Is Weight Loss Surgery for Me?

2 posts in this topic

How do you know whether weight loss surgery is for you? Will it be the weight control solution you have been searching for for years? Or will it be a decision you regret? Nobody can answer that for you, but here are some considerations as you think about whether weight loss surgery is for you.

The Qualifying Criteria

You are not a candidate for bariatric surgery unless you meet certain criteria set by your surgeon or, if applicable, your healthcare coverage plan. The standard criteria are:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40 or BMI 35 with an obesity-related comorbidity, such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or sleep apnea.
  • Confirmation that your obesity is not caused by an underlying condition that would make weight loss surgery ineffective.
  • A psychological exam to show that you are capable of sticking to the post-op diet and lifestyle changes that are necessary.
  • Previous documented attempts at losing weight with diet and exercise.

Ineffectiveness of Previous Efforts

Weight loss surgery is a last resort, not a first try at losing weight. It is for patients who have been obese for years and who have tried to lose weight using lifestyle changes, such as a modified diet plan and a formal exercise program. Many weight loss surgery patients try “every diet under the sun” before deciding that it is time for WLS. They may have had trouble losing any weight at all, or may have lost weight initially but been unable to keep it off.

Readiness to Change

Weight loss surgery is just the beginning. The way you eat after weight loss surgery determines how well you will be able to control your weight for the rest of your life. You need to be ready to change if you want to be successful with weight loss surgery. No longer will you be able to down a pizza or hit the drive-through on a whim.

Are you ready to possibly:

  • Give up coffee and regular and diet soda?
  • Cut sugary treats and fried foods, especially with gastric bypass?
  • Pass on the alcoholic offerings at home, parties, and restaurants?
  • Count Protein, slash carbs, and measure portions?

Addressing Other Issues

Weight gain does not always take place in a vacuum, and weight loss does not solve other problems you might have in your life. First, identify why you became overweight in the first place, and what is keeping you from losing the weight. Is weight loss surgery the answer, or do you need to first deal with an abusive relationship or lack of self-confidence, for example?

Emotional eating is a common reason for weight gain. If you tend to eat your feelings away, you are best off figuring out other ways to handle your feelings before you get surgery. Can you use walking as a form of therapy? Maybe you can join an in-person or online support group to turn to when you feel sad, lonely, or angry.

If your emotional eating is related to a specific problem, such as stress at work, your best bet may be to handle the problem before getting WLS. That could mean finding a healthy coping mechanism, or it could mean getting counseling to help you work through the source of stress. It could even mean finding a new job, as scary as that sounds.

Consider Replacement Addictions

Replacement addictions are common after weight loss surgery. They happen when you give up food – which can be an addiction – for a different addiction. Instead of turning to food for comfort, entertainment, or companionship, some weight loss surgery patients turn to “replacement addictions” or “cross addictions” They may take up smoking, or start to abuse alcohol. Replacement addictions can also be healthier than eating; some weight loss surgery patients become gym rats or take up gardening, sewing, or other hobbies.

As you consider weight-loss surgery, think about the possibility of food addiction being replaced by replacement addictions. What role does food play in your life now? What do you see replacing that emotional or physical role after surgery?

The decision to get weight loss surgery requires a lot of soul searching for most candidates. These points can help you work through some of the doubts you may have as you try to decide what is best for yourself.

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    • DedicatedLady

      Offically Day 16 of of pre-op diet. Yesterday started phase 2 which is 3-4 shakes a day plus green leafy veg and sugar free jello. I didn't like pre-made jello to start, not surprisingly it still tastes like someone poured water on a dirty carpet, squeezed it out into a jello mold with food coloring and called it "edible".. So yesterday,  I made it officially 17Hrs on my SUPER exciting selection of either vanilla or chocolate shakes before I said f**k it, I got home from work (still carrying around my half a lunch shake) and ate a miniature handful of trail mix, and a rather large piece of very dark chocolate. Actual chocolate!  For the record, I regret nothing.
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      I googled and pinterested(<--that's not a real word) recipes for Bariatric patients Post Op, and good lord there are some incredible looking things on there. I will note though that to replace grains there's a strong emphasis on just using cheese instead. I'm not a nutritionist or anything but I've flipped over a package of cheese once or twice in my life and happen to know that it is high as a kite in fat. Then again when you're making food porn, obviously more cheese looks better. Anyways, its Thursday and I need to go make cheques (<--btw the spell check for this is "squelches",wonderful..
      Moving that scale down one day at a time.
      The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
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      · 3 replies
      1. PatientEleventyBillion

        The thing with cheese is, like all things, healthy in moderation. Not processed cheese, that's junk regardless. But block cheese and string cheese.. not only is it low carb, but it's also rife with good and bat fats, in the sense of how they contribute to cholesterol in your body. I wouldn't know regarding specialized cheeses (feta, gouda, gruyere, etc.) as I hate the taste of all those.

        Regarding the pre-op, it's essential to keep your carbs to a minimum, the point of the pre-op diet is to shrink your liver and make the surgery safer. The larger it is, the slipperier it is, and/or the more damaged it is, the more risky the surgery.

      2. PatientEleventyBillion

        Also, weight loss tends to coincide with a low carb diet (metabolic mechanisms are the same between ketosis, weight loss, and liver shrinking).. so if you're doing it right you should be losing weight on the pre-op diet.

      3. DedicatedLady

        I wouldn't touch processed cheese, the chef in me refuses. The cheese was extra old cheddar and if I ate more than 28.4grams I'd be shocked. It was even a stevia sweetened chocolate bar, less sugar than my shake. I havn't touched a piece of bread, pasta, rice, pastries, sauces with added sugar, alcohol, and I don't drink pop and have never drank juice that wasn't fresh carrot. Jeez I havn't even touched carrots, peas, potatoes, green beans, fruit, legumes, milk,honey, or salad dressing. Every time I step on that scale it't gone down. I'm doing something right.;)

        The odd thing for me was that I ate peanuts, those are the cockroach of nuts, that I'd normally never touch.

    • LiciKitty

      I have hit the dreaded stall. I had surgery on May 26th, so this is a little disheartening. Trying to remind myself that this is a part of the process. It's still frustrating though. (-_-) I have been bouncing been 1.5 lbs for the past week and a half. Just have to focus on getting my water and protein in and ignore the stall. Maybe I should just hide the scale?
      · 1 reply
      1. BeautifulDisaster1991

        Stay off the scale for a good week or so. My surgery was on May 8th and up until 2 weeks ago I would weigh myself everyday, multiple times a day and would get very discouraged when I would not see any changes or see it increase by a few ounces. So now I weigh myself every Sunday morning and track my progress, the loss is there and it makes me feel so much better about my progress. Best of luck to you. Stay positive

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