HEALTHY WEIGHT: Weight-loss surgery is not a panacea

2014-04-09T00:00:00Z HEALTHY WEIGHT: Weight-loss surgery is not a panaceaBy DR. KATHLEEN T. BASKETT For The Gazette The Billings Gazette

Q. Dear Dr. Baskett: I am going to have bariatric surgery. What can I do to make sure that I will be successful after my surgery?

A. It is important to think about this. Any bariatric surgery will offer you a great tool to manage your weight. Yet, none of these surgeries is a cure for the chronic disease of obesity. You will still need to “work at it.” It is estimated that about 30 percent of bariatric surgery patients will regain some of their lost weight. Often, with this weight regain, the associated co-morbidities such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea will come back.

Patients who have had post-surgical weight regain attribute this to lack of accountability and motivation, inadequate support and unresolved emotional issues.

Several studies have been done to look at what distinguishes people who have had bariatric surgery and have been successful in maintaining the weight loss from those who have not been able to do so. These studies point to the following:

Accountability

Weighing regularly

Seeing bariatric doctor regularly

Attending support group on a regular basis. (Successful patients are three times more likely to attend support group.)

Portion control

Following the bariatric eating plan

Not snacking and grazing throughout the day

Weighing and measuring your foods

Nutrition

Monitor calories throughout the day

Staying away from high-sugar foods

Not eating in front of the TV or “on the run”

Using protein drinks daily

Taking in adequate protein

Maintaining food records

Fluid intake

Avoiding carbonated beverages

Avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol

Not drinking with meals

Exercise

30-60 minutes of cardio 5-7 times a week

Strength training

Vitamins/minerals

Using bariatric vitamins and omega 3 supplements

The take-home point is that weight loss surgery is not a panacea. It is about making a commitment to lifestyle change and “walking the talk.” If you believe you will be successful, you will. This is a journey that doesn’t end.

Dr. Kathleen T. Baskett is medical director of the St. Vincent Healthcare Weight Management Clinic and author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight.”

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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