Bariatric surgery is a personal decision. Often people come to a turning point in their lives—sometimes it’s a health scare or frustration that obesity is keeping you back from activities you love. Sometimes it can be the realization that you don’t have any recent pictures with your children because you’ve been hiding from the camera for years.
If you’re considering bariatric surgery, it can be helpful to know two important things: you’re not alone and struggling to lose weight is not a personal failing. Obesity is very common; more than a third of U.S. adults over 20 years old are obese. A person is considered morbidly obese if they are 100 pounds or more overweight, with a BMI of 40 or more. If you’re not sure of your BMI, you can check it using our BMI calculator.
Challenges in Losing Weight by Traditional Means
If you’re obese and want to lose weight, you may have struggled with a number of different tactics, including diet, exercise, and even seeking medical weight loss help. Research shows that there are reasons why many people can’t achieve or maintain long-term weight loss using these methods alone. The National Institutes of Health Experts Panel acknowledges that long-term weight loss is almost impossible for people with severe obesity, without the help of bariatric surgery. Many people choose surgery after unsuccessfully trying traditional, non-surgical weight loss methods.
Obesity is a complex health issue, and it’s not uncommon for people to be unable to achieve or sustain weight loss through dieting. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), bariatric surgery causes hormonal changes and changes the gastrointestinal anatomy, leading to improved success in significant weight loss, which typically can’t be achieved through dieting alone.
Some recent studies have shown one reason why so many people who are obese may struggle unsuccessfully with weight loss using non-surgical means. Researchers looked at the actual fat cells in the bodies of the study’s obese participants and found that the cells were oxygen-starved, inflammed, and scarred. This state makes it more difficult for obese people to lose weight using traditional methods, as the damaged fat tissue is less able to absorb extra calories from food, instead wrapping around vital organs, leading to obesity-related health problems as well.
Other studies have shown why exercise—an often-used recommendation for losing weight—is a difficult method for effective weight loss in people who are obese. The intensity of exercise needed to lose significants amounts of weight actually feels different in people who are overweight and obese, making it a strategy that is difficult to use alone for significant weight loss.
Obesity and Overall Health
The medical community agrees: obesity puts you at increased risk for a number of diseases and health conditions, including:
- sleep apnea;
- type 2 diabetes;
- hypertension (high blood pressure);
- dyslipidemia (high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides);
- heart disease and stroke;
- gallbladder disease;
- depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems; and
- some forms of cancer, including endometrial, breast, colorectal, kidney, gallbladder, pancreatic, and liver cancers.
These health conditions play a major part in why people choose bariatric surgery. An overwhelming majority of people—a full 80 percent of respondents— in a study published in Obesity Surgery, the journal of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and metabolic disorders (IFSO), cited health reasons and obesity-related medical conditions as the reason they chose to have bariatric surgery.
Former athlete Johnny was a My New Beginning patient whose decision for surgery was prompted by serious health issues caused by obesity—along with his desire to return to an athletic lifestyle and rebuild his confidence. Read about Johnny’s journey.
Regaining Mobility, Activity—Regaining Life
At My New Beginning, the bariatric surgery program of City Hospital at White Rock, we meet many people who describe a number of smaller reasons, rather than one big health scare, which led to a bariatric surgery decision. Check out some of the stories of real My New Beginning patients who talk about what made them decide to have surgery.
My New Beginning patient, Kay, talks about how her sleep apnea was just one factor that affected her decision—she didn’t have energy for activities she once loved and felt tired all the time. Another big motivator was a black leather skirt in the back of her closet that she really wanted to fit into again! Check out Kay’s weight loss story.
Pam’s deciding moment was stepping on the scale and being surprised by the number she saw, leading her to admit that she didn’t like the way she felt and looked. After realizing she couldn’t even stand to catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she knew she had to take action. Watch Pam’s weight loss story.
The Choice for Bariatric Surgery—You’re Not Alone
Each person’s weight loss journey is unique. But, if you decide to have bariatric surgery—you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of people choose to have bariatric surgery each year. My New Beginning, has a multi-disciplinary team that guides patients through the entire process, acting as an extensive support system. You can also meet other people who have gone through the surgical process or who are preparing to, by attending one of our support groups.
If you’re thinking about bariatric surgery, or if you’re ready to take the first step, give us a call at (214) 324-6127 today and let us help you.