Support Group Sages: Speedway

The March Speedway Support Group was a special time. I saw a few familiar faces and got to spend time with one of my favorite RDs, Melinda Jones. The smaller group size lended itself to honest discussions about motivation, difficulties, and desires related to surgery. To me, three themes emerged from my time with this wonderful group of people.

To be successful with bariatric surgery we need to tie it to something purposeful in our lives.

Although everyone in the group had surgery or was planning to have surgery in order to lose weight and improve health, each person had a deeper purpose to their journey. Several people mentioned they wanted to live long enough and strong enough to fully experience life with others. They wanted to spend less time managing medical conditions, freeing up time to spend with people they love. A mom tearfully explained that she wanted to set a good example for her son and demonstrate how persistence can help us overcome life challenges. A young man said one of his driving forces was to get healthy enough that he could someday become a father--and be a really good one.

We must think ahead without getting ahead ourselves,

While discussing life purpose, one group member shared that her relationship with food was like an addiction. Certainly, there are parallels between addiction to drugs and the destructive power of food. The problem is we can’t give up food. We must learn to manage it differently. But the psychological tools we use are often quite similar to those who recover from addictions to other substances. When we make decisions, we think beyond our desire to check out, feel pleasure, or ease our frustrations. Instead we consider what we truly want out of life and how our next decision will impact those desires. We take life day by day and sometimes even moment by moment.

Bariatric surgery is for the brave.

Although nobody in group explicitly made this point, it’s something I took away from the discussion. Sometimes people view bariatric surgery as the easy way out--it’s for people who don’t have enough willpower to “do it on their own.” These beliefs are misguided. Bariatric surgery is a tool for the committed. People enlist themselves in this process knowing it will change their lives forever. They will be given great responsibility to use a powerful and potentially dangerous weapon to fight excess weight. It is not for the weak, it’s for the brave.

Thanks again to all of you!