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Dumb Bariatric Surgery Myths – Bariatric Edition

Dumb Bariatric Surgery Myths

There is a ton of information today online and it is very easy to make assumptions when it comes to bariatric surgery.  Bariatric surgery can be life changing and it can also save your life.  It allows you to lose a great deal of weight by way of a tool which offers restriction and sometimes restriction with malabsorption.  Let’s have a little chat about weight loss surgery and let’s go over a few of the big myths regarding these procedures.

Myth 1: Surgery is a magic bullet

I wish this to be true but in all honesty, it is not the truth.  Over the decade I have spent helping clients work through the medical travel details as well as the pre and post surgery guidelines, I am here to tell you that surgery is not the easy way out.  Surgery is only a step towards wellness but the real work needs to be done after the surgery by the person having the surgery.  Real lifestyle changes need to be made and sometimes addictions needs to be worked though.  To see real and lasting change, nutrition needs to change and habits needs to be worked on.  When clients schedule their surgery through me, I ensure a good follow up as I am a RHN who specializes in bariatric nutrition but having said that, it is the client that needs to do the actual work.  The work is constant and real so the “magic bullet” really is the work that clients are willing to do and not the surgery itself.

Myth 2: All bariatric clients regain all of the weight

Yes, some people who have bariatric surgery will have a re-gain years post surgery but it does not need to be this way.  This re-gain is not due to the surgery, this re-gain is due to allowing poor habits to creep back into the lifestyle post weight loss.  In order to avoid this regain, it is important to adopt new lifestyle habits and to embrace a healthier way of living.  If regain has occurred, it is always possible to use the bariatric tool to get control of the regain and to go back to the bariatric basics through nutrition and exercise and lowering stress levels and sleeping better.  We all go through good times and bad times so try not to be so hard on yourself if you do not have a perfect diet all of the time.  Strive to make better decisions the next time you eat/drink.

Myth 3: Obesity is less of a risk than surgery

Being overweight used to come with a stigma of lack of willingness to change or a lack of desire to put in the effort to lose weight.  Today there is more understanding but we still have a long way to go.  Obesity is a real disease and it is also linked to many other diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the list goes on and on and on.  If obesity is not treated it can lead to a much shorter life span.  

Laparoscopic bariatric surgery today is considered very safe.  The complication rates when compared to a gallbladder surgery, appendectomy and hysterectomy are the same as that of a gastric bypass.  When researching the studies done, it is shown that obese patients that have bariatric surgery are able to reduce their mortality rate by up to 89% over those people who are obese and decide not to undergo bariatric surgery.

Myth 4: Eat what you like post bariatric surgery but only small quantities.

This is absolutely untrue.  We just wish it was this way but the reality is that if you consume smaller amounts of foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates (think fast food and frappuccino’s), your weight loss will be hindered at a certain point.  If you want real lifelong changes post bariatric surgery, you need to do the work and make the lifestyle changes to encourage long-lasting results.  I am not telling you to eat foods you don’t like, but doing an overhaul of your unhealthy habits is a good place to start.  This is a lifelong journey of learning about food and how food can fuel your body.  

I support you on your journey to a healthier you.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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