All-in and All Aboard in Preparation for Weight Loss Surgery
The most important and general predictor of success leading up to any bariatric surgical procedure is engagement and commitment to the preoperative program. Most bariatric surgical programs involve multiple steps to assess suitability for surgery and diagnose potential pre-operative issues. Among these general processes are engagement in weight loss surgery support groups, accessing nutrition materials and resources, and intentional weight loss regimens leading up to the day of surgery.
Surgical weight loss support group meetings may not benefit everyone in the same way. These forums may be excellent for those who open their minds to these sharing opportunities. Other patients may dismissively refer to them as ‘group gropes’ where stories and feelings may be excessively displayed. However, the benefit of these visits exists irrespective of the quality of speakers, words spoken, or production value of visual aids. The advantage is the individual patient’s dedicated investment of time, thought, and effort in their weight loss process. Committing that time to any activity, whether the content is seemingly productive or not, tends to reinforce the commitment to one’s imminent change.
Support Groups are amazing resources for (recipes, tips, and tricks, identifying hidden carbs, cooking for family, and traveling with a sleeve) and there are so many in the social media space that anyone can find the group that fits their personality, and I recommend attending multiple.
It is great to have dedicated speakers from the bariatric center support system, but some of the local grass root groups do a more intimate job of uplifting and keeping patients motivated and focused.
Preferences aside, these forums are intended to engage patients in all phases of surgical weight loss. From pre-op to long-term post-op patients, all can share valuable perspectives on resources and benefits before and after the surgery. Even veterans of the group can benefit from new perspectives. This is not to mention the essential how-tos that one can glean from these meetings:
- How much time to expect to wait for ‘your turn’ on the day of the procedure
- Timing to return to various activities such as work and exercise
- How long to plan for home assistance from family or friends
- Recommendations for nutrition and supplement brands and resources
For those with an aversion to live, interpersonal meetings, various and largely anonymous online forums and archives may suit some looking for a lower level of information exchange. Some may prefer social media venues. But overall, it seems to be the engagement and dedication of time to self and the weight loss process that is of greatest benefit. The exact forum and activities can vary and nonetheless impact the process.
What’s the takeaway? Ultimately, your dedication to the weight loss process and your newfound health will significantly impact how you see and follow the postoperative journey. Starting early creates an environment of success that will continue throughout your postoperative recovery and hopefully many years into the future.