Ireland Army Community Hospital http://www.iach.knox.amedd.army.mil/docs/Bariatric/BariatricSupportGroupHandout.pdf - accessed 4/25/12
Hope Bariatrics http://www.hopebariatrics.com/healthcare_providers.php - accessed 4/25/12
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You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.
Published On: May 04, 2012