Member Accountability Groups
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Stay connected in Bariatric Food Coach Accountability Groups
What are Member Accountability Groups?
At this time our smaller groups are called ‘accountability groups’ as this is what they are called in the Baritastic app where they meet. There may be a day that our groups are able to meet within the Bariatric Food Coach website, but at this time we utilize the platform inside the popular Bariatric Food Journaling App ‘Baritastic.’
Note: You do not have to use Baritastic as your food journal if you are already using another app. You do need to download the app to engage in the accountability group.
The groups are for current members of Bariatric Food Coach. You can find out more about membership here.
The enrollment form comes in the first welcome email of membership and includes the option to join groups based on your surgery, your timeline and common interests like Working Moms or Retirees.
Each group has a leader to keep conversation going and make sure groups are staying in line with the policy ‘encouragement first, feedback second.’ We work hard to keep our groups safe and uplifting and it really shows! These groups are very positive and can be a safe haven from groups that may not be monitored very closely.
When a new member enrolls in a group they will be added to the group and then notified how to accept the invitation.
I am going to cover TIPS on how to keep groups vibrant so don’t miss that helpful information at the bottom of this blog!
Don’t Miss the Conversations! How to Turn on Notifications
We have so many apps and ways to be checking messages it can feel a little overwhelming to check something else.
I am someone who likes to limit notifications in my life! However, I have found staying connected in these groups is incredibly helpful and up lifting. Turning on notifications means I can see what encouragement someone has that day or what question someone has that I can help answer. It helps to connect consistently with others on bariatric health and wellbeing.
To turn on notifications click on the ‘settings’ tab inside the My Group page. Then slide Group Push Notifications to ON:
Another way to check on the messages you may have missed is to go to your Baritastic hope page and slide the image bar at the top to the very end. This will show you how many messages you’ve missed.
(I sit in on a lot of groups, so my messages are QUITE HIGH 😂)
Tips for keeping fun and engagement in groups
Here is the honest truth about Accountability Groups – it is easier for them to fizzle out than it is for them to stay vibrant.
I have used Accountability Groups for a few years now in different formats. There is no secret formula to making a group really succeed, or if there is one I have not found it!
One thing that can be very helpful is to get to know each other a little more. This can be hard when the group is set up more like a text message thread and doesn’t include pictures or links (outside of a profile picture which can also be edited in the Settings tab). Here are a few tips that come to mind.
Tip #1: Ask fun ice breaker questions
Having ice breakers or fun questions can be a great way to allow connection to happen instead of immediately going into personal things.
You can Google questions if you need ideas! I like questions like “What one word would you use to describe yourself in the kitchen?” or “What is your favorite item you’ve purchased for your weight loss journey?”
Tip #2: Group Member Spotlight
Have one member each day do a little “Spotlight” session to share more about themselves and what their day looks like.
If you’ve ever seen someone on social media say “I’m taking over this Instagram page today!” it would be sort of like that. Having a member take the lead one day to share more about themselves and guide the conversation that day.
Getting to know each other helps to really build up rapport so you find yourself going to that group more often as things come up in your day that you want support with.
Tip #3: Commit to Checking in Consistently, Don’t Stay Quiet
It does take time to get a group to grow and thrive. Commit to your group by checking in a few times a week and try not to stay too quiet. Everyone benefits when members keep engaging even if just for a little check in.
Tip #4: Healthy Competition can be motivating!
Group leaders and I are talking about how to set up little competitions between groups such as average water intake per group for a one week period. Healthy competition can be fun and motivating! You might even set up a little competition within your group for food journaling for a full week or steps in a day.
Tip #5: Put in what you want to get out
No one likes to be a lone solider posting something and hearing crickets in return. However, it does take being a little vulnerable and taking the first step to get things going. This might be outside of your comfort zone but know that this is a safe place and that everyone in the group has signed up to be there.
If you ever need help, advice or want to take a break from a group I am here for you. Groups do not have to be forever! I find it is more helpful for members to be honest and take breaks (be removed) than to have groups with several people sitting in there but not talking. Help us keep these groups healthy by being in or out!
For any other questions or group needs email firstname.lastname@example.org
And a special thank you to our group leaders!!!