Don’t worry – the title will all make sense at the end of this post (I hope). I’ve long struggled with whether to touch on the topic of weight loss surgery- mainly because I have family members & friends who’ve opted to go this route. I didn’t want my thoughts to be mistaken as “judgy” or cruel. Let me state for the record, I don’t view weight loss surgery, stomach stapling, gastric bypass/sleeve or whatever new technique they’ve got going in the bariatric surgery world as a quick and easy fix. It’s NOT. Just ask anyone who’s gone through it!
Every so often, I’ll get asked what I think about weight loss surgery. I’m not sure if folks ask just to get my personal perspective as a weight loss success story myself or my professional thoughts as a former certified personal trainer. Maybe it’s a bit of both. But I always have to pause calmly before answering because, truth be told, the subject can rile me up. I’ll even go into little rages at the TV when the new year rolls around & with it a sudden influx of ads for the big guns of bariatric surgery here in NC: Duke and Rex.
Why am I blogging about it today? Because of this picture that popped up on Radar Online– which rather gleefully reported Star Jones has regained 80 pounds she lost after bariatric surgery.
Star Jones may not be my favorite person in the world (I was one of those miffed at the fact she was so secretive about the reason for her sudden weight loss after her surgery), but I feel bad for her. I’m one of those people who finds tabloid magazine’s obsession with picking apart celebrity flaws to be- well, gross. Rude. Pointless. Mean. She’s a woman in a bathing suit. And the fact she’s regained weight after gastric bypass? Not so shocking at all folks at Radar.
And this, my friends, is what prompted me to write today. Forking out $20,000-$25,000 on an invasive & risky surgery is not going to magically fix whatever issues you’ve had when it comes to food & exercise before surgery. You’ll still have to make some significant lifestyle changes. Heck, they are going to be FAR more significant than those made by most folks on the quest to lose weight. You’ll have to go through phases of eating (transitioning from a liquid diet to pureed foods to soft solid foods to solids), restricting yourself to several small meals throughout the day, endure what’s called “dumping” syndrome after eating foods high in sugar or fat, taking supplements, eating and drinking slowly.
The surgery will not be a guarantee you’ll lose weight or keep it off if you go back to old habits. Make no mistake, like any invasive surgery, – weight loss surgery comes with a number of risks. Whether the risks are worth the potential reward is YOUR call.
On a personal level, back at 240 pounds I never gave weight loss surgery a thought. I really didn’t. And it’s not because I thought it was the “easy” way out and I was better or more noble for going the diet route. Not at all. I simply didn’t think of it as an option- cost being a big factor (I was, after all, a single Mom) and the thought of my stomach being sectioned off to prevent overeating seemed barbaric to me. Keep in mind this was 10 years ago…but I still get queasy thinking about what’s done in a weight loss surgery even with more advanced technology & surgical technologies.
On a professional level, I’m conflicted. I can understand the frustration, the desperation that would lead someone to a weight loss surgery center’s doorstep. Those that ask me what I think about whatever surgery they’re considering, I have to step back and put myself in their shoes so I don’t go on a tough love vent that winds up more “tough” than “love.”
I want them to take a long, clear look at the choices they’ve made, how long they’ve actually spent “trying” everything before giving up and whether they’re ready to change their mindset as well. Because they’ll have to- and that is the HARDEST part in keeping weight off, regardless of how you managed to lose it in the first place.
Just ask Star.