Many people believe that weight-loss surgery is for those who aren’t willing to put in the hard work to lose weight with diet and exercise and are just looking for a quick weight loss fix.
But is weight loss surgery really the easy way out?
Before someone can qualify for bariatric surgery, insurance mandates that they try a medically-supervised weight loss program without success. Additionally, there are strict lifestyle changes that are required following weight-loss surgery, meaning that anyone who goes through one of these procedures must be committed to making long-term changes in terms of dieting and exercise.
Bariatric surgery is a last resort for patients who suffer from obesity and requires strict and lifelong changes to habits. As such, weight loss surgery is far from the easy way out.
Weight Loss: Not As Simple As It Seems
For many decades, weight-loss experts have embraced the “calories-in vs calories-out” theory of weight loss. However, this methodology is flawed. Besides the calories that you consume and burn, another key factor in weight gain and weight loss is your unique physiology.
When you’re born, you are the recipient of a unique genetic code. For some of us, this genetic lottery precludes us from becoming thin with diet and exercise alone.
What’s more, our environment and history can alter our genes and our predilection towards weight gain. For example, taking many rounds of antibiotics may reduce your ability to lose weight. Even whether or not our mothers breastfed us can impact our ability to lose weight. Babies fed formula are more likely to gain unhealthy weight over the years.
Additionally, weight gain can make weight loss more difficult. As people gain weight, their leptin can become desensitized. Leptin is a hormone that’s responsible for telling you that you’re full, and desensitized leptin can mean that you’ll feel unsatisfied after normal amounts of food. People who suffer from obesity also find that their bodies enter ‘starvation mode’ as they lose weight, slowing their metabolism. This, too, can inhibit weight loss.
Losing weight isn’t as simple as eating fewer calories and exercising more. A myriad of factors, including genetics, childhood factors, and hormones, can inhibit your ability to lose weight without surgery.
Is Weight-Loss Surgery the Easy Way Out?
After years of trying diet and exercise programs to lose weight, many people turn towards bariatric surgery. But rather than a first solution, bariatric surgery is a last resort for when more traditional weight-loss methods fail.
When you visit your doctor to discuss bariatric surgery, he or she will ask you lots of questions about your past and present to determine whether or not you’re a good candidate. To qualify for Bariatric surgery, you must be willing to follow a strict diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle long-term. Depending on your surgery, you may also need to be extremely diligent about taking vitamins and supplements on a daily basis.
Why is it so important that someone who undergoes bariatric surgery is willing to make these lifelong commitments?
Let’s take a look at Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery as an example. This surgery reduces the size of your stomach, limiting how much you can eat at any given time. After this surgery, you will need to follow these guidelines:
- Drink water throughout the day: To avoid dehydration, you will need to concentrate on drinking water and other liquids throughout the day. This is important because you will not be able to drink as much at one time.
- Keep your meals small: Because your stomach will be smaller, you will need to eat smaller meals.
- Eat and drink slowly: When you do eat and drink, you will need to do so slowly so you do not get uncomfortably full.
- Take supplements daily: One of the most important things that you must do indefinitely after gastric bypass surgery is to take certain vitamins and minerals. This is due to an alteration in nutrient absorption following surgery.
- Eat more protein and less fat and sugar: It’s important to get enough protein, and much harder to do so after gastric bypass surgery. You will need to prioritize eating low-fat, high-protein foods. Additionally, you will need to avoid high-sugar and high-fat foods as they can cause dumping syndrome.
Even gastric sleeve surgery, which is a simpler procedure than gastric bypass surgery, requires lifelong lifestyle changes to stay healthy and see results. You will find similar guidelines for the more intensive duodenal switch surgery.
Bariatric Surgery Is for Those Who Are Dedicated
Bariatric surgery isn’t for those who want a quick weight loss fix. It’s for those who have tried hard to lose weight and haven’t been able to do so. Bariatric surgery is ideal only if you are willing to change your lifestyle long-term to achieve lifelong results.