Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is Bariatric Surgery the Easy Answer to Weight Loss Success?

Bariatric surgery is a catch-all term. It includes any type of surgery that is conducted as a way to lose weight. Is surgery the way to lose weight successfully? Is it, as some derisive people claim, the "easy way out?"

Personally, I don't believe there is any magic "bullet" that will result in weight loss success...I don't think there is an "easy way out" and I don't think there is any one solution that is perfect for every body. We are all unique, we have different bodies, different lifestyles, different temperments and different health conditions.

And I've known a few people who have had weight loss surgery. I'd say it is anything but easy.

One type of surgery is "Lap Band"...which is done through an incision through the abdomen so it is less invasive than other surgeries. The concept is that people will have to eat less at a sitting because of the silicone band that is placed around part of the stomach. It is adjustable...and can be replaced if needed. This is a newer type of least here in the United States.

Supposedly more effective, but more invasive, is the Gastric Bypass surgery. There are actually many different types of Gastric Bypass, but in any case the surgeon physically changes the stomach and/or intestines, allowing for less room for food.

Weight loss from these surgeries can be quite dramatic. We've seen famous cases like Al Roker and Carnie Wilson...some with great results and others who seem to struggle.

The truth is, there are risks with any surgery...and bariatric surgery is no exception. There is a very real risk of complications, including death, from the surgery itself. Post-op complications include blood clots and the lovely condition called "dumping syndrome" which can be nausea, vomiting and diarrhea caused by food moving too quickly through the system.

The literature will tell you the only way to ultimately reach your ideal weight--and to have permanent weight loss, is to watch what you eat and exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic weight loss success requires permanent changes to your lifestyle.

Easy? Hardly. Short cut? Maybe, maybe not.

I know I considered surgery at one time in my life when I didn't think anything else would work. I felt like I had tried every diet and exercise plan out there without success. So I am not about to criticize anyone for deciding to go that route.

Is it necessary? Is it a good idea? The right choice? I can't say...that is completely up to the individual to decide. But I do know that it is not magic...the surgery alone will not solve the problem...especially not if you eat for emotional reasons!

Personally, I'm glad I didn't have the surgery when I thought about it. I wouldn't have been ready emotionally for it and I don't think I would have been a long-term success. And how frustrating would that be to go through the surgery only to gain weight back.

No matter what option you choose for your weight loss journey, be sure that you mindset is right. Work there first. Make sure you learn to express your emotions rather than eating through them. These skills will allow you to achieve your healthy, slender body...whether you do that by counting calories, by surgery, or by deciding to Refuse to Diet like me!

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