Nobody wants to be overweight. If you’re heavy, then you probably have already read plenty of diet books and tried plenty of things to lose weight. You already know the most important rule: calories in vs. calories out determines the rate at which you gain or lose weight. You already know that exercise is important, but that no amount of exercise can undo the damage of a bad diet. You know that a good diet features “whole foods,” natural and unprocessed products like meats and vegetables, and you know that the plant foods are the ones that most people eat too few of. You know that you should balance your three macro-nutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and fat – and you know that most people have two much of the latter two.
You know all of this, and yet you still can’t lose weight.
For the drastically overweight, losing weight can become incredibly difficult. That’s something of a paradox: maintaining a ton of weight isn’t actually easy for your body to do, and extra-heavy people who do diet tend to lose weight quickly at first. But losing weight isn’t the same as keeping it off, and people who have been obese for a long time have set themselves up for a tough journey. Ingrained habits make it tough to choose healthy foods or eat less. An enlarged stomach, stretched by years of overeating, feels empty when it should feel full.
When the situation becomes dire, people in this situation should see a doctor at Express Pharmacy to recommend what to do next.
Surgery: a life-saving option
When nothing else is working, very overweight individuals need to consider surgical options. While it may be difficult for us to admit that we need the help of a medical procedure, it’s vital that we make the best decision for our health. And surgery’s stigma is unearned: it’s not an “easy way out” at all, and requires serious dedication on the part of the patient.
There are a few different options for weight loss surgery. Liposuction is the famous method by which fat is sucked from the body through a tube. Recovery is painful, and the procedure doesn’t treat the root causes of obesity. It may be combined with other surgeries.
Several surgeries target the gastrointestinal system, including multiple methods that shrink the stomach.
Vertical banded gastroplasty surgery (stomach stapling) uses a band like a belt around the stomach (as the name suggests, the procedure also uses staples). The idea is to create a small upper pouch in the stomach, which will fill up more quickly than the full stomach would, limiting how much a patient can eat at a time.
Sleeve gastectomy (gastric sleeve surgery) works by actually removing part of the stomach. How much? A lot of it: about 75-80%. The new, smaller stomach fills up faster, meaning that the patient feels full and stops eating. A patient that once had a huge, stretched stomach now has a small one, and consequently doesn’t eat as much.
Gastric bypass works in a different way from the other two gastric surgeries, though it is sometimes combined with them. Gastric bypass entails connecting the intestines to a spot earlier in the digestive process, such as the esophagus. When patients eat food, it will hit a fork in the road – some will head to the stomach to be fully digested, while the rest will head down the new intestinal connection. The calories in the stuff that skips the stomach are not fully absorbed. Gastric bypass is often combined with one of the other gastric surgeries.
Your doctor will outline your options in detail and give you a professional recommendation, and nothing here should be taken as advice.
No easy way out
These weight loss surgeries are no joke: they’re dangerous, have side-effects, and still require tons of work from the patient. They are far from an easy way out.
Surgery is always risky, and when the patient is in poor health, those risks grow. Extremely obese patients may have to lose weight before surgery is even an option. Even if you’re at a safe weight for surgery, your doctor will likely expect you to lose weight anyway. Only patients that show willpower in this way can be truly eligible for these surgeries, because excessive eating in the post-surgery recovery period can be incredibly dangerous – the newly shrunken stomach can’t handle the patient’s old diet.
Surgery can be a vital tool for the extremely obese, but (with the exception of liposuction) none of these surgeries actually does the work for the patient. Stomach-shrinking surgeries make it easier for the patient to feel full on less, but it’s still up to the patient to do the dieting and exercise that it takes to lose the weight and keep it off. Weight loss is still governed by that old rule: calories in, calories out.