Developing a healthy support network can help immensely after weight loss surgery.
Strong friendships and healthy family relationships help us through the hardest of times. Job transitions, trying breakups, school exams and health issues often cause stress, but the support of a loved one can help you maintain control over every situation you encounter.
After weight loss surgery, a positive support network can help you reach your weight loss goals. In 2011 researchers at UCLA evaluated the effect that social support has on weight loss efforts after bariatric surgery. They found that success rates among bariatric patients were higher for those who had strong networks of support.
The highest success rates were found among people who attended weight loss support groups regularly.
This is not a particularly startling finding, as support groups supply real benefits during the weight loss process. Support groups:
- Create a safe environment to disclose problems and find insight to challenges being faced
- Are a positive source of stress relief
- Provide encouragement and motivation during the weight loss process
- Often offer guidance and teach successful weight loss strategies
Forming a Support Network
A support network may be comprised of your closest friends and family members, or may be a group of complete strangers who you can grow to know through your weight loss journey.
When you are looking for a support network, look for attributes like:
- Instant accessibility: The internet makes it possible to have access to other people in a matter of seconds, so find a support network that uses the internet to your advantage. With larger networks this might include a forum or other type of online portal where you can gain instant access to other members. For smaller groups this might mean a private social media group where you can instantly share updates and challenges, or the use of email or text messages to reach out to one another as needed.
- Relatability: There are support groups out there for absolutely anyone, and while this means there is one that is great for you, it also means there are some that are not going to be a good fit. Try to find a group of people with similar experiences to yourself. This might mean finding a group of people in Albertville or Guntersville who have recently undergone weight loss surgery, instead of finding a generic weight loss group of people online.
- Encouragement: Your weight loss support network should be comprised of people who you trust to be motivating and encouraging. This might mean finding a support network away from a critical friend or family member who makes you feel insecure.
A support network is just one positive tool that can help you during the course of your weight loss program. Try to find a support network that will be honest with you, will push you to keep trying and will provide you with valuable insight you may need as you lose weight.