benefits of joining a support group

Benefits of Joining a Support Group

Losing weight is challenging and so is committing to the lifestyle changes associated with having bariatric surgery. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through these challenges alone. When you join a support group, you’ll benefit from getting to know others who are facing challenges much like yours.

For instance, if you’re preparing for surgery, your group might help you with any anxiety you might be feeling by sharing their positive experiences and how they coped with anxiety. It’s comforting to hear that others share your feelings and that they have had success coping with a similar struggle. Post-op, you might share your goals with your group and hear how others have stayed motivated even when weight loss slows, or they are faced with temptation.

You will not just hear others experiences but share your own, as well. Sharing your own experiences benefits you as well as those around you.  Helping others feels good and you may find that serving as a role model to those at an earlier point in their weight loss journey keeps your commitment strong. Many support group participants treat each other as accountability partners, relying on each other to remain focused on their weight loss goals.  Sometimes knowing that others are taking an interest in your success and working as hard as you are towards the same goals helps everyone succeed.

Advantages of Being a Part of a Support Group

Much of the value of support groups comes from surrounding yourself with people who have been through your situation. In the case of a bariatric support group, you’ll be around individuals who have had the same weight loss surgery and are working on similar weight loss goals.

When you participate in a support group, you might enjoy:

  • Decreased feelings of isolation or loneliness.
  • Opportunities to share your feelings with others who truly understand your situation.
  • Increased confidence and optimism as you gain a sense of empowerment.
  • Clearer expectations regarding your weight loss goals and plans.
  • Improved coping skills and tools for success.
  • New resources, such as contacts, doctors, and friends you can reach out to for support and advice.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety.

Others in your group are in a good position to understand what you’re going through because they’ve been through the same thing. They’ve had the surgery. They’re working on losing weight. Many are seeing success in reaching their goals. By being able to associate with them in a safe and welcoming environment, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to succeed.

How Effective Are Support Groups?

While the idea of surrounding yourself with other bariatric surgery patients sounds good in theory, it’s still easy to question how effective these groups truly are. Fortunately, there are plenty of studies that illustrate the real-world benefits of support groups.

Better, More Consistent Effort

One study conducted in China measured the effects of support groups on those with type 2 diabetes. The study found that those who attended a 12-month intervention group actually exercised more than those who did not, with attendees performing about 40 minutes of additional aerobic exercise per week.

Greater Confidence

In the same study, meeting attendees also felt more confident about their ability to manage their diabetes, scoring higher on a self-efficacy questionnaire that was administered as part of the study.

Increased Weight Loss

When it comes to gastric bypass patients in particular, a study conducted in 1998 found that out of 102 patients who had received the surgery, those who attended support groups tended to lose more weight than those who did not. In addition, those who attended group meetings more frequently actually lost more weight than those who went to fewer meetings.

These studies show just how effective a support group can be for anyone working toward a healthier lifestyle.

Join Our Bariatric Facebook Support Group

If you’re currently looking for a support group, here are a few pointers to follow:

  • Ask your doctor for help finding a group.
  • Look for a support group that focuses on your specific situation.
  • Consider online options. An online group can be a great resource that you can participate in no matter where you are.

Malladi Bariatrics and Advanced Surgery has a support group designed specifically for our patients. To join, simply follow these steps:

  1. Like and Follow Malladi Bariatrics and Advanced Surgery on Facebook.
  2. Under Groups linked on the page, find the support group.
  3. Join the group and answer the questions.

Once you’ve joined—and if you’re comfortable sharing—feel free to introduce yourself to the group, tell us a bit about your journey, and ask a question to get a conversation started. You can even include pictures if you want! As you engage with others who are in your situation, you’ll start to see the benefits of a support group in your own life.

Finally, if you’re currently trying to lose weight and are considering bariatric surgery as an option, feel free to contact us at Malladi Bariatrics and Advanced Surgery. We can help you begin your journey and provide the support you need to succeed.