Support Groups Are Vital to Your WLS SuccessAugust 24, 2013
When I made the decision to have weight loss surgery I was 100% sure that it was something I wanted to do. I had no doubt. I discussed my decision with my husband and he was on board. I went down the path of seeing my primary care physician, getting a referral to the bariatric department and then was scheduled for an orientation.
When I went to orientation I remember the surgeon discussing the detailed information about the surgery itself and what life after surgery would be like. I remember seeing several people get up and walk out of the orientation. It was a lot to take in. He didn’t hold anything back and there was some scary information. As I watched those people walk out of the room I remember thinking, ‘Not me. I’m doing this.” I hung on his every word. I listened to the keys of successful weight loss surgery patients and took a mental note. One of the keys to success and something that was required to be scheduled for surgery was that you begin attending a support group. I remember him saying specifically that patients who continued to attend or participate in support groups were more successful than those who didn’t.
I immediately began attending my local support group. I listened to those who had surgery. I encouraged those who were in the process and received encouragement as well. I continued attending weekly support group meetings right up to my surgery date and then began again a week or so after surgery — I didn’t want to miss it longer than I had to! It was something I enjoyed. I met some amazing friends at the support group. Weight Loss Surgery was something that connected us. We understood each other in that aspect and it was nice to meet friends that understood what you were going through. Slowly less people started going and I felt like I wasn’t getting much out of the meetings anymore. Eventually, I stopped going. I missed it. I missed the support I received and I missed supporting others in their journey. I kept thinking back to my orientation day and hearing the surgeon say “those who actively participate in support groups are more successful than those who don’t.” I needed to find something! An avid Facebook user I looked for active Weight Loss Surgery pages and didn’t really find any that were general, geared towards all patients and active, so I decided to start my own! I created the page “Weight Loss Surgery” on Facebook and in the past 4 yrs or so it has grown to a community of over 1500.
On OUR page we have fun themed days like “Throwback Thursday” and “Selfie Sundays” where people can post pictures and celebrate their success. I love sharing pictures, quotes, recipes and articles as well as asking thought provoking questions. I love that when I need encouragement or am wondering what someone else’s experience may be I can post and get responses that help me and others!
Here are some of the reasons you should participate in a support group:
- You can learn from others how to be a successful WLS patient and tips on maintenance.
- The support from others helps motivate you and gives you the assurance that you are not alone in this journey!
- Recipes and other nutritional ideas from people who are also going through this journey.
- It’s a great place to interact with and meet new people that share a common interest with you — health and success!
I invite you to visit the Weight Loss Surgery page on Facebook, give it a “Like” and participate in the posts! I look forward to meeting you!
ABOUT THE AUTHORJessica Mowles Stockton is an 8 year post-op and has been an avid member of ObesityHelp for over 6 years. She is an advocate and a strong supporter of the weight loss surgery community and enjoys photography as one of her hobbies. She has a weight loss surgery support page on Facebook.
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