Finding Success Through Support Groups
By Emily G Samuels, MS, RD, LDN
Each month, our weight loss surgery team offer support groups to patients who had bariatric surgery. Regardless of the date of surgery, all patients who had bariatric surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) are welcome to attend. Patients who have not yet had surgery at BIDMC but are current BIDMC bariatric patients, are also welcome to join.
Each group provides extensive support, insightful topics and tips to help you succeed with your life-long weight loss goals. Every gathering brings new faces, new success stories, and an opportunity to share concerns or questions that can be addressed by the support group leader and attendees. Additionally, the support groups are free of charge and parking is validated. Healthy snacks are provided.
Some examples of support group topics include:
- Emotional eating
- Mindful eating
- Exercise following weight loss surgery
- Dealing with Weight Regain
- Cooking Healthy: Recipes for Success
What You Can Expect
Shared Emotional Support
At a recent support group meeting, anonymous quotes were distributed and placed on a table for all to read. Everyone was encouraged to select a quote that best resonated with them. They then shared their rationale for selecting. The heartwarming result allowed people to share inspiring stories related to their weight loss journey.
I encourage you to look at the quotes. Which would you choose?
“The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.”
“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it or learn from it.”
“You control your destiny – you don’t need magic to do it. And there are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems.”
“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
“If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead. Now go up and look around!”
Shared Support for Physical Activity
Many patients are hesitant to start exercising, so one of our recent support groups focused on the importance of incorporating a daily 30-minute exercise routine to promote weight loss and weight maintenance.
One patient shared how she did not like to exercise but found a way to make it work. She admitted how taking the first step was really difficult for her. Right after having the gastric sleeve, she said the gym felt "overwhelming and intimidating." However she discovered exercise classes that made going to the gym fun. She enjoyed meeting like-minded people at the gym. "I especially like the structured environment. It keeps me accountable.” She said that what worked for her was participating in high intensity exercise classes. “I love the feeling of how strong I have become both mentally and physically and I’m ready to accept any of life’s challenges.”
Exercise Stretching Tips
- Include stretching exercises in your daily aerobic and resistance training
- To avoid injuries wear comfortable clothing while exercising.
- Stretch on a clean, flat surface that is large enough to move freely.
- Do not force the body into a position that is uncomfortable.
- Move into a stretch slowly and avoid bouncing.
- Hold stretches for at least 30 seconds.
- Repeat a stretch between two and five times.
- Stretch one side of the body at a time.
Many of our patients enjoy cooking and love to share their favorite healthy recipes. Visit the “Healthy Recipes” section of this newsletter for some great dinner ideas.
Support Groups are held:
Day: Every 1st Tuesday of each month
Location: BIDMC main (east) campus, 330 Brookline Ave Shapiro building, 10th Floor, Rabkin Board Room
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