Online Weight Loss Surgery Support: Overview & Reviews
Online weight loss support will drastically improve your chances of reaching and maintaining your weight loss goals, but only if you choose to work with the best websites. We have reviewed them all and have good news… most of the best options are free!
How Online Support Helps: More Weigth Loss, When and Where It’s Convenient For You, Most Up-To-Date Research
Online weight loss surgery support helps patients in four significant ways:
- More Weight Loss. Regular support group participation has been found to result in 12% more weight loss on average. Online tools also help you easily and efficiently set goals, track your post-surgery progress, create and follow bariatric diet and weight loss surgery exercise plans and keep a journal of your feelings, challenges and accomplishments. These tools will make your weight-loss journey much more goal-oriented and will provide invaluable information when working with your dietitian, psychologist and other bariatric professionals. We’ll review top tools further down this page.
- Help When You Need It. Receive advice and encouragement right when you need it without having to wait until your next in-person weight loss surgery support group meeting.
- Ultimate Convenience. Online weight loss surgery support groups provide a way to interact with bariatric professionals and other patients without needing to commute to/from the meetings or adhere to your clinic’s limited class times.
- Easy regular access to the most up-to-date bariatric research. Regardless of how knowledgeable your bariatric doctors are, it would be impossible for them to keep up with the ongoing research related to all areas of weight loss surgery. Utilizing the right tools for ongoing education will keep you at the forefront of “what works” and provide you with important questions and discussion points for future meetings with your bariatric professionals.
There are three main categories of online weight loss support. This section will help you determine which is right for you and give you links to great options in each category…
Each of these is extremely valuable, and we highly recommend using at least one website in each category on a regular basis.
We have signed up and reviewed all of the resources referenced below, and each is very user-friendly. To keep things manageable, learn to use one before moving on to the next…
As mentioned above, regular support group attendance has been shown to result in 12% more weight loss.The impact of the regular advice and encouragement you’ll receive from real people – bariatric professionals and other patients – is irreplaceable, especially if you are unable to attend your in-person support group meetings due to time constraints, cost or any other issue.
Online forums and chat rooms are another helpful option for interacting with other patients. They allow you to ask questions, post responses and browse information posted by other members.
Some forums and chat rooms are more elaborate than others, but in general they are organized in the following way (use the scroll bar to the right):
- They operate 24/7. With the larger forums, you can usually find members logged on around the clock from locations across the country and around the world. This means that you can receive/provide advice and encouragement when and where you need it (as long as you have a computer and internet access).
- You can usually create an account and participate for free by signing up via the forum’s home page (we’ve provided links in the next section)
- Search for questions/answers from others.
- Browse categories of Forum Topics to find your area of interest. (i.e. “Gastric Bypass”) If there is no topic available for your issue, you can create a new one via the “New Topic” button on the main forum page. Within each category, find and click the Forum Topic link that applies to your area of interest (i.e. “Gastric Bypass Diet”). Each forum topic usually lists at least two useful numbers, including…
- Threads – the number of questions/issues posted within the forum topic. Each time you ask a brand new question, you will do so by creating a new thread.
- Posts – the number of total contributions from members within each forum topic, including questions/comments posted as a new thread and all responses to those threads from other members. In other words, every time a member submits information to a forum topic, a new post is created. (Sometimes “Replies” is used instead of “Posts”, which simply lists the number of responses a topic or thread has received)
- Chat rooms, which are not offered by all forums, allow you to have a written conversation with other members in real time. Chat rooms only work if the person you are “chatting with” with is also online.
Advice from Forums & Chat Rooms
Be careful when receiving advice from other patients in an unmoderated setting. While other patients usually have the best of intentions, you should not rely on their feedback as medical advice.
Before acting on any information you receive online, confirm its validity with your bariatric doctors.
Forums and chat rooms are easy to use after you get the hang of things, so head over to the following page for a list of the top forums and give one a shot:
2. Diary and food journals, diet planning/tracking and exercise planning/tracking online weight loss support tool overview
Bariatric Surgery Smartphone AppsBarimate is a weight management iPhone App written specifically for current and prospective bariatric surgery patients. It includes nine sub-apps to help you make informed choices about surgery and keep track of your weight changes and parameters like BMI and %EWL.
Online tools, diaries and food journals are an invaluable resource for several reasons and we strongly recommend that you use one:
- You will be more likely to achieve and maintain your weight loss goals. For example, a recent study showed that patients who self-monitor their progress are less likely to regain any weight following bariatric surgery (1).
- Many of the best online tools are absolutely free to use (including our picks referenced below).
- Save all of your information for future reference and automated tracking.
- Best method for accumulating detailed information about your daily activities, diet issues, exercise routine and even your daily mood and feelings. Not only is this information important for keeping you on track to reach and maintain your goals, but giving your bariatric doctors access can help them identify and correct any problem areas.
See our Reviews of the Top Free Diet Journal & Exercise Journal Options page to evaluate the differences and choose between two of the best tools.
Bariatric surgery is constantly evolving. New research is conducted every month that reshapes the weight loss surgery community’s understanding of best practices.
In addition to the procedures themselves, ongoing research focuses on every area of the bariatric patient’s life… from preparing for surgery to post-surgery diet and exercise to long-term maintenance.
Unfortunately, even the best bariatric doctors simply don’t have the time to stay up-to-the-minute on the latest research. Even after they are made aware of it via their required continuing education, it may be years before they have the time and resources to train their staff and update their systems.
Staying in touch with the latest research will allow you to:
- Have the information necessary to improve your chances of achieving and maintaining your long-term goals.
- Ask the right questions to your surgeon, dietitian, psychologist, personal trainer and other bariatric professionals to help guide your treatment.
- Share important information with your in-person bariatric surgery support group.
Bariatric Surgery Source has you covered in the education department. In addition to browsing the topics down the left hand side and at the bottom of each of our pages and using our search boxes (at the top left and bottom of every page) to find answers when you need them, consider signing up for the following (both FREE):
- The Bariatric Examiner FREE monthly newsletter:
- Tracks all ongoing bariatric-surgery-related research and summarize important findings
- Keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends
- Brings useful new Bariatric Surgery Source website content and features to your attention
Subscribe via the following form and we’ll be sure to include you in the emailing of the upcoming issue…
- The FREE Bariatric Surgery Blog – set up as an RSS feed, the Bariatric Surgery Blog will save you time by letting you know when new content is posted to our site. Click below for more info and to sign up…
References for Online Weight Loss Support
- Odom J, et al. Behavioral Predictors of Weight Regain after Bariatric Surgery
Obesity Surgery. June 2009. DOI 10.1007/s11695-009-9895-6
[ Last editorial review/modification of this page : 11/23/2016]