Skip to Main Content
A male jogger takes steps to live a healthy lifestyle after undergoing weight-loss surgery.

Benefits of bariatric support groups

If you had or are considering bariatric weight loss surgery, join the bariatric support group. This support group offers discussions on topics ranging from coping mechanisms to healthy eating choices, with occasional guest speakers representing various specialty areas such as nutrition, exercise, and vitamin supplementation. The benefits of joining a support group during your weight loss journey include:

  • Support groups provide a safe and empathetic space where individuals can express their feelings, fears, and concerns. Sharing these emotions with others who have similar experiences can be immensely comforting and therapeutic.
  • Support groups are a valuable source of information. Members often share practical tips, advice, and insights about various aspects of post-surgery life, including dietary changes, exercise routines, and coping strategies. This exchange of knowledge can help individuals navigate their weight loss journey more effectively.
  • Regularly attending support group meetings can help individuals stay accountable for their weight loss goals. Knowing that others are tracking their progress can motivate individuals to adhere to recommended dietary and lifestyle changes.
  • Bariatric surgery can sometimes lead to changes in social dynamics and relationships. Support groups provide an opportunity to build new friendships and connections with people who understand the challenges and triumphs associated with weight loss surgery.
  • Studies have shown that individuals who participate in bariatric support groups are more likely to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals. The ongoing encouragement and shared experiences can contribute to long-term success.
  • Weight loss can impact mental health, and support groups can help individuals address issues such as body image, self-esteem, and anxiety. Sharing these concerns and receiving support can promote better mental well-being.
  • Support groups often feature discussions about nutrition, meal planning, and recipe ideas tailored to post-surgery dietary needs. Members can exchange ideas for maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.
  • Some support groups may invite healthcare professionals, nutritionists, or mental health specialists to provide guidance and answer questions. This access to expert advice can be invaluable.
  • Learning from the experiences of others who have gone through similar challenges and triumphs can be a powerful educational tool. Members can discover what works and what doesn't through shared stories.
  • Obesity can lead to feelings of isolation and shame. Support groups create a sense of belonging and community, reducing the isolation that some individuals with obesity may feel.

Find a weight loss support group near you

Questions about life after bariatric surgery

Smoking increases the risk of lung problems after bariatric surgery, can reduce the rate of healing, increases the rates of infection, and interferes with blood supply to the healing tissues.

Many patients experience some hair loss or thinning after bariatric surgery. This usually occurs between the fourth and the eighth month after bariatric surgery. Consistent intake of protein at mealtime is the most important prevention method. Also recommended are a daily zinc supplement and a good daily volume of fluid intake.

Patients may begin to wonder about this early after the bariatric surgery when they are losing 20-40 pounds per month, or maybe when they've lost more than 100 pounds and they're still losing weight. Two things happen to allow weight to stabilize. First, a patient's ongoing metabolic needs (calories burned) decrease as the body sheds excess pounds. Second, there is a natural progressive increase in calorie and nutrient intake over the months following weight loss bariatric surgery. The stomach pouch and attached small intestine learn to work together better, and there is some expansion in pouch size over a period of months. In the absence of complications, patients are very unlikely to lose weight to the point of malnutrition.

You will need to keep in close contact with your primary care doctor regarding any long term medications you are currently on. Your doctor will determine whether medications for blood pressure, diabetes, etc., can be stopped when the conditions for which they are taken improve or resolve after weight loss bariatric surgery. For meds that need to be continued, the vast majority can be swallowed, absorbed and work the same as before weight loss bariatric surgery. Change in dosage may be required with weight loss but will need to be discussed with your primary care doctor. Two classes of medications that should be discussed during your consultation with your surgeon are diuretics (fluid pills) and NSAIDs (most over-the-counter pain medicines). NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) may create ulcers in the small pouch or the attached bowel. Most diuretic medicines make the kidneys lose potassium. With the dramatically reduced intake experienced by most weight loss bariatric surgery patients, they are not able to take in enough potassium from food to compensate. When potassium levels get too low, it can lead to fatal heart problems.

Most patients say no. In fact, for the first 4-6 weeks patients have almost no appetite. Over the next several months the appetite returns, but it tends not to be a ravenous "eat everything in the cupboard" type of hunger.

Many people heavy enough to meet the surgical criteria for weight loss bariatric surgery have stretched their skin beyond the point from which it can "snap back." Some patients will choose to have plastic bariatric surgery to remove loose or excess skin after they have lost their excess weight. Insurance generally does not pay for this type of bariatric surgery (often seen as elective bariatric surgery). However, some do pay for certain types of bariatric surgery to remove excess skin when complications arise from these excess skin folds. Ask your surgeon about your need for a skin removal procedure.

Find a Doctor

Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.

Sign up for a free weight loss seminar

U.S. News & World Report

U.S News & World Report has recognized Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center as one of the best hospitals for several specialties.