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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Support: Another LivingAfterWLS Power Tool

We have been talking about getting back on track with our weight loss surgery lifestyle. A scientifically proven key element in long-term healthy weight maintenance is the existence of a support group. We all know this and in fact, many of us participated in live support groups prior to surgery and in the first year or so following surgery.

An interesting trend to note is that as we near or reach our goal weight we tend to drift away from the support groups as we engage in living or grow weary of the focus on bariatric pre-ops or newbies. I have received hundreds of letters from people who say, "My bariatric support group is entirely focused on pre-ops or new post-ops. But where is the support for me three years after surgery?" Have you been there, done that? And then next sentence usually reads, "I feel so alone and feel like a failure."

Letters like this break my heart because when I was three years out I felt totally alone and isolated, frustrated that nobody understood how much work this "easy way out" really is. I understand the inherent loneliness that can be a part of this weight loss solution.

The simple fact is that we need life long support, compassion, understanding and empowerment to survive and thrive with weight loss surgery.

"Getting support for your efforts, whether through a friend, a trained professional or a group of fellow travelers on this same path, can ultimately mean the difference between your success and failure."
--Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for Everybody page 82.

At the risk of tooting the Neighborhood horn I must humbly say that this online community is the premier destination for the support we need to succeed. It is human nature to seek out those with whom we share a common bond, which in our case is weight loss surgery. But the Neighborhood is more than that: we celebrate our wholeness as unique and beautiful individuals who are not singularly defined by obesity or surgical weight loss.

Recently we had a discussion about our need and desire to connect for support. One of our Neighbors, Lee, said, "I'm not a big poster in general, but I sure do enjoy reading everything - no matter my own mood. It keeps me in touch with reality to know that others are experiencing both highs & lows - that’s life! It is always good to have people that can relate to what is happening, and there is no shortage of people here. Seems there is always someone who knows just what to say - even if you haven't asked a question..."

The Neighborhood
is a special place. We call it our "safe haven circle of friends LivingAfterWLS". We enjoy an advertising free environment with strict membership policies to avoid spammers or flamers. We accept each new neighbor for who they are and celebrate one another as unique individuals. We uphold the LivingAfterWLS Empowerment Philosophy and we are in this for the long run. If you haven't visited the Neighborhood lately I invite you to join us and include support as one more tool in your WLS toolbox.


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