Helping others to help you

Helping

Helping others to help you

One of the questions that our surgeon asks when you see him about your weight loss surgery is ‘what support do you have?’ This is very important, it isn’t just about someone to look after you as you recover straight after surgery or even to support your decision making. It is about having a team around you for the long term, losing weight requires change and is difficult. Your changes may also impact on those around you. You are making the changes yourself but sometimes the support of a family member, friend or health professional can make all the difference.
People can help or hinder us and not necessarily on purpose.
It can be useful to have an honest discussion with your support network explain what the operation involves so that they are aware of how things may change for them.
For example, if you have a gastric band explain that you need to eat slowly and chew well, that being distracted may cause you discomfit. With a gastric bypass or sleeve you may want to explain what the symptoms are if you eat sugary foods, this is in order that you aren’t offered them and also if you are feeling unwell the individual knows how to help you.
When changing behaviour, it is very important that those around us don’t sabotage our intentions (either deliberately or as is more common without thinking).
It can be useful to write a list of helpful and less helpful things that people do at the moment or in the past. Then you can use it to have a specific discussion with those around you about what they can do. You can also identify and deal with anything that may be blocking your change. The chart below gives some ideas to get started. You can’t change others behaviours only your own but it is worth thinking about how you may reverse or encourage some situations (in red).

Helpful things

  • Eg praise your effort (thank people and say how important it is to hear the positives)
  • Partner buying a magazine for me rather than chocolate as a treat (make a fuss and be very grateful!)
  • Sister looking after children same time each week so I can go swimming (offer to have children so she can go to her club)

Less helpful things

  • Drawing attention to the negative rather than the positive (challenge them and say how it makes you feel to be criticised)
  • Partner laughing when put on exercise video (question why they are laughing, explain that you are doing it anyway and ignore them)
  • Mum bringing a cake every time she visits (explain that you appreciate the thought but its lovely to see her and she doesn’t need to bring anything)

*Disclaimer: Please note that weight loss surgery results and benefits are unique to each individual and in such The Bariatric Group cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals as results for each surgery can vary. If you have any questions or would like to know more about weight loss surgery please contact our expert team.