Feel like you’re fighting the losing end of the weight management battle? You’re not alone.
More than two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and it’s not because of a shortage of exercise and dietary options.
The reality is that lasting behavior change is incredibly challenging. For consumers who struggle with their weight, lasting behavior change and weight loss requires uprooting years’ worth of challenging food habits and emotional scripts that dictate how the individual uses/consumes food.
For certain individuals, their weight has become a medical issue so severe that a hasty medical intervention is necessary to reduce the risk of serious and imminent risk to a patient’s life.
While most patients who struggle with their weight do not require bariatric surgery as a weight management measure, bariatric surgery may be a good option for those whose weight poses a serious risk to their immediate health.
However, that’s not to say that surgery is without risk: on the contrary, bariatric procedures are serious and invasive medical procedures that often carry with them a slew of side effects, some of which may be life threatening in themselves.
If you are considering bariatric surgery in an attempt to lose weight, there are a few things you should consider prior to surgical consultation.
1. History of Prior Intervention.
General outpatient dietetics services are often a poor match for patients, as they do not offer a high enough level of personalization or care.
If you struggle with your weight (and especially if you struggle with emotional or behavioral aspects of weight management), it’s a good idea to consult with a Nutritionist focusing in Obesity Management, and/or a therapist who can work with you in an effort to control your weight with non-surgical dietary intervention, including cognitive behavioral therapies and an individual dietary treatment plan.
2. Current Health Condition.
All bariatric procedures involve some form of alteration to the gastrointestinal tract. This may include bypass procedures, surgical bands, or balloon procedures.
Regardless of procedure type, all include risk to the patient and lead to alterations in the function of the gastrointestinal tract, which may be serious and inadvertently reduce a patient’s quality of life.
If your BMI is not in excess of 40 and you do not have any comorbidities related to your weight (high blood pressure, heart disease, etc), surgery may not be a good option.
3. Success Rates.
Bariatric surgery is just a tool and does not guarantee lasting or significant weight loss.
On average, a patient may lose between 15-30% of their starting weight. However, many patients (as much as 50%) regain weight later on, and continue to struggle in dietary modification as a result of changing dietary needs after surgery.