Monitoring and normalising a lack of appetite and weight loss. A discursive analysis of an online support group for bariatric surgery

Jo Cranwell , Sarah Seymour-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A significant adjustment in eating practices is required before and after bariatric surgery, yet we know relatively little about how patients manage these changes. In this paper, we explored how members of an online bariatric support group constructed their appetite and weight loss. Two hundred and eighty four online posts were collected, covering a period of just over a year, and analysed using discursive psychology. We found that a lack of appetite post-surgery was oriented to as something that was positively evaluated yet a cause for concern. Indeed, members monitored their food intake and marked out food consumption as a necessary activity in line with notions of healthy eating. Through monitoring members also normalised periods of weight stabilisation and were inducted into a group philosophy which encouraged a more holistic approach to post-surgery ‘success’. Our analysis also highlights how monitoring and policing work as social support mechanisms which help to maintain weight management. Thus we argue, in line with others, that weight management, typically depicted as an individual responsibility, is bound up with the social practices of the online support group. We suggest that clinical advice about a loss of appetite and periods of weight stabilisation post-surgery perhaps need further explanation to patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-881
Number of pages8
JournalAppetite
Volume58
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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