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Bariatric Support Groups


Bariatric surgery is a medical intervention on the stomach and portions of the alimentary canal to help individuals struggling with extreme obesity to lose weight and attain a healthy lifestyle. Gastric bypass surgery, a type of bariatric surgery which involves reducing the size of the stomach so that the individual cannot consume as much as before and rerouting the intestine to bypass a large portion of the digestive tract, so the rate of food absorption is diminished has proven effective in helping with weight loss.

However, it must be noted that not everybody is suited for a gastric bypass or other bariatric surgery. There are several factors that play an important part in determining a patient’s suitability for this weight loss surgery. These factors include medical conditions, physical ability, and even emotional health considerations.

Bariatric Support groups and Systems

Standard practice requires that individuals seeking weight loss through bariatric surgery, are informed of the advantages and risks associated with undergoing the procedure. With this information, potential patients are equipped with sufficient information to make objective/rational decisions about having bariatric surgery. While hospitals and medical centers are often the primary source for information, there are Bariatric support groups which offer pre and post bariatric surgery tips, advice, and mutual support.

How Support groups work

One of the first things bariatric support groups assist with, pre-surgery, is to help patients gauge their preparedness for all aspects of surgery. This assessment will usually involve reviewing the following:

Are you committed?

Support groups inform prospective individuals that the surgery will not magically cause weight loss. Rather the patient must be ready to make all the necessary adjustments to their diet and lifestyle to complement the effects of the surgery, so they can have successful weight loss.

Are you in good health?

Even though their doctor may have recommended that a patient undergo bariatric surgery to treat associated medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, patients may experience an anxiousness or uncertainty about undergoing the procedure. Support groups will advise and counsel patients to address their concerns before embarking on the procedure.

Have you tried and failed at other weight loss options?

Most bariatric patients have failed at previous diets and programs. Bariatric supports groups will help them understand the required lifestyle and diet modifications they will need to make to ensure weight loss success helping the individual prepare adequately for the procedure.

Post-Surgery Support

After surgery, patients typically spend one to three days in the hospital for monitoring depending on their procedure. They will be on a clear liquid diet and are not allowed to eat any solid food until their insides have time to heal. After surgery patients follow a 12-week dietary regimen that begins with clear liquids, the add opaque liquids such as creamed soups and protein shakes. After several weeks of liquids, patients can progress to pureed foods such as apple sauce and plain yogurt, then to soft foods like scrambled eggs and refried beans, once these are tolerated without significant side effects patients will gradual progress to solid foods and finally to regular foods; albeit with restrictions to the amount and class of foods

Bariatric support groups usually perform multiple roles during this period helping patients understand which foods are approved for each phase and how to best prepare them.  They also provide patients with mental and social support in dealing with their new life style and issues associated with recovery from bariatric surgery.