Building a Support System

family walking in woods emotionally supporting bariatric patientThe people in your life can be your personal support team—family members, friends, support groups, and health care professionals. Here are some examples of people you can turn to on your weight loss journey, and how they may help support you along the way. Getting support from all three groups can help you have the smoothest process of surgery and recovery, but everyone’s needs are different. You may find that you have all the support you need from two of these groups, or even just one.

Family and friends
Supportive relationships can make all the difference in your day-to-day weight loss journey. Friends and family can be a general source of encouragement, give you pep talks and moral support, help you with grocery shopping and cooking, talk through challenges, and celebrate your successes with you.

Other bariatric patients
They know what it’s like because they’ve been through it too. Other bariatric patients can give you advice and suggestions, as well as emotional support through challenging times. Going to a group meeting before surgery can help you connect with and learn from people who’ve been through weight-loss surgery. Studies show that patients who go to support groups after surgery may have more success with losing weight and keeping it off.1-3

Health care team
You’re the center of your health care team. This team can help you get through the surgery process as smoothly as possible. They can offer advice on the best options for you and provide diet and exercise plans to help you reach your goals. Your health care team might include:

  • Primary care physician
  • Surgeon 
  • Nurse/Physician’s assistant
  • Therapist/Counselor
  • Dietitian


1. Hildebrandt S. Effects of participation in bariatric support group after Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. Obes Surg. 1998;8(5):535-542.

2. Orth WS, Madan AK, Taddeucci RJ, et al. Support group meeting attendance is associated with better weight loss. Obes Surg. 2008;18(4):391-392.

3. Song Z, Reinhardt K, Buzdon M, Liao P. Association between support group attendance and weight loss after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2008;4(2):100-103.