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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Top 5 Reasons to Consider Weight Loss Surgery

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I used to have sort of a bad attitude about weight loss surgery. I thought it was the easy way out. I am embarrassed to admit this now, but I am pleased to tell you that my attitude has changed significantly.

The term "morbidly obese" is such an unpleasant term but it really means sickly overweight. Morbid means disease and of course obese means quite overweight. People who are appropriate for weight loss surgery are people who have significant health risks and will be more unhealthy if they keep the weight on than if they have the surgery. I am not going to even come close to telling you that the surgery doesn't have risks. It does. Serious risks. But so does carrying around an extra 100-200 pounds. Weight loss surgery isn't for everyone. Some people are actually too heavy for it because they have so many other health problems. But for many, it is an option to help them improve their health.

After having a good friend go through the procedure I can honestly say that it is definitely NOT the easy way out. You still have to work VERY hard at changing what you eat. Exercise is not an option if you want to lose the weight and keep it off. And then there are the psychological aspects. Just because you have a smaller place to put food doesn't mean your brain has changed to not desiring food or has solved the numerous reasons why you gained so much weight to begin with. Seeing a mental health counselor on a regular basis is highly recommended for the best success.

With all that said, I read an interesting newsbrief from Baylor Regional Medical Center outlining the Top 5 Medical Reasons to Consider Weight Loss Surgery:

  1. Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes: Losing enough weight can actually result in reversal of diabetes for 82% of patients in less than 2 years and 62% of patients more than 2 years after surgery (March 2009 study in American Journal of Medicine).
  2. Improved or Eliminated Hypertension: Studies vary but one study in Journal of American Medical Association in 2004 showed hypertension eliminated in 61% and significantly improved in 78% of weight loss surgery patients.
  3. Improved Fertility: Obesity affects fertility, especially in women. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that ovulatory function and pregnancy rates improve significantly after weight loss in women.
  4. Easing of joint pain: The extra weight causes a lot of extra stress and pain, so weight loss can help immensely. Some studies show pain cut in half 6 months to a year after surgery. It can also help the inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.
  5. Live longer: Different studies show different numbers, but some studies show that the lifespan can be cut by up to 20 years with morbid obesity.

And I will add my own: Quality of life. Not only will you be healthier but by losing the weight you can enjoy activities you may have avoided for years. Again, weight loss surgery is not for everyone. It is a really big decision that should be discussed in great detail with the surgeon and the team of professionals who will be helping.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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