Weight loss surgery support groups are not “one size fits all.” You’ll need to apply your own preferences to find the one that’s right for you.
In addition to the “must-haves” listed in the previous section , consider the following…
The bigger the group, the less time each participant will have to discuss their issues and the more anonymous each will be. The smaller the group, the more attention and direct feedback you will receive.
Some groups have attendees at all stages of their new life while others focus on specific areas such as diet or nutrition or specific timeframes like ‘ more than 6 months after surgery.’ Groups with a broader focus can be good from an educational perspective, but once you learn the ropes you may find that a focused group is more beneficial.
- Do you feel welcomed and comfortable?
The weight loss surgery support group you choose should feel like a warm and inviting place where you can share your troubles and offer advice freely and openly. If the group has most of the above points covered but “just doesn’t feel right,” move on.
Now you know what to look for in a weight loss surgery support group, but how do you actually find them?
Talk with your bariatric surgery team. There is a good chance that your surgeon’s office…
- Coordinates their own groups,
- Works with a hospital that coordinates group meetings or
- Can refer you to one or more unaffiliated bariatric surgery support groups
If you have given your surgeon’s groups a shot and feel that they are not a good fit, try calling other hospitals and other weight loss surgery centers in your area. Even though you were not treated by them, they should be happy to have your attendance.
If you are still unable to find a group that feels right after working with all of the hospitals and bariatric surgeons in your area, consider starting your own group. Your surgeon may even allow you to use their facilities and may be willing to include a professional on their staff as your moderator.
Regardless of which in-person group you decide to move forward with, we recommend also finding and using one or more online weight loss surgery support groups…