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Support Groups

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Weight Loss Support Groups

Are you seeking an obesity support group in Connecticut? We believe that post-operative nutritional and psychological support as well as post-operative exercise support are essential elements to the success of our bariatric program. Counseling in these areas contribute to our patients' success in achieving and maintaining their goals.

Our patients are provided with multiple monthly support groups and preoperative and postoperative nutritional assistance by a registered dietitian, specializing in helping bariatric surgery patients achieve desired weight loss results and optimal health.

We offer psychological support groups for our bariatric patients in Norwalk and Bridgeport CT. They are run by a Licensed Care Social Worker, a Psychotherapist and a Clinical Psychologist. Each one is accomplished in their field and experienced in helping the postoperative bariatric patient achieve continued weight loss.

Support groups are also offered to help in managing an exercise program that contributes to long-term weight loss.

We are committed to the long-term success of each patient and our support groups enable them to achieve it.

We also offer nutritional and psychological support in New London and the surrounding area.

POST-OP BARIATRIC SUPPORT GROUP (FOR NEWLY POST-OP TO 1 YEAR POST-OP)

 Janet Bertoldi, Ph.D.Bariatric support groups led by Clinical Psychologist, Janet Bertoldi, Ph.D., are intended for post-operative bariatric patients; specifically, those in early transition (1 year post-operative or less). The group is held on the third Tuesday of each month at Norwalk Hospital, and meets from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.

Groups are both supportive and therapeutic in nature, with a focus on establishing a caring and safe environment. The format is primarily an open group discussion in which members may bring forth issues with which they are currently struggling. These may include adapting to and coping with changes resulting from surgery, dealing with social situations and personal relationships, and improving self-care. Therapeutic approaches include a mindfulness approach to eating, achieving a healthier relationship with food, identifying potential triggers and obstacles, and reframing negative beliefs. Participation is encouraged but not forced; members support each other and provide feedback, helping all who attend to make a positive transition post-surgery.

BARIATRIC NUTRITION SUPPORT GROUP

Tamara Swett, RDLed by Registered Dietitian Tamara Swett, Bariatric Nutrition Support Group Meetings are held every other month at Norwalk Hospital in the Nutrition Conference Room on the 5th floor. Various topics are covered related to staying on your meal plan after surgery, including getting enough protein and fluid, coping strategies, recipe exchanges and discussions on the importance of specialized bariatric supplements to long term health, including brain and nerve function.

Tamara Swett RD, CD-N is a registered dietitian and has been an Out-Patient Dietitian at Norwalk Hospital since June of 2006. She received her first degree in Community Health at Western Connecticut State University and then followed her passion for nutrition by continuing her education at Saint Joseph's College where she received her degree in Nutrition.
Tamara Swett is also involved in the childhood and adult weight loss programs offered by Norwalk Hospital. Ms. Swett provides nutrition counseling for individuals preparing for weight loss surgery. She runs one of the bariatric support groups at Norwalk Hospital, which is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence®.

POST-OP Connecticut BARIATRIC NUTRITION SUPPORT GROUP

Nancy Murphy, MS, RD, CDE, CD-NThis group is led by Nancy Murphy, MS, RD, CDE, CD-N, who has been a registered dietitian for 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than ten years. Nancy Murphy's nutrition groups are currently limited to a 1 hour group every three months so she tries to pack as much useful and useable information into them as possible. Hopefully, everyone leaves having learned at least one new & helpful tip to bring long-tern success one step closer.

Most patients embarking on bariatric surgery are going into it for the very first time. They may or may not have family or friends to guide them through much of the confusing and (at times) conflicting nutrition and behavioral information they have read on the internet, etc. and may feel quite overwhelmed after their surgeries. The main purpose of this post-op nutrition support groups is to provide our patients with reliable, accurate and understandable information about their post-op dietary needs and lifestyle challenges so long-term success will be the anticipated outcome. Some of the topics discussed in our groups include dietary/macronutrient requirements, supplements, caloric needs, appropriate portions, food preparation, meal structure, fluid requirements, relapse prevention and behavior modification

The topics presented must be relevant to our entire post-op bariatric population. Since Nancy Murphy feels strongly that it is willingness to make long-term changes and not a particular surgery that leads to long term success, it is usually not difficult to find a topic that all our patients can embrace. The lifestyle goals that are often discussed & reinforced at post-op meetings are 1) healthy vs. rapid/excessive weight loss,
2) adequate daily protein & supplementation (to ensure healthy weight loss), 3) adaptation of a healthy relationship with food vs. pre-op "chronic dieting" mentality and 4) structured exercise as a critical component of long-term weight management.

Nancy Murphy's M.S. in Clinical Nutrition from N.Y.U. was followed by more than ten years of clinical and research experience at Mt. Sinai Medical Center and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan. As an obesity research nutritionist at St. Luke's and Lifestyle Coach for the Manhattan site of the (NIH-funded) Diabetes Prevention Program, Nancy had the unique opportunity to be involved with ground-breaking research in the areas of obesity, diabetes, metabolism, body composition and eating disorders. Her own original research and writing reflect a particular interest in eating patterns and behaviors unique to obese individuals, most specifically the night-eating syndrome.

Nancy is an advocate for a healthy diet as part of a healthy lifestyle and
is not inclined to put her clients on diets. She strongly believes that successful weight and disease management are based on the following
1) understanding basic nutrition, 2) identifying how nutrients or nutrient combinations affect a given individual and 3) realistic goal-setting. She takes pride in her ability to raise her client's nutritional awareness by identifying and modifying particular behaviors which will provide the greatest long-term benefits.

As her family grew, Nancy's decision to work locally led her to a position as Director of Nutrition & Lifestyle Programs at Health Extenders, a wellness facility in Norwalk, CT. An overwhelming need for nutrition professionals knowledgeable in bariatrics has led Nancy to become a nutrition expert in the areas of the laparoscopic Roux-and-Y gastric bypass and Lap-Band procedures.

Nancy's professional desire to see more emphasis on lifestyle modification as the most rewarding alternative to improving ones physical and emotional well-being has prompted her decision to start her own business, Fairfield County Lifestyle Consultants (FCLC). While nutrition is her area of expertise, Nancy believes that physical fitness and emotional well-being are equally important in establishing a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Thus, she chooses to work with many experienced professionals in the complementary fields of exercise physiology and psychology.

POST OP CT. BARIATRIC SUPPORT GROUP (6 MONTHS AND UP)

Mary P. Ziller, L.C.S.WAll post-operative bariatric patients at different stages of their weight loss journey are welcome to attend this interactive 90-minute bariatric support group. Support groups are conducted twice monthly by skilled Eating Disorders Specialist, Mary P. Ziller, L.C.S.W. who inspires thought-provoking sessions to keep bariatric patients on track with the physical and emotional changes that occur.

The purpose of the group is for patients to learn how to effectively utilize their chosen bariatric surgery for continued weight loss and eventual maintenance and to achieve peace and emotional clarity regarding eating patterns and body image issues. In a trusting environment, Ms. Ziller's focus is to guide patients to identify and release psychosocial stressors that block them from feeling good about themselves and contribute to emotional eating and weight struggles. Positive methods for self-care are highlighted and a series of individual skill-sets are reinforced at each support group. A few topics covered include: managing the medical and technical challenges of lap-band/ bypass surgery; differences between physical and emotional hunger; mindless/intuitive eating; cognitive eating belief levels; managing stressful events; pivoting off of negative thoughts; the tyranny of the "Shoulds;" 12-Step Principles and body confidence.

Mary P. Ziller is a Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist and Life Skill Coach specializing in treating specific anxiety, compulsive and addictive disorders.

Ms. Ziller is invested in working with Eating Disorders and morbidly obese clients, having successfully maintained an 80-pound weight loss for over 18 years. She fully understands the dynamics that come into play with emotional eating, body image issues and anxiety levels. Ms. Ziller is a dynamic presentation speaker having conducted many workshops the past 15 years on mindfulness stress reduction training, brain neurobiology/ addictions, anxiety management, emotional eating/negative body image, value clarification, dating/coaching skills and support groups for post-op bariatric patients.

WRAP® SUPPORT GROUP

The WRAP SUPPORT GROUP  is led by Lucie Labreche, RN-BC. Lucie is a mother of three grown children and grandmother to Brin who is sixteen months old. She went to nursing school in Quebec, Canada and graduated thirty two years ago. Lucie's passion has always been psychiatric nursing and she has practiced in a variety of settings such as The Correctional Services of Canada, hospitals, with the developmentally disabled, home care, and now in out - patient psychiatry at Norwalk Hospital since 2007. Lucie was introduced to Wellness Recovery Action Plan ® (WRAP) by Mary Ellen Copland about six years ago and took the training to becoma a facilitator as she believes that everyone has an intrinsic value and deserves to develop skills to help one succeed, be it from mental illness, diabetes, addictions, etc. Last year, she began to think about the quality of her life as she has battled weight most of her life. Lucie had a gastric sleeve performed by Dr. Neil Floch in March 2015 and spoke to him about bringing WRAP for Bariatrics to Norwalk Hospital as the surgery is what gives everyone a fighting chance and in order to be successful for the long run their relationship with food needs to change. WRAP by Mary Ellen Copeland, PHD, is an empowerment tool towards that success.

Click here for support group schedules

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