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Will You Be Happy After Weight Loss Surgery?

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Weight loss happiness.

Do you believe that having weight loss surgery is the answer to your health problems? It might be. However, what many patients fail to realize is that fighting and preventing the reoccurrence of obesity after surgery is a never-ending problem. Before committing to last-resort measures, here’s a test you should take before deciding on weight loss surgery that may answer the question of whether it is right for you and if you will be happy afterward.

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The Importance of Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric (weight loss) surgery has been found to be the most clinically efficacious intervention in the fight against obesity for patients with severe and resistant obesity when attempts at dieting and exercise fail.

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While weight loss surgery is a last-resort measure, it is an important consideration due to obesity‐related comorbidities such as:

• Type 2 diabetes
• Cardiovascular diseases
• Sleep apnea
• Stroke

Furthermore, there are a number of other less relatively-fatal effects that are debilitating obesity‐related conditions that can significantly lower quality of life issues such as:

• Respiratory difficulties
• Infertility
• Musculoskeletal problems and limitations
• Reduced life expectancy
• Psychosocial problems

And if that isn’t enough, the costs are prohibitively high as well. One study estimates that the medical costs of people with obesity and morbid obesity are approximately 30% and 81%, respectively, higher than their normal weight counterparts. Plus, should your obesity carry you into your later years, finding elderly care that can meet the needs of an obese patient is difficult.

Therefore, depending on your circumstances and inability to lose weight through exercise and dieting, a case is made for having weight loss surgery. However, choosing to do so comes with some caveats.

The Most Important Question to Ask Before Weight Loss Surgery

The Cons of Weight Loss Surgery

Despite some important health benefits that can be achieved from weight loss surgery, there are a small number of disadvantages such as:

• It is an expensive procedure. You can expect to pay roughly $15-25K for any of the more-popular surgical procedures.

• There are postsurgical complications associated with bariatric surgery such as anastomotic leaks and bleeding, nutritional deficiencies, insufficient weight loss and/or returning weight gain; and, severe postsurgical complications that may require additional reoperations after the primary surgical procedure.

• You may feel that the surgery did not meet your expectations, leaving you feeling unhappy and depressed.

Lesser Used Surgical Method Actually Results in More Weight Loss

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In fact, a recent study that surveyed what weight loss surgery patients expected from their procedure (aside from significant weight loss) and desired the most—was a return to “normality.”

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However, what the study found was that this “normality” defined as having a choice over the ability to be more active, to be able to socialize, seek employment, find happiness and have an improved appearance, is actually linked to the control of eating behavior more than it really is to the actual surgery. In other words, if patients expectations of happiness are to be met, then it takes more than some suction and a nip and tuck or some gastric bypassing to get them there. The study points out that helping the patient achieve normality afterward is an important post-surgical consideration for follow-up.

Hence, this test below that may help you decide whether you will be happy after weight loss surgery.

The Test

After weight loss surgery, you can expect to experience early rapid weight loss. Most patients drop to their lowest weight, and then put a few to several pounds back on as their body and weight stabilize. This stabilization is typically significantly below their pre-surgery weight; but, it has to be monitored.

The most important factor affecting post-surgery success requiring monitoring, however, is your eating behavior. Has it changed for the better; or, are you slipping back into the old eat habits that brought on your obesity to begin with?

As such, here are 18 mindful tips recommended by The European Association for the Study of Obesity that every weight loss surgical patient should follow after surgery to ensure that those pounds do not come back.

1. Reduce your fat intake if it creeps up
2. Limit snacks to a maximum of 2 per day
3. Weigh yourself regularly
4. Stop eating when full
5. Avoid continuous grazing
6. Have a regular breakfast and eat regular meals
7. Eat a smaller portion of carbohydrates
8. Monitor your step count
9. Drink plenty of low-calorie fluids over the day
10. Sleep well
11. Stay physically active
12. Avoid alcohol or limit how much you drink
13. Avoid eating late at night, or during the night
14. Plan your meals in advance
15. Eat your protein portion first at meals
16. Cut out sugar sweetened beverages
17. Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables (not fruit juice/ smoothies)
18. Manage stress without using food as the solution (if possible)

These 18 tips can be your personal test to see if you have what it takes to keep those pounds off after surgery. Try following all 18 for just one week. Don’t worry about whether you will or do see a change in your bathroom scale. Your goal here is to get through all 18 points for just one week. If you are successful, try it for a month and see if you can achieve all eighteen.

The Secret of Stay-Off Weight Loss

The point here is that if you do have weight loss surgery, you will have to follow the 18 points anyways in order to maintain your weight loss. Your results from this self-test just may give you the answer to whether weight loss surgery is the right decision for you; and, if you can achieve happiness afterward by returning to your expectations of what normalcy means to you.

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Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.

Image Source: courtesy of Jill Wellington from Pixabay

References:

Practical Tips For Patients After Bariatric Surgery” The European Association for the Study of Obesity website.

What influences whether bariatric surgery is successful—The patients speak out” C. Homer et al. AD14‐09 Abstract Discussion from the 2020 European and International Conference on Obesity provided by Obesity Reviews Aug. 2020.

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