Lean on Me
By Angela Ramirez, PsyD
Bariatric surgery is a life-changing event resulting in both physical and emotional changes. These changes include dealing with past unhealthy behaviors that attempt to resurface, becoming accustomed to your new body, and adjusting to a new lifestyle. With all of these newfound changes occurring, at times patients discover that they cannot do this alone. In my experience of dealing with weight-loss patients, I have observed that support is a crucial part of recovery.
Unfortunately, many believe seeking support as a sign of weakness. However, reaching out to others only empowers you even more. No one can do this alone and you should not feel that you're on your own. Your bariatric program offers many types of support, as well as, other resource channels to help you succeed.
Traditionally, when people talk about seeking support they automatically think of friends, family, and of course, support groups. Although these are excellent avenues for reaching out, many people often overlook other supportive resources. Originally, counseling was thought of being for people who were 'crazy'. However, counseling is an excellent way of having a consistent support system to address any issues that you may be struggling with. Self-help books and educational resources may also serve as a support by offering you ideas and recommendations. In this new technological era, support may also be found through cyberspace. The Internet can offer many supportive resources including websites and chat rooms. Think about it, chatting on-line will give you the opportunity to meet people who are dealing with the same issues as you are and obtain feedback, all in the comfort of your own home. This type of support may help those who are feeling humiliated, ashamed or are struggling with self-confidence issues, because in a certain way you still remain anonymous.
There are many different roads to travel to obtain support, many of which are often overlooked because it is simply not considered the norm. With so many possibilities, taking advantage of all the resources available will benefit you tremendously. The key to success is to have an open mind and use a combination of resources, rather than depending on just a single one.