Surgical Operations
Non-Surgical Options

Surgical Options – You might need a different kind of start for your new healthy lifestyle plan.  Endoscopic procedures are incision-free and are one option for weight loss.  The procedure requires anesthesia, and then tubes and surgical instruments are inserted down the throat for access to the stomach.  That may not sound so pleasant but it is painless. One endoscopic procedure involves reducing the size of the stomach with stitches, to limit the amount of food a patient is able to eat at one time.  Another option is to place a balloon in the stomach to reduce the amount of room for food.  For patients with a BMI of 30 or greater, these procedures may help when diet and exercise have been unsuccessful.  These procedures do not replace the need for a healthy diet and exercise, but rather work with them for successful results.  Patients who are able to change their habits with these procedures can expect anywhere from a 5% to 20% loss of their total body weight.

Bariatric Surgery

There have been hundreds of thousands of successful surgeries to help people with this deadly disease.  Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, can help weight loss success by surgically limiting the amount of food patients can eat after the procedure.  It can also decrease food absorption.  While weight loss surgery, combined with adopting healthy habits, can help greatly with weight loss, it is important to understand the risks and potential complications from it.

Candidates for weight loss surgery may have tried other weight loss programs that haven’t worked.  Patients with a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35-39.9 with comorbidities like diabetes or high blood pressure, may want to consider weight loss surgery.  Some people have lost more than 35% of their total body weight after weight lost surgery.  However, weight loss surgery is not a cure, and must be accompanied by a commitment to make permanent healthy lifestyle changes.

There are a variety of weight loss surgeries, and a doctor can evaluate which one is the best fit for various patients.  Gastric bypass surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) involves the surgeon making a pouch at the top of the stomach, and connecting the small intestine to the pouch to that food bypasses the stomach.

 Another kind of weight loss surgery is gastric banding.  During this surgery, the surgeon divides the stomach into two pouches using an inflatable band.  The surgeon cinches the band to make a small channel between the pouches.  The band keeps the stomach from expanding, limiting the space for food.

 A biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS) is a less-common weight loss surgery beginning with a sleeve gastrectomy, which means that about 80% of the stomach is removed. The valve that releases food to the small intestine (the pyloric valve) remains, along with a limited portion of the small intestine that normally connects to the stomach (duodenum). The separated section of the intestine is reattached to the end of the intestine to allow bile and digestive juices to flow into this part of the intestine.

A Gastric sleeve surgery by itself involves removing part of the stomach, so there is less room for food. This surgery is less complicated than a BPD/DS or a gastric band.

Although not what you might think of surgery, in 2014, the FDA approved a new technology for adults with a BMI of 35-45 and at least one condition related to obesity, like type 2 diabetes.  This technology is a vagal nerve blockade.  A device is implanted under the skin on the abdomen, and it sends electrical pulses to the vagus nerve, which is the nerve that communicates to the brain about hunger.

A New Beginning

Weight gain after a weight loss treatment is an unfortunate but common situation.  It can be even more common when weight loss treatments involve medication that is halted, or when permanent healthy changes to diet and exercise were not successfully implemented.

Regular exercise is extremely important to maintain weight loss, and 45 to 60 minutes per day is ideal.  With an increase in fitness, it is possible for most people to try additional kinds of exercise to stay motivated and have fun staying fit.  A doctor can advise about what kinds of exercises are safe during any step of a weight loss journey.

To maintain a healthy weight, one must maintain healthy habits including eating and exercise.  Staying committed to your health and fitness takes dedication and hard work, and it is rewarded with better health, both physical and mental.  There are numerous resources in person and online that can help motivate and support you as you lose and maintain your weight loss and change your lifestyle.

Rethink.  Renew.

A number of strategies have been proven to help weight loss success. Education is important to take control of your journey.  Books about nutrition can help inform you about calories and healthy eating.  Self-help books will offer effective strategies for overcoming bad habits and implementing new ones, and there are even good books about fitness to help with your fitness goals.

It is important to set achievable goals for weight loss. Attempting to lose weight too quickly is a recipe for failure.  Healthy weight loss is slow and consistent, and daily and weekly goals for exercise and weigh loss can help keep momentum going.

 We all have problems with change even if they are small changes in our lives.  For most people, changing life long bad habits is difficult, and it is all too easy to start to slip back into familiar and unhealthy ways of life.  A doctor or therapist can help formulate strategies for permanent healthy changes and long-term weight loss success.

In addition to health care professionals, family and friends can offer support on your weight loss journey. You won’t believe how many Facebook support groups (and other online websites) there are for your particular new quest.  Identify those around you who will support your efforts and encourage you. In person support groups and online groups can add layers to your support system.

Track your activity and eating to help hold yourself accountable and identify your habits and behaviors. A log of exercise can be kept on paper or on a spreadsheet, and there are multiple apps for smartphones that can enhance your food and exercise logs with charts, calorie counting, and motivation.  Do whatever works for you to keep a record.  If it starts to feel like a burden, look for an alternate way to keep track of your habits.

Changing your habits is about retraining your brain. One way to do that is to figure out what triggers you to eat, such as boredom, accessibility of food, or watching TV.  Find ways to overcome these triggers like removing tempting food from the house, exercise to relieve boredom, and saying no to snacking in the living room.

Weight loss medications and other medications for conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes are important and should be taken as directed.  Talk you your doctor if you have side effects or other challenges associated with taking your medicine correctly.

Coping and support

Do you need or want a new challenge?  Losing weight is a challenge, and developing coping skills is essential for long-term success. Keeping a journal can be a positive way to reflect on feelings associated with eating, weight loss, and obesity.  Pain, anger, fear, and other emotions are a normal part of any challenge, and writing about them is an effective way to cope.

Finding support among family, friends, or even online can be a lifeline. Joining a support group or a walking club can help connect you with other who are on a weight loss journey.  Losing a significant amount of weight does not happen overnight. It takes focus and determination. Keep your goals in mind and remember that only you can succeed in reaching them.   And try to learn to relax and manage your stress without food and alcohol.  Techniques like meditation and regular exercise can greatly reduce stress in a healthy way.

Ready to Start?

If you are ready to begin a successful weight lost journey, prepare to talk with your doctor about all of your concerns and history.  Sometimes, a general practitioner will refer you to someone who specializes in obesity.  Often, a team is involved, including a therapist and a nutritionist.

Personal Responsibility

Most people dislike that they made bad choices over a period of time.  Well, ultimately, the person in charge of your success is you. It is important to stay engaged and motivated, because no one can lose the weight for you. Be prepared for your appointments by thinking about questions beforehand, and think about taking notes during the appointment.  You may want to ask your doctor what the likely causes of your weight gain are and what habits and activities lead to it.  Ask whether you have other health problems related to your weight, like high blood pressure, and as whether medical procedures may increase your chances for success.

Your Doctor’s Responsibilities

Your doctor will weigh you, record your height and vital signs, and conduct a basic physical. Additionally, your doctor should ask you about your eating and exercise habits, when you started to struggle with your weight, questions about your mental health, and triggering events for weight gain. Be honest with your doctor about how much you eat in a day, how much activity you get, and what you believe contributed to your weight gain.  You should also explain how your weight affects your daily life, any previous attempts you have made to lose weight, and what your weight loss goals are.

Change Starts Today

Yes it does!  Keeping a food and exercise log prior to your appointment will help you accurately describe your eating and activity levels to your doctor. While consulting with a doctor is wise for some changes, you can begin eating healthier and increasing your activity level before your first appointment.  Replace sugary or fatty foods with vegetables and whole grains, and reduce the amount you eat each day.  Gradually increase your activity.  For some people, than can mean something as small as a ten minute walk.  Prepare and take baby steps. Surgical Operations.