Weight loss surgery is a life-changing decision. Obtaining your goal weight, resolving to live healthier, and committing to make better choices can be extremely challenging, especially if weight loss has been a struggle for some time. Connecting with others, nurturing those relationships and building a strong support group can help lessen the day-to-day challenges your bariatric surgery may present.
Before and after your gastric sleeve procedure, you will have to make many choices that affect your health and overall future. The people you surround yourself with will make all the difference in terms of your emotional and physical well-being, your ability to stay on track and, ultimately, your weight loss failure or success. It’s important to be smart about the people you surround yourself with. Select individuals who love and want the best for you, are taking the same journey, or can be there to encourage you when you can’t self-motivate. You don’t have to travel this path alone.
When you choose to isolate yourself from a healthy support system, you will likely lose:
- Connection: You should not feel alone. At the end of 2009, 220,000 people who were morbidly obese elected to get bariatric weight loss surgery. All of them experienced a situation similar to your own. A recent study of post-bariatric patients found that 10 to 20 percent of the participants gained back some weight after their procedure. No one understands the process of bariatric surgery like someone who has already been there. You may be surprised where you can find others who have had similar experiences. They may already be close friends or family members, part of an online or local bariatric surgery support group, or even co-workers.
- Accountability: Knowing that someone is going to check up and see how you are doing can help keep you mindful. If your co-worker regularly asks you about what you ate this week, what choices you made or how often you exercised, you will probably think twice about your habits. It is important for you to seek out someone who will be honest along the way. For you, it may be as simple as asking a friend to call, email or text once a week. When you walk or exercise during the day, take along someone you trust who is not afraid to ask the hard questions.
In addition to surrounding yourself with honest and supportive allies that will help you stick to your goals, we recommend that you schedule and attend regular follow ups with your dietician and personal trainer to ensure maximum accountability. Incorporating health experts into your support group will dramatically increase your chances of weight loss success, as both of these professionals are 100 percent committed to helping you achieve your health and weight loss objectives.
A study cited by the University of Chicago Medicine found that for participants who lost weight and took part in regular support groups for one year, the weight stayed off. Those who did not attend some type of support group gained back almost half of the weight. Having others in your life to cheer you on can make a world of difference in your life.
What type of support are you surrounding yourself with?
The Motivator: This person in your circle of cheerleaders is going to keep you pumped, help you picture yourself in a happier, healthier light, and lay out the good reasons to keep moving.
The Lover: No matter what, the Lover is ready with kind words and reminders that you can always start again. If you fail at complying with your healthy diet one day, this person will remind you that it’s okay to make mistakes and to keep loving yourself. We all need the Lover when days get tough.
The Enforcer: This person is not going to let you get away with something “just this once,” no matter how much you beg or justify. If you vow to exercise three times a week, the Enforcer is going to make sure you stick to it!
The Giver: Whether it’s the gift of time or a great recipe, the Giver will be available to help meet your need and fill you back up.
The Listener: This person is going to give you undivided attention and respect. What you say to him or her is valued and important. Having a trustworthy sounding board is vital when going through an emotional and physically taxing journey.
After you opt for weight loss surgery, your journey is far from over. Though we all need some time in our lives to be alone and process our thoughts, you don’t have to go on this difficult journey by yourself. When you surround yourself with family, friends and a support system that speaks into your life and cheers you on as you go, you will find yourself equipped and ready for the days ahead. You deserve the love and kindness of those who care.
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