Bariatric surgery is not just an operation. It’s not a fad diet. It’s a lifestyle change. From the psychological to the physical aspect, everything must be in place for a person to be successful. If you’re considering bariatric surgery, here are seven things you should know:
- It takes mental preparation. There’s a lot of preparation before surgery to make sure patients are ready. We teach our patients the necessary skills for a successful journey after the surgery. For example, instead of turning to food, we teach our patients to find healthy alternatives when dealing with stress. We have a team of specialists, like a psychologist and a dietitian, who work with patients before and after surgery to prepare them for their new life.
- You’ll be eating smaller portion sizes. A successful surgery results in decreased portion sizes. We reduce the size of the stomach, or change the way that the food is digested in the gastrointestinal tract so you can’t eat as much in one sitting.
- Expect realistic, not idealistic, results. Bariatric surgery isn’t a cosmetic procedure, but a tool that helps people lead a healthier lifestyle. The focus shouldn’t be on reaching what you may consider an ideal weight, but instead getting down to a weight that’s healthy for you so you can enjoy life.
- This doesn’t just treat obesity. In patients with obesity, bariatric surgery is one of the best treatments for type II diabetes. In fact, many patients can completely stop taking their diabetes medications. Aside from diabetes, there’s a list of conditions associated with obesity such as heart disease, sleep apnea, and breast cancer that bariatric surgery treats or decreases the risk of. Weight loss is a secondary benefit.
- Results are durable. We expect patients to lose 50-70% of their excess weight in the first six months to a year after surgery. It’s rare for patients to gain weight back to the level they were before surgery, and even if they do gain, other medical conditions are decreased.
- You’re not alone. There’s a lot of stigma associated with obesity and weight loss. One of my focuses is to try to break down those barriers. Majority thinks that losing weight is as simple as eating right and exercising, but there are a lot of different factors that can contribute to obesity like the environment, genetics, and metabolism. It’s challenging to fight your metabolism, and surgery changes your metabolic start point. Perhaps you used to require 2,000 calories, but after surgery you may require less.
- This will change your life. For someone struggling with obesity, undergoing bariatric surgery is one of the most effective and dramatic transformations. The biggest enjoyment for me is seeing what patients can now do after the surgery. Patients will tell me they went kayaking or mountain climbing, or even that they finally get to shop in a new part of the department store. It’s really amazing to hear these stories of people who are just re-engaging with their lives. The medical and emotional changes that can happen are truly life-changing.
If you’re considering weight loss surgery or have more questions, download South Shore Hospital’s Weight-Loss Surgery App, or attend a free seminar led by medical experts to figure out the best option for you.