Is Weight Loss Surgery for Me?

2 posts in this topic

Weight loss surgery is a life-changing event, and not something to be undergone lightly. Some weight loss surgery candidates know that weight loss surgery is for them, but many others are unsure whether it is time for them to get weight loss surgery. At best, it can help you lose weight and get your life back. At worst, it can cause complications or make you miss your old way of life.

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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    • Daisy30uk

      Hi, my name is Karen and I had my bypass surgery on October 11th 2017. I had been researching various kinds of weight loss surgery for a while, first in the UK where I was born and lived until 7 years ago, and then in the US. I first looked at the band back in 2008 but the process in the UK was long and expensive and my bariatric surgeon was very unfriendly and very conceited. I had to put things on hold when we decided to make the move to the US and it took some time to get life set up here. In 2013 I broke my knee - the tibial plateau in particular, and was not allowed to weight bear for nearly 12 weeks. Of course, I packed on more pounds during that time and even worse, the rehabilitation from that injury was made significantly harder by being morbidly obese. In 2015 I decided that I had had enough and I contacted a surgeon in the local area. I started the process to get approved by insurance and part of that was a six month supervised diet. During that time I lost over 50 lbs and the nutritionist encouraged me to carry on losing by myself without the surgery. That worked for a while, but stress and going back to work meant a return to my old habits and the weight soon came back. Before I could put all of those 50 lbs back on, I got back in contact with my surgeon as I had decided that I really could not do this on my own. Insurance accepted my six months supervised weight loss from the previous attempt so all I had to do was get the psych evaluation done again plus an EGD. That surprisingly took way longer than I imagined since the surgeon's office managed to mess up both appointments plus leave me out of pocket for the psych eval. Anyway, my papers finally got submitted this September, insurance approved me within 4 days and surgery took place just over six weeks ago. I am down 31 lbs from my highest weight and 23 lbs from my surgery weight and feeling so much better already. My now arthritic knee (from the break) is benefiting from the weight loss and clothes that had once again become too tight to wear are now fitting nicely again. It's early days but I am happy with how things are going!
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    • Newme69

      Pre-op diet starts Monday 20 and Thanksgiving non Thursday, I don't know how this is going to work.
      · 7 replies
      1. shedo82773

        I'm so glad this helped you. Another thing "Take it one day at a time"!!! Just think you are getting so close to your journey. Keep on doing it for yourself!!!

      2. JadeVT

        It's a lot easier than you think, trust! I would do the trusty Premier Protein for Breakfast and Lunch (with water (flavored/unflavored in between both meals and after), then for dinner, I didn't have to worry about cooking too much, b/c I made broth. I have this amazing Asian Thai-Flavored Chicken broth that is absolutely delicious if you want the recipe! :) After my broth, I had a SF popsicle and a SF Jello, and I was full and good to go.

        Don't listen to the negative people that talk about it being "miserable", it's not. It's only miserable if you think it is. It's actually pretty freeing. Like, you know you're going to stick to it, so the free food at work or the fast food places on the way home don't bother you. You'll start looking forward to the broth lol. Not to mention, you will see weight come off and feel so much better. Also, this will prepare you for your Post-Op eating (which for a while, will be just liquids) and that will be a breeze.

        You got this, don't worry about the holidays or whatever, just focus on the goal. :)

        BTW, I stuck to mine and lost 33lbs in 2 weeks.

      3. Newme69

        Wow, great job. Thanks for the advise. I sure would like the recipe for the broth. To be honest, I'm not really feeling this holiday. I'm looking forward to my new beginnings. I hope my experience is similar to yours.

      4. JadeVT

        Thai Inspired Chicken Broth

        • 1 tsp of Better Than Bouilion Roasted Chicken paste (little goes a long way)
        • 2.5 cups of water
        • dash of lime juice (RealLime brand is what I use)
        • 1 tbsp of Huy Fong Chili Garlic Paste (not Sriracha in the has sugar -- I've attached a photo for reference) - optional
        • 1 small dash of soy sauce (low sodium)
        • 1 dash of garlic powder/onion powder (no salt)
        • 1 scoop of kimchee - strained out after cooking -- also optional

        Try it out and tell me how it goes. You could also do a Thanksgiving inspired chicken broth with some seasonings like Rosemary and Sage. :D


      5. Newme69

        Thank you so much......☺:)


      6. View All Replies
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