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Want to maintain healthy weight?

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By Kirsten Laskey

While weight-loss surgery can help eliminate health problems, some friendly support can do wonders, too.As a result, the Los Alamos Weight-Loss Surgery Support Group is getting re-organized for residents who are either planning to have weight-loss surgery or have already had a procedure.The next meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 16 at Los Alamos National Bank. There is no fee to attend meetings.Although the group has been around since 2002, most of the members have dropped out, member Teri Daly said. However, recently there has been an interest in restarting the group.“It’s about reconnecting with people,” Daly said, “seeing where they’re at.”In addition to lending support, the group also helps people who might have relapsed back into their old eating habits get back in shape. Daly said people can start gaining back weight and eating more than they should.However, the group won’t inflict guilt to get people back on course. “A lot of people in society don’t understand what it is like to be obese,” Daly said. “(We) punish ourselves, and blame ourselves.”She added some people are more prone to the disease than others and it is difficult to control. If you don’t get support, Daly said, you tend to lapse back.Daly knows first-hand about this condition. At one point, she weighed more than 300 pounds. As a result of her morbid obesity, Daly said she underwent a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. During this procedure, a portion of the stomach is completely removed. The remaining pouch is connected to the end of the small intestine so foods bypass most of the small intestine. It’s been seven years since her surgery, and Daly said she has reached her normal weight.Kelly Van Lyssel, another member, had another type of surgery, a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in September. It is a surgrical procedure where the stomach is cut to make it smaller and part of it is then connected directly to the lower part of the small intestine.In addition to weight loss, Daly and Van Lyssel also reported other medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure and asthma are either in control or gone.Surgery offers a solution to weight problems; but the support group also offers care. “This group is for new people so they can find support in their journey,” Lyssel said.Support is important for any type of situation, from dieting and pregnancy to recovering from alcoholism, Lyssel said. The groups keep people honest and motivated to stay on track, she said.For more information about the group, call Lyssel at 412-3594.