There is really no “quick fix” when it comes to weight loss. Regular exercise and wise eating habits will usually do the trick. However, for some, the need to lose weight is imperative because their weight issue has become a health threat. Weight loss surgeries are thus sometimes recommended by their doctors.
It is easy to assume that these procedures are quick and effective ways to lose weight and keep it off. The truth is, weight loss surgeries are major surgeries that involve drastic changes to lifestyle and a lifetime of maintenance.
There are two approaches to weight loss surgeries:
Restrictive procedures | Decrease food intake
Commonly “stomach stapling” or “stomach band surgery”, this surgery reduces stomach capacity to have you feeling full faster, reducing the feelings of hunger which effectively reduces the amount of food consumed to result in lower calorie intake and consistent weight loss.
* Leakage from surgeries that can lead to infection, requiring prolonged hospitalization and even more surgeries.
* Long-term weight gain if something goes wrong with the operated area, e.g. stapling breaks, patient may eat too much.
* Restrictive band/ring may lead to complications of obstruction or tears, requiring surgical intervention.
* Shrinking of stomach may create a sense of fullness but not necessarily a feeling of satisfaction, which can make you want to eat more.
* Nausea and vomiting. May require hospitalization from lack of fluid replacement/nutrition with excessive vomiting and when food intake is not sufficient for the body to function.
Malabsorptive procedures | Alters digestion
Very high risk of complications. Reroutes the digestive tract to limit the absorption of calories by the intestines, in the process eliminates the digestion of essential nutrients such as protein, iron and calcium.
* Period of intestinal adaptation with symptoms such as frequent and liquid bowel movements, which could be a permanent occurrence.
* Abdominal bloating and gas.
* Possibility of protein, iron and calcium malnutrition, anemia and bone disease, which will require lifelong monitoring and lifelong vitamin supplements. If care is not taken and supplements followed, could develop lifelong problems.
* Increased risk of gallstone formation and need for removal of the gallbladder.
* Intestinal irritation and ulcers from the re-routing of bile, pancreatic and other digestive juices beyond the stomach.
* May not be able to eat any sweets.
* Same risks as restrictive procedures, at a higher intensity (more severe).
For both procedures, recovery involves sticking to strict diet and guidelines as outlined by your surgeon. Life after surgery may be a very miserable one, including depriving yourself of one of life’s greatest pleasures and that is to enjoy the food you eat. You will have to adjust to a new way of eating:
Filling up much faster, know how much the stomach can now take and adjust food intake accordingly
Learn to eat slowly, eat less and avoid drinking too much fluid especially carbonated drinks
Avoid snacking and drinking
Failure to adapt to the new way of eating can stretch the stomach and defeat the purpose of the surgery. Further, any overeating can lead to stretching or breaking of the stapled pouch leading to infection and prolonged hospitalization. Even with surgery, there is still a need to increase exercise. There is also a need to attend support group meetings. Also, have a dose of Carbofix to fix these.
There are times when people need to get off their diet, daily routine and have to go through a major and unhealthy change despite of not having a cheat day. It could be anything parties, family functions or gatherings, weddings, etc. But not missing the doses will help you in maintaining yourself in those times too.