Most well-established bariatric programs come equipped with a Bariatric Support Group. Depending on the program, most of these groups meet monthly and serve as a forum for patients to build connections with one another and to learn from their peers. During December’s Holiday Support Group for the MUSC Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program, we asked attendees why they valued support group in order to provide us, as a program, with more insight regarding what patients want and need out of group. This is what we learned:
- Solidarity – No one wants to feel alone, and after having bariatric surgery, it’s often easy to feel this way. However, support group helps to minimize these feelings because you are able to surround yourself with those who are (or have been) in your shoes.
- Validation – In the weeks following weight loss surgery, a common question is “Am I doing the right thing?” Support group provides a forum where people can express this fear and build their confidence based on the support of fellow patients.
- Learning – Support groups not only provide social and emotional support, but they also provide the opportunity to learn. Whether learning from guest speakers or simply learning from other’s experiences, support groups help to reinforce key principles for long-term success.
- Accountability – Whether trying to actively lose weight or simply maintain your success, support groups provide a monthly outlet to help you remain accountable to yourself.
- Motivation – After having weight loss surgery, it is easy to feel alone and misunderstood in the “real world”. This is why it is incredibly important to surround yourself with people who understand your decision to have bariatric surgery, and with those who know what it is like when undergoing physical and emotional changes as well as experiencing relationship changes.
- Celebration – Support group is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your success with others who can share in your excitement!
About the Author
Amanda Peterson, RDN, LD | Molly Jones, RDN, LD
Amanda and Molly are the MUSC Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program Registered Dietitians. With 15+ years of experience combined, they facilitate behavior change through nutrition counseling for weight loss and maintenance with children through adults.