Need a WLS Accountability Buddy? Here’s How to Find One!

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, and owner of Level Up Bariatrics, LLC, a bariatric lifestyle coaching program that provides pre and post-op support for weight loss surgery patients. Learn more on Instagram (@level_up_bariatrics).

The road after WLS is a path that can feel solitary at times, especially when you’re navigating the intricacies of a new, transformed lifestyle. But imagine this... You have a fellow WLS buddy by your side, not only cheering you on, but also sharing the path with you step-by-step. That's the magic of an accountability partner, someone who can make all the difference in the world as you journey through this new world of weight loss and achieving wellness.

Post-WLS, the support of someone who truly “gets it” can be the extra push you need to stay on track. Here’s why an accountability partner is not just a nice-to-have but a vital support beam in your WLS journey. It's simple psychology. When you're answerable to someone other than yourself, the motivation to follow through on your commitments skyrockets. A partner can ensure you follow through with your daily goals and commitments.

How to find your partner in health.

Accountability partners are not always easy to find, but there are certainly places to look. Let’s explore how you can find this unique partner and ensure the partnership is as successful as possible!

1) Online communities & forums. Local or online meeting spaces specifically tailored for post-WLS patients are a great place to find like-minded people, especially if you’re new to an area. Here, you’re likely to meet someone who not only shares your experience but might also be hunting for a partner... Same as you!

2) Social media. In recent years, social media platforms like Instagram have gained a tremendous amount of popularity within the WLS community. This is a space of tell-all, share-all, where you can learn whatever it is you want to know about the successes and struggles of the WLS journey. Even patients-turned-coaches are aplenty on Instagram, along with top influencers in the industry. It shouldn’t be hard finding someone to adopt as your buddy, but doing your due diligence and getting to know people would be best before jumping right in and asking someone to buddy up with you.

3) Support groups. Support groups are an awesome way to connect with others on the same journey as you. Not only can you find support, but you might even meet some amazing individuals who are absolutely crushing it and attending to stay accountable and motivated. Some may have already achieved their goals and are now there to give back to others who were once in their shoes.

Take a moment to do an online search for support groups in your area, whether they're live or virtual. Trust me, attending these meetings will be a game-changer! You're bound to connect with someone who shares your aspirations and goals. Let's get started on this incredible path together!

4) Your bariatric surgery center. If you have a good relationship with your surgical team, your surgical center might be a great place to start. Sometimes, your providers can recommend a few patients who have been super successful in their own journey and would love to help someone in need. They may even have an existing buddy system set up within the program.

5) Your inner circle. Sometimes the best accountability partner exists within your circle. Maybe it’s a family member, a friend, or a work colleague who’s been through their own journey or transformation or is at least enthusiastic to be part of your WLS journey.

Tips for a successful partnership.

Now that you’ve found your partner, it’s time to lay the foundation for a successful accountability partnership. Use these tips to help your partnership thrive and get the most out of it.

1) Define expectations & goals. Once you find a prospective partner, have a heart-to-heart about what you need and what you expect. Are you just looking for daily check-ins about diet compliance, or do you want someone to exercise with you?

2) Schedule your check-ins. Structure is the superglue that keeps the accountability partnership in place. Decide when and how often you’ll touch base. Whether it’s daily texts or weekly Zoom calls, make sure both parties are comfortable with the commitment.

3) Transparency is key. You’ll have days when progress feels non-existent. Be open about slipping up. It’s not about judgment; it’s about accountability. A true partner will help you problem-solve instead of adding to your guilt.

4) Come up with a game plan. Work out a plan together for each of your health goals. This could include meal-prepping recipes, suggesting exercise routines, or even figuring out how to manage stress without relying on comfort food.

An accountability partner post-WLS is more than just someone to report to... It’s a co-patient, a co-conspirator in the adventure of a healthier life. But remember, the ultimate accountability lies within — partnership is there to supplement your drive, not replace it. So, whether you find your WLS soulmate online, within your local support group, or your best friend from childhood, the goal is shared health through shared efforts.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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