What a support group is and isn’t?

Last night, I had a difficult experience. I went to a so-called support group. The vibe was very negative. There was a ‘presentation’ in a classroom. It felt like a lecture hall more than a support group. The moderators and leader were very rude and all-knowing. When a poor woman mentioned she was having cake cravings, they jumped down her throat.

This made me realize what I don’t want in a support group.

  • Judgement
  • Food policing
  • Negativity
  • Presentations without sharing

We also didn’t get a chance to introduce ourselves. Sure, we wore name tags, but the room was so big I really didn’t ‘see’ people’s names.

Here’s what I think a support group should be. It should be light-hearted and discussion forward. People should be encouraged to share their journeys. You can have an ‘expert’ in the room, but that ‘expert’ should listen more than they speak. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

People in the support group should have time to introduce themselves and build camraderie. People should be allowed to talk about the problems and pitfalls they find themselves in and get supportive, kind answers from the group. No one should be shamed or made to feel bad. That should be a ground rule and one that the group agrees on.

A support group is not a dictatorship. It is richer for having people’s experiences shared. It is helpful to hear from members at different levels of the bariatric journey or whatever journey they’re on. I want to bring people together, not tear them apart.

I want to build people up and give them the tools they need to succeed. Maybe someone could have told this woman that it’s okay to crave foods. You can choose to give in to the craving or not. It’s up to you. Yes, there may be consequences (i.e., dumping) to the action, but those are consequences you should understand and be aware of. They’re not meant to scare of hinder you.

You have to live your life as a bariatric patient and sometimes that life includes cake. I wish I had said something in the support group to help that woman, but I felt like it would’ve fallen on deaf ears. This morning, I’m still thinking about her and hope she is okay.

I also hope that she has enough self-respect not to go back to that so-called ‘support group.’ For more information on my support group offerings, please visit my Facebook page.

I am offering an online group and one in Austin at Genuine Joe’s Coffee shop. They are six weeks in duration and I ask you to commit to all six weeks. It’s not that much time and I do believe you will get something out of it. I will also ask you for your feedback and participation. I want it to be your support group, not mine. I’m just there to facilitate.

I hope you sign up and I hope to see you either online or at Genuine Joe’s in August. If these work out, I will be offering them more often. I wish you love, light and support today on your journey, wherever you are. If you want cake, eat some, but enjoy the hell out of it. Make it worth your while.

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