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Patients who have had bariatric surgery are advised to exercise, change their eating habits, receive nutritional counseling and psychological support, keep a food diary, go to patient support groups and see their surgeon or doctor regularly. This is a lot to juggle without support from others and that is why Fairfield Memorial Hospital will begin holding a Bariatric Support Group meeting once a month on the second Tuesday of the month from 6-7 p.m. in the Medical Arts Complex (MAC) Community Education Room, beginning October 9. 

“Even though bariatric surgery is not performed at FMH, there are many who have had these procedures and are unable to attend the support groups offered at their surgery facility. By starting a local support group, we hope to make this vital resource more accessible to members of FMH’s service area and help them achieve long-term success in their weight loss journey,” stated FMH’s Registered Dietitian, Whitney Buckles.

The purpose of the group is to provide support and ongoing education for those undergoing bariatric surgery. The goal is to furnish a welcoming and confidential environment where participants can share their struggles, learn from others’ experiences, and be motivated to continue working towards their weight loss/maintenance goals. Each meeting will include 15-30 minutes of education from FMH’s Registered Dietitian or a guest speaker on various topics including meal planning, exercise, vitamin/protein supplements, depression, complications, etc.  The remaining time will be for questions and group discussion on the featured topic. A light snack will be provided at each meeting. The topic for the first meeting on October 9 will be “Intuitive eating.”  This is an approach that helps chronic dieters and emotional over eaters overcome their struggle with their weight, without deprivation, guilt and obsession with food. It also teaches them how to have a healthier relationship with food, mind and body.

The support group is open to anyone who is considering, waiting for, or has had any type of weight loss surgery (including gastric bypass, lap band, or gastric sleeve).  All are welcome regardless of where their procedure was completed. The group will be facilitated by Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Registered Dietitian, Whitney Buckles, and those attending the meetings should enter through the MAC main entrance. 

Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s goal is to assist community members in becoming healthier as obesity is a disease that affects 34 percent of adults age 20 and over in the United States.  About 32.2 percent of American men and about 35.5 percent of American women are obese, and the number of overweight and obese Americans has increased almost continuously since 1960.  There are a number of dangerous consequences as obesity increases a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cancer of the breast, prostate, and colon. In fact, obesity increases risk of death and that's not all. The lesser-known effects of obesity may also include asthma, pregnancy complications, infertility and even Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurological disorder.

“These are astounding statistics and I hope this is a step we can take to help these patients be successful in and maintaining their weight loss.  If maintained, even weight losses as small as 10 percent of body weight can improve a person’s health,” stated Mrs. Buckles.
For the obese persons who have been unable to lose the excess weight through lifestyle changes alone, bariatric surgery may be an option. However, it is important to note that weight loss surgery should only be considered as a last resort after all other attempts have been unsuccessful. Weight loss surgery is a serious surgical procedure that decreases the size of the stomach, reduces food intake and can enable you to lose a significant amount of weight. It is a procedure that requires a lifetime commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Bariatric surgery is a genuine life-changing experience. Improvements in a person’s life may include the ability to fully perform day-to-day activities, the reduction of your risk of disease, the possible resolution of some medical conditions and new opportunities for jobs or relationships. However, weight loss surgery is not a guaranteed cure for obesity or the disabilities that may occur as a result of obesity. Instead, the surgery helps diet and exercise to finally work, by controlling appetite and making the person feel full with smaller amounts of food. The benefits from weight loss surgery should outweigh the personal commitment and financial investment associated with the surgery and its aftercare.  For more information you can visit

Pictured is Whitney Buckles, R.D. with Fairfield Memorial Hospital who will be leading the Bariatric Support Group.


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