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Support Groups for Bariatric Surgery- Get Help, Stay Motivated, and Make Connections

By Kim Slater, RN, BSN September 07, 2021 Posted in: Weight Management

Bariatric support groups bring people together who are going through similar experiences. They provide patients the opportunity to discuss their concerns or issues and to share personal experiences, feelings, coping strategies and firsthand information about their weight loss journey. Meeting with others who have undergone weight loss surgery and who share their experiences may help you realize you are not alone in your circumstances. When you join a support group, you may feel nervous or reluctant to share personal information with people you don’t know. You may benefit by simply listening the first time. Try it out for a few weeks. Contributing your experiences and ideas may help you get more out of this support group than you thought.

How Does a Support Group Work?

The structure of our bariatric support group:

  • Face-to-face meetings, (prior to Covid 19) and teleconferences via virtual Zoom meetings
  • Meet bimonthly on the first Thursday and third Tuesday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Facilitated by the members of our multidisciplinary bariatric professionals to answer questions, address concerns, and offer additional resources
  • Provides educational opportunities with PowerPoint presentations, guest speakers such as bariatric surgeon, plastic surgeon, psychologist, physical therapist, etc., to talk about topics related to the bariatric surgery patient needs

What will you learn during our meetings?

  • The first 30 minutes is an educational presentation
  • The last 30 minutes includes sharing similar feelings, worries, everyday problems, treatment decisions, treatment side effects, and Q&A
  • Fellow bariatric patients will discuss different experiences that can occur after weight loss surgery
  • The latest in post-surgical diets and exercise plans
  • The emotional issues involved with bariatric surgery, including how surgical obesity treatment can impact your relationship with your friends, family, and coworkers
  • Stress management strategies, coping skills, and ways to deal with situations such as holiday meals and eating in restaurants
  • Skills to cope with challenges, how to stay motivated and gain a sense of empowerment to stick with your long-term weight loss goals

Benefits of Support Groups Can Help You Succeed

We often hear our patients comment that they developed friendships and received encouragement and motivation from our support group that was an invaluable part of their weight loss journey.

Participating can help overcome feelings of loneliness and of being judged, as well as reduce distress, anxiety, and depression.

We encourage our participants to share their success stories, and we are here to help work through your concerns and challenges. Our bariatric support group is a free service that is open to men and women of all ages and cultural backgrounds. To join simply call Weight Management at CHI Health Immanuel at (402) 572-3684.

Remember: Ongoing post-surgical support helps produce the greatest level of success for our patients, and provides encouragement to maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Best outcomes are seen when patients attend bariatric support group regularly. This long-term success after bariatric surgery really does depend on patient’s ability to overcome challenges and hurdles.

Learn more about the Weight Management department at CHI Health.

Kim Slater, RN, BSN
Kim Slater, RN, BSN

Kim Slater, RN, BSN is the Supervisor of the Bariatric Surgery Program at CHI Health Immanuel.

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