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Building a Support System After Weight Loss Surgery


By Dr. Dieter Pohl

So you have made the decision to undergo weight loss surgery, or have recently just had the procedure performed. In either event, congratulations! This is the beginning of a new and transformative period in your life. With all of these changes, however, it is important to build a support system around you after surgery so you can comfortably adapt to a new lifestyle.


Family and Friends

There are many things we are only comfortable discussing and sharing with loved ones. Use this to your advantage. For many patients who receive weight loss surgery, they will soon discover it is not an immediate solution to years of struggling with their weight. Many of our habits around food and weight are based on our behavior, emotions and environment. We encourage you to use your family and friends as a support network and communicate with them what they can do help make your transition into post-surgery as smooth as possible. 

One of the best and most proactive approach after surgery is to encourage your family and friends to join you in partaking in healthier eating, habits and lifestyle. Being healthy together is an easier and more enjoyable way to stay committed to your progress!



Where we spend our time and how we respond in different environments can determine a significant amount of how we respond or not in healthy ways. If there are places you associate with over-eating or unhealthy habits before surgery then we recommend you try to avoid these places or eliminate them altogether. In many cases this does not have to be forever, but long enough to reinforce a new healthy lifestyle.

Perhaps you could recommend a new restaurant to meet your friend group as an alternative to an unhealthy meeting spot. Or you could invite everyone over to have a home-cooked meal. Being open with your friends and communicating how important it is for you to stick to a new routine following weight loss surgery is the best approach. Good friends will understand and work with you to create an environment conducive to your needs!



Where we work, whether it’s an office, a classroom or on the road, may feel like where we have the least control. While you may not feel as comfortable discussing your journey with weight loss surgery with your colleagues as your friends and family, try and find at least one person to confide in. Sometimes the work day can be stressful and hard and pose an opportunity to slip back into unhealthy habits without realizing it. If you know there is someone at work to talk to, this can make a big difference in your long term success.

Additionally, to best make the work environment a supportive space for you following surgery, we recommend bringing a lunch from home. It can be difficult to avoid the office goodies or running out to get fast food mid-day, especially when you have not prepared anything to eat! Pack a healthy lunch from home to remove all of those distractions. 


Support Groups

Find out if the hospital or facility you will be visiting for your operations offers any post-surgery support groups. Weight loss surgery is only the beginning of a new chapter, a life-long journey that will require commitment and discipline. We understand these lifestyle changes can appear overwhelming, especially all alone. To ensure positive results, and staying on track of meeting your goal weight, we recommend finding a support group to learn about nutrition, share healthy recipes and encourage and motivate one another. Research the meetings and availability ahead of your surgery and try to attend a meeting or two before. Other members will be eager to share their experiences and offer valuable help!

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