Achieving a healthy weight can be difficult. For some people, all the willpower in the world isn’t enough and weight loss surgery is the most viable solution. Still, choosing a surgical option can be an equally difficult task. Misconceptions about bariatric procedures only compound that difficulty. Don’t let someone else’s conventional wisdom keep you from taking back control of your life. These 7 myths about weight loss surgery just don’t stand up to the science.
Myth #1: “Weight loss surgery is taking the easy way out. If you need to lose weight, you just need to diet and exercise.”
Reality: People who are obese may be resistant to weight loss due to their “set point.” For these individuals, the body can actively work against diet and exercise to maintain the amount of body fat (stored energy) the brain thinks it needs to avoid starvation. Diets may contribute to a temporary adjustment of this set point, but bariatric surgery can actually help “reset” it and eliminate the mechanisms that cause your body to maintain a heavier weight.
Myth #2: “People who have weight loss surgery eventually regain the weight.”
Reality: Bariatric surgery helps many individuals to sustain their weight loss in the long term. Weights fluctuate, of course, even after weight loss surgery. However, no more than half of all individuals who elect for a bariatric procedure permanently regain a small percentage — approximately 5% — of their lost weight.
Myth #3: “Weight loss surgery patients often become alcoholics.”
Reality: Your sensitivity to alcohol may increase following weight loss surgery. Two drinks may have the same effect that four used to have. Therefore, your doctor may you to avoid alcohol during the rapid weight-loss period immediately following surgery. Yet very few bariatric patients report experiencing problems with alcohol consumption. Of those who do struggle with alcohol abuse, research shows that most suffered from addiction problems before electing to undergo surgery.
Myth #4: “Weight loss surgery puts you at risk of other health problems.”
Reality: Weight loss surgery patients may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies following their procedures. However, this issue can be avoided if the patient works with a dietitian and adheres to the recommended post-surgery diet. Ultimately, weight loss surgery only lowers your risk of contracting other chronic conditions associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes, fatty liver disease and heart disease.
Myth #5: “If you have weight loss surgery, you can’t have kids.”
Reality: Weight loss surgery does not cause infertility. In fact, women who undergo weight loss surgery may experience healthier pregnancies and deliver healthier babies than obese women. For example, obesity puts mothers at risk of gestational diabetes, which can lead to preeclampsia, birth defects, miscarriage and oversize infants.
Myth #6: “Weight loss surgery won’t help you live longer.”
Reality: Weight loss surgery may not be the fountain of youth, but it can roll back the clock for some patients. With weight loss surgery, kidney, liver and lung function all improve. Weight loss surgery also helps many individuals better regulate their blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Doing so further lessens the risk of these treatable health conditions developing into chronic, life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes. Weight loss surgery can also greatly reduce wear and tear on your joints and muscles. For some, bariatric surgery may even be the ideal treatment for back pain.
Myth #7: “Weight loss surgery is just too expensive.”
Reality: The upfront costs of bariatric surgery may seem overwhelming, but most insurance providers will consider the procedure medically necessary and offer some form of coverage. (This includes both Medicare and Medicaid plans.) Ultimately, the cost of weight loss surgery is far less than the cost of managing the long-term health problems associated with obesity.
Are you ready to learn more and find out if you’re a good candidate for weight loss surgery? Give us a call today and set up an appointment to discuss all of your bariatric options.