Registered Dietitian Donna Simon explains what you should look for in a bariatric surgery support group and discusses if you should join a support group before undergoing surgery. Donna Simon is Bariatric Coordinator and Nutrition Specialist at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Arizona.
Donna Simon, M.S., R.D.:
A bariatric patient needs to find in a great support group something they are comfortable with, all right?
There are support groups throughout the Arizona valley and I tell my patients that, you know, find one closest to your home if you don’t want to travel.
Go on to a blog or chatroom, there’s support there. A lot of people, I mean I try to explain to them, they all have this in common.
They have all gone through bariatric surgery. They had to help each other.
You just really need to be comfortable in your support group and know that all support groups, at least here at Banner Gateway are kept confidential. What is said in the room stays in the room.
Here at Banner Gateway our bariatric support groups, we have three a month. We have a nutrition one on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m.
We have a exercise support group on the second Wednesday of every month at 6:00 p.m.
And then our psychology support group is on Wednesday, the third Wednesday of every month, at 4:30.
At the nutrition one, yeah I’m going to be more positive about that because it is my support group, but I bring my scale so I can weigh you which just gives you a printout of not just your weight but your BMI, your fat mass, your free fat mass and your total body fluids.
So I mean we talk nutrition topics and then we go around and everyone congratulates each other on their weight change.
We allow time for patients to ask questions whether you are a newbie or you are a seasoned patient.
I have patients that come from all over Arizona and I have quite a few snowbirds that come.
So at the exercise support we have a licensed exercise physiologist that runs the support group, and she will teach different various exercises.
She is available after to speak to individually to find out what types of exercises you need, whether you have knee problems or back problems, she will give you a list of specific exercises that would help you.
And then our peer support group is run by a licensed psychologist who is so motivational and she is just, I mean she is great. I don’t know how to talk about our support groups.
My group started out with three people. I have about 60 that attend in my support group. So I have a very large support group.
And they become friends. We have people from Canada, when they are snowbirds that come and they chitchat back and forth, emailing each other.
So you become a family and I think that’s important to you know that you have other people out there helping you through your journey.
It’s very important for all patients at all stages to attend the support groups.
I encourage them at their informational seminar, before they have even had a consult with the surgeon yet, we hand out our support groups in our little folder and tell them, attend it; see what it’s all about.
So support groups sure, they are important to attend at any given time especially to the people that are looking for the surgery to see if they are going to be helpful.
Some insurance companies require that you attend support groups prior to qualification. So, but we encourage them at any stage to attend the support groups.
About Donna Simon, M.S., R.D.:
Donna Simon, M.S., R.D., earned her B.A. in Food and Nutrition and her M.S. at Queens College in Flushing, New York. She practiced extensively in the state of New York. She was a Dietetic Technician at St. John's Hospital in Elmhurst. She held the position of Food Service Supervisor at Hempstead General Hospital in Hempstead, and Food Service Supervisor and Dietitian at Franklin General Hospital in Valley Stream.
Ms. Simon worked as Director of Dietary Services and Dietitian at Nesconset Nursing Home in Nesconset, and as a Dietitian at Patchoque Nursing Center in Patchoque. She was a Consultant Dietitian at Long Island Development Center. She served as a Registered Dietitian at Parkview Nursing Home in Massapequa, and at North Shore University Hospital in Plainview. Ms. Simon was a Clinical Dietitian and Bariatric Nutritionist at Banner Mesa Medical Center in Mesa, and is presently Bariatric Coordinator and a Nutrition Specialist at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Arizona.
Condition: Obesity Morbid Obesity, Weight Loss, Morbidly Obese
Related Terms: Bariatric Surgery, Nutrition, Weight Management, BMI, Body Mass Index, Portion Control, Bariatric Surgery Support Groups, Food Journal
Health Care Provider: Banner Hospital, Banner Medical Center, Banner Bariatric, Banner Gateway, Banner Health, Banner Bariatric Center, Banner Gateway Medical Center
Location: Gilbert, Phoenix, AZ, Arizona, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Queen Creek, Higley, Apache Junction, Sun Lakes 85234
Expert: Registered Dietitian Donna Simon, Donna Simon, R.D., Clinical Dietitian Donna Simon, Bariatric Nutritionist Donna Simon
Expertise: Bariatric Nutrition, Food, Nutrition, Eat Right, Healthy Eating, Dietetics, Meal Planning, Caloric Restriction, Diet, Weight Management