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The Gastric Sleeve Forum: Finding your Own Community

The Gastric Sleeve Forum: Finding your Own Community

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      The gastric sleeve surgery is a weight loss surgery tool that assists you with losing excess weight. The radically reduced portion sizes allow you to lose weight quickly. It is one of the solutions to fight the obesity epidemic.

      Although this is an exciting time that changes your life, this time of transition is lonely and isolating—having friends and family that do not validate your choices and values. There may be moments of jealousy, envy, and negativity regarding your weight loss choices.

      This is a harsh and cruel reality of any bariatric patient, especially gastric sleeve, because you lose weight quickly.

      Your body shapes changes rapidly, and people will no longer recognize the person standing before them. They will see you differently, and even though you are the “same” person on the inside, your personality is more defined. Through exploration and personal growth, you will experience moments of loneliness and isolation.

      Community strengthens your understanding and learning by sharing with others who face similar challenges. You can learn what to do together. There is a higher success rate when there is support during your weight loss phase and maintenance.

      Because of these drastically changing circumstances, you will want to build a bariatric community and grow your own network of support by finding your own gastric sleeve forum to get involved in.

      Group of people sitting with their arms around one another.
      Building your network of support will allow you to continue on your path of health and wellness.

      Online Communities:

      Many online communities offer support throughout this weight loss process. There are both online and in-person support groups and forums that provide many tools for successfully navigating all of the changes your life goes through pre and post-surgery.

      Vertical Sleeve Community:

      This website is an online gastric sleeve forum that posts topics and threads dealing with many questions surrounding gastric sleeve weight loss. The many categories include pre-operation surgery questions and answers, gastric sleeve general topics, gastric sleeve forums or support groups, post-operation surgery questions and answers, and gastric sleeve success stories.

      This community also allows you to post photos of your weight loss journey and learn to be proud of every milestone and accomplishment. Common gastric sleeve forum topics include:  Health, having a hard time, struggling to lose that ten percent, depressed and struggling, doing your research, recovery period after revision, gaining weight, and gym pet peeves.

      People with their hands together in the middle of a circle.
      You are creating your new support group, where you can grow together.

      Bariatric Pal:

      Another great online community, or gastric sleeve forum, and the app is the Bariatric Pal. This is an online discussion-based gastric sleeve forum for pre and post-operation support. This site allows you to find support and network. You can use their message boards to ask questions and provide peer to peer support.

      This website allows you to create profiles, track your weight loss, post before and after pictures, and maintain personal blogs. This website has over 300,000 members and over seven million monthly visits.

      Obesity Help:

      This gastric sleeve forum community educates, empowers, and supports you on your weight loss journey.  This website brings together all weight loss surgery patients through their many online discussions and educational articles that offer insightful advice in navigating the many trials and tribulations of weight loss pre and post-surgery.

      People sitting together using a lap top, pointing at the screen.
      Thousands log in every day to update their progress and access gastric sleeve forums.

      Message Boards:

      Many message boards can show you surgery types, locations, and medical conditions. These message boards include nutrition and fitness.

      Blogging:

      You can also track and journal your journey through a blog. This helps maintain personal motivation and accountability. You can follow your entire process of pre and post-surgery. It is rewarding to look back upon your journey after a year of continued success and growth.

      People sitting together, writing, and having a meeting.
      This is a journey you cannot do alone. You need people to anchor and support you.

      Photo Albums:

      There are also ways to document your journey through photo albums. By creating photo albums and uploading all your weight loss surgery, you can see both non-scale victories and milestone victories as well.

      Goal System:

      There is a goal system program that allows you to set, plan, and keep achieving goals most important to you and your health journey.

      Health Trackers:

      There are also health trackers and tickers that keep track of your weight and body measurements. You can share your progress and success by creating a weight loss ticker. These tickers can be added to your message board signature line as a reminder of your success and journey.

      Woman standing together.
      Some find in-person support groups more helpful and a great addition to online groups.

      Support Groups:

      You can also join an existing gastric sleeve forum support group or great your own. Having a support group allows you to share topics of nutrition with each other. You can provide and receive exercise advice, maintain your weight, and continue using positive thinking as reinforcing your goals. It is helpful to learn from others’ experiences and journeys.

      Having their support is an excellent reminder of why you made this choice in the first place. Support groups provide emotional support. They create and foster relationships to help you remain motivated. There is a shared common ground that helps remind you of why and how to stay successful.

      Types of Support Groups:

      Facebook:

      Facebook has many online support groups that encourage members to share all aspects of their bariatric journey, including sharing workout challenges, bariatric meal recipes, proudly displaying their physical and mental progress. Some Facebook bariatric support groups I belong to are:

      You cannot maintain your success alone. You need others to help you when you need it.
      • Bariatric Surgery and Gastric Sleeve Forum Support Group
      • Bariatric Surgery Support Group
      • Bariatric Recipes and Living
      • Life After Bariatric Surgery Support Group and Q&A
      • Minnesota Bariatric Support Group
      • Baritastic Social
      • Bariatric Social Minnesota

      All of these Support Groups provide me with internal and external motivation to continue on my journey of self-care and health. At times I can find my mental strength slipping, and having these daily accountability reminders is helpful to keep me on my course and remember my goals and intentions.

      Overeaters Anonymous:

      This organization has local in-person meetings with people that have and have not had weight loss surgery. These meetings are usually held at hospitals. Some doctors answer your questions about nutrition, surgery, and post-surgery.

      There is also an online presence where ideas can be shared, thoughts, meal recipes, overcoming a setback, and obstacles. These online support groups help maintain your commitment to your new lifestyle.

      Weight Watchers:

      This online community forum supports you through conversations on exercise, meal recipes, maintenance, and motivation. This community keeps you informed and moving forward on your health journey.

      My Journey with the Bariatric Community:

      I follow the Facebook support group blogs. I post my yearly surgery anniversary pictures with my updated health stats. I also use the Baritastic app. I use this app to track my weight loss journey. I still feel weird seeing current and past pictures of my body. I feel separate from who I was and have trouble recognizing the person in my current pictures.

      As someone who was always a more significant person, it is weird and odd to see my new shape and current body. My mind still has an idea of who I am. I am still working on catching up to who I am now.

      I also attend monthly bariatric support groups at the local hospital. This allows me to keep in touch with the nurses and doctors that have supported me throughout my journey. These support groups keep me motivated, on track and mindful of my journey towards health and wellness. The in-person support groups allow me to form bonds with those I share a commonality with.

      This journey can be isolating and alienating. Having a support group allows me to correct bad habits, healthily manage my stress and remind myself of my goals.

      Having the courage to ask questions is essential in this process. I love asking an abundance of questions regarding this process. I was always shy about asking any questions before surgery.  Now I find myself having questions and never enough time to answer all of them.

      Support groups foster community and gratitude. They bring an awareness of where you have come from and where you want to go.

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        Kelsey Renae Schulze

        Author

        Kelsey is a post-op bariatric patient who had sleeve surgery in 2018. She is a writer, focusing on a variety of topics given her background in legal studies and criminal justice.