Weight loss support groups and bariatric surgery
A group can be defined as a number of individuals or things considered together because of similarities. All of our patients that come to our practice are struggling with obesity. The commonality amongst the patients is the challenges related to weight loss and frustration with diets and numerous attempts at weight loss. For many this has affected their mobility, health and morale.
The initial consultation is meant for patients to meet Dr. Belsley and to learn about the surgical options available and which procedure may be best choice. At the same time you will meet with the Registered Dietitian; Shara and she will introduce the Bariatric diet and explain how the diet, exercise and lifestyle changes will facilitate each individual's weight loss goals.
Obesity is a disease that shares common factors
Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. This means that people who suffer from being overweight will like share many factors in common. A simple example is Yo-Yo dieting. Practically everyone can discuss a history of losing some weight on a diet and then gaining even more back the next time. There are many other stresses, worries and issues that share a common ground and are discussed in our group sessions.
As part of the program we have incorporated a group meeting that convenes weekly; the group alternates between Spanish and English every other week. Our protocol asks that each patient attends two group meetings prior to surgery. There is no limit on how many meetings you can attend before and after the surgery so anyone is welcome to use the group setting as a support system and information center.
Group meeting attendance signifies a proactive step
Any time someone sets a goal for themselves; there are necessary steps to take in order obtain a desirable outcome. The attendance of two group meetings is the first step towards the commitment you are making to change your life. There are always going to be obstacles like scheduling work and personal responsibilities, economics, influence from family and friends, and social functions that affect your weight loss goals. Now is the time to start conquering these external factors by carving out time for group meetings and office visits that will be part of the process.
Relating with others who share similar struggles with dieting
The weekly meeting provides an opportunity to gather with other patients that are considering Bariatric surgery. We have created an environment where patients can network with one another and share personal stories or listen and learn from other people.
A safe environment for sharing
Support groups offer an opportunity to discuss common issues, stresses and successes. Patients both before and after the surgery are welcome. They are many common issues that may arise after bariatric surgery that are best to discuss in order to fine tune optimal family support.
Since everyone is there for the same reason it may be easier to relate to one another and possibly form friendships or support systems that extend beyond the group setting. Dr. Belsley invites all of his pre and post surgery bariatric patients to attend the group and share their real life experiences with people anticipating a surgery in the future.
These existing patients can guide you through some of the emotions and challenges that you may face and prepare you for the long road ahead. It can be very inspiring to hear their success stories and motivational to see their astonishing weight loss. In addition, they can give you suggestions on how they have learned to maintain portion control and practice good eating habits.
Support groups as a time to ask questions and further understand bariatric surgery
The group is also designed to be informative and acts as a question and answer session. Dr. Belsley is always present and can answer any technical questions about the various procedures. The conference room has anatomical models so that patients can visualize the procedures and learn more about their options.
This would be a good time to address any questions or clarify information that you may have read on the internet or heard in the media. Since many patients become pre-occupied with appointments, insurance concerns and preparing for the surgery they may still have questions about their hospital stay after surgery, dietary guidelines and recommendations related to vitamins, protein supplements and exercise.
Education and positive lifestyle change
Often the group will discuss specific topics and Shara will pass out educational materials, articles or recipes that help patients to start making positive lifestyle changes at home. The feedback from the patients that have attended the groups in the past is extremely valuable and will allow us to focus on topics that need attention and interest the participants.
If you feel that you need help with understanding food labels, choosing appropriate products and incorporating the right kind of exercise please feel free to come to group with specific questions. We look forward to seeing you every Wednesday and hope that you find these meetings to be a positive experience.