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It’s never an easy decision to have weight loss surgery. Oftentimes, people who reach this point have tried to lose weight for several years with various diets and other efforts to shed unwanted pounds without success. The lifestyle changes alone can sometimes have an impact of relationships and friendships. If someone you know is preparing to start their weight loss journey, here’s what you can do to help.

Listen and Offer Encouragement

It may seem like a simple thing, but just being supportive and encouraging can make a big difference for someone going through the weight loss surgery process. Be willing to actively listen to their concerns without being unintentionally judgmental or condescending. And avoid offering advice on other things they can try to do to lose weight other than having surgery, unless they ask for your input. Most people who’ve come to this decision have already explored many different options and done their homework.

Participate Whenever Possible

With many types of weight loss surgery, patients are encouraged to start making diet and exercise adjustments before their actual procedure takes place. Starting or sticking with new routines like this can be easier if someone else is joining in for moral support. Even if you personally don’t need to lose weight, there’s nothing wrong with exercising with your friend or loved one or helping them prepare some tasty, healthy meals.

Be Prepared to Accept Some Changes

Losing a significant amount of weight can result in a flood of emotions as lifestyle habits change and excess pounds are shed. It can take some time for your friend or loved one to fully adjust to all of these changes. Fortunately, many of the changes that often come about because of weight loss surgery are positive ones. For instance, you might have a spouse, sibling, or best friend who is suddenly more confident and outgoing. While such personality changes may seem out of character to you, they are perfectly normal – and definitely something worth celebrating together.

Finally, don’t make assumptions about what your friend or family member can and cannot eat, especially for times when you’ll be the one planning or preparing meals. Most people who’ve gone through surgery have already received instructions about what their post-surgery diet should be like if they want to increase their odds of seeing the desired results. So, don’t be afraid to seek input directly from them. Some local hospitals and universities even offer weight loss surgery cooking classes you may be able to attend with your friend or loved one.