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Weight Loss Surgery Issues
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To help you prepare for a life-changing journey

 We are frequently asked about our opinion regarding weight loss surgery, so here it is:  Weight loss surgery can be a lifesaver for the properly prepared and motivated patient in the hands of a skilled and caring surgeon.

 Emotional overeating is but one causative factor in our current epidemic of obesity.  Discovering and resolving the emotional obstacles to healthy weight management is a key step toward success, but once you’ve achieved that, the sad fact is that your body may or may not cooperate with the effort to lose weight.  Metabolic and genetic factors, many of which are not well understood, can stand in the way of losing significant amounts of weight.  Many dieters hit a plateau after losing about ten percent of their initial body weight, and at that plateau progress ceases, sometimes for lengthy periods.  At a plateau, the standard calorie in/calorie out formulas seem not to apply, and it is extremely demoralizing to be working so hard and seeing so little payoff.  It seems that many overweight individuals have bodies that resist shedding pounds, for reasons that are unclear.

 So, for one who is “morbidly obese,” i.e., in excess of 100 pounds overweight, and who is also dealing with related health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes, surgery may be the only answer to permanent weight loss and restored health.  If you are in this boat and are considering weight loss surgery, here are some suggestions for helping to ensure that you have a positive outcome:

 · Do your homework.  Those who do the best with weight loss surgery are fully informed about what they’re getting into.  They are aware of all the risks and benefits, and they are well prepared for what’s required post-op.  There is a substantial amount of information available about gastric bypass procedures, both on the Internet and in published literature. 

· Set realistic expectations.  Weight loss surgery is but a tool, and your outcome is dependent upon your success in establishing permanent lifestyle changes after surgery.  Surgery is not a magic cure-all, but when put to proper use, the results can be tremendous.

· Locate an experienced surgeon.  Not all bariatric surgeons are created equal.  Find someone who has done the surgery for many years and who has an excellent track record regarding outcomes and complications.  Don’t trust your life to a dabbler.

· Select a surgeon with an active follow-up program.  Attending support groups that many surgeons sponsor through their practices can be helpful both after surgery and in preparing for surgery.  Also, make sure your surgeon is interested in following your progress over the long term.

· Arrange sufficient social support.  You will need people around you who can assist you physically in the first few weeks to months after surgery.  You also need people who will support, not hinder, your efforts to make major changes in the way you eat and live your life. 

· Resolve emotional eating prior to surgery.  Bariatric surgery is aimed at your digestive tract, not your brain.  Unless you establish healthy, non-food ways of coping with emotional issues, you may gradually return to old habits after surgery, which may lead to sabotage of your long-term success.

· Anticipate the emotional aftermath.  Losing a substantial amount of weight is exhilarating for most surgery patients.  Lives are changed in many positive ways, but you may also encounter emotional adjustments in your self-image, emotional functioning, and intimate relationships that might not be comfortable.  Keep track of yourself emotionally as well as physically, and seek help if necessary.

For further help, contact us . . .

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Jeffrey R. Wilbert, PhD & Associates
2717 Miamisburg-Centerville Road
Mad River Station, Suite 218
Dayton, OH 45459
(937) 435-1911 (phone)
(937) 435-9977 (fax)
mail@fattitudes.com

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