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Riteweigh support group encourages people challenged with obesity

  • Bariatric patients and advocates share a joke with the Riteweigh patient and advocate leader at a recent support group meeting. Pictured from left are Sharon Albury (lost 105 pounds since May 2012), Desiree Clarke (lost 125 pounds in two years), Sophia Moss (lost 135 pounds in one year) and Samantha Evans, the Riteweigh patient advocate.

Published: Oct 22, 2013

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Bariatric patients, persons who have had surgery or any surgical solution such as The LapBand, Gastric Plication or Gastric Sleeve, now have an avenue they can turn to for support in the Riteweigh Support Group.

The meeting will be held monthly on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Centreville Medical Centre.

The Riteweigh Support Group is meant to provide emotional, psychological and material support for patients in a nurturing environment to examine issues or factors that affect their weight loss or maintenance of weight loss.

Riteweigh patient care advocate, Samantha Evans says the support group is for all bariatric patients, post and pre-op and clients in the non-surgical program.

“We welcome all bariatric patients who have had surgery or what we call a surgical solution such as The LapBand, Gastric Plication or Gastric Sleeve,” said Evans. “But more importantly, we want bariatric patients to know that we do not discriminate. This support group is for all persons who have had bariatric surgery locally or internationally with Riteweigh or another medical facility or specialist.”

Riteweigh’s founder, Dr. Charles Diggiss, says patients are welcome to bring interested persons along, as the support group provides a pressure-free opportunity or forum for such persons to get free information.

“It also gives interested persons an introduction to the Riteweigh programs and solutions. So, we do invite obesity-challenged persons to come and chat with persons who have had surgery so that whatever choice they make is a very informed one,” said Dr. Diggiss.

The bariatric patients laugh at each other’s anecdotes of weight loss attempts, celebrate successes and encourage each other through setbacks, plateaus and failures. They plan meals, even cook dishes and bring them, share recipes and not surprisingly, as they lose weight, some attendees even share or pass on clothing.

During a recent support group session, Evans spoke about the myth about bariatric surgery which is that most people think that the instant they have surgery, the problem is solved which she said is a misconception.

“Nobody is where they were when they started. There is progress. Some have different addictions they will fight every day, but we all have to continue on this journey,” said Evans.

Speaking about the sugar addiction she told the group of the pitfalls of sugar and gave tips on how to handle sweet cravings which included natural sugar through the consumption of fruits, choosing approved zero calorie sweeteners and washing fruits carefully. She also encouraged the group members to ensure that they washed fruits properly as they can be covered in pesticides. The patient advocate also urged them to read labels and to be aware of preservatives in food.

Evans told the group members to carefully examine everything they put into their mouths and to always ask themselves if what they were about to eat was doing them good or harming them.

The next session of the Riteweigh Support Group will be held on November 9.

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