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Weight Loss Surgery Options: Dealing With Family and Friends

Family and friends of people considering weight loss surgery options ask a lot of questions. They may be well-meaning, even if they don’t know everything you’ve gone through in an effort to lose weight, and even though they have no idea how you feel every day. They often ask or say:

“Why can’t you just do it on your own?”

“Can you not just cut back food and start exercising?”

“Surgery is the easy way out.” 

These familiar questions and statements don’t recognize that weight loss surgery is a last resort for permanent weight loss. Individuals who are considering having surgery have exhausted all other measures and attempts to lose weight. Most of them have struggled with their weight for the majority of their lives, and they have tried numerous diets, diet pills and exercise several times without significant results.

Obesity is a complex, chronic metabolic disease. It’s not just an excess of body tissue and fat or a lack of willpower. It is a disease influenced by many interconnected factors such as:

  • Genetics
  • Environment (food availability, amount and type)
  • Behaviors (level of physical activity)
  • Psychological profile (stress management and willpower)
  • Physiology (body build and other conditions)
  • Metabolic (metabolism and hormonal activity) 

Timing for Weight Loss Surgery Options

Weight loss surgery options aren’t for individuals who only need to lose 10-30 pounds of weight. It is meant for those who have a significant amount of weight to lose (a body mass index, or BMI, of at least 35) that cannot be accomplished with diet and exercise alone. When talking with family and friends about your reason to explore weight loss surgery, it may be helpful to know that a research study cited in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Surgery) predicted:

  • The opportunity to achieve a BMI of less than 30 after bariatric surgery is optimal for patients who begin with a BMI of less than 40.
  • Delaying surgical treatment until a BMI is 50 or greater can result in inferior outcomes.
  • Achieving a BMI of less than 30 makes it more likely to be able to decrease or discontinue medication for other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • The study also saw a remission in sleep apnea for those who achieved a BMI less than 30.

Weight loss surgery options are also far from being a “cop out” or “the easy way out” when it comes to losing weight. The surgery is only a tool that aids with portion control, and it will keep individuals from feeling as hungry as they did before surgery. The surgery can also help them in their effort to achieve a healthy weight. However, healthy food choices and exercise are necessary in order to be successful long term. The decision to have weight loss surgery is a lifestyle change; it is not a quick fix.

Attending a seminar and/or talking with a bariatric doctor can help you understand if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery options. It gives you an opportunity to get questions answered, and get the information you need to make the decision “yes, no or not now” for weight loss surgery.