Are you considering having Gastric Bypass Surgery? According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), more than sixty percent of the American population over the age of twenty are overweight. This health epidemic has led people to undergo surgery as a way to lose their excess weight. In 2002 alone, more than 67,000 obese people turned to Gastric Bypass Surgery as a way to lose weight. The following year, that number increased to 103,000, and the number keeps growing annually. Two friends of mine, Dianne and Kelly, are part of the 2003 statistic. Both women each had more than one hundred pounds of excess weight to lose. After years of yo-yo dieting, they both visited their doctors and talked to them about Gastric Bypass Surgery. Their stories answer the question: “Does Gastric Bypass Surgery really work?”
One of the problems with Gastric Bypass Surgery is that many people look at it as an “instant cure-all” for their weight problems. Have the surgery, drop the weight, and be thin and beautiful for the rest of your life. What people don’t consider, is that there’s no magic formula for losing weight. No matter how you do it, it takes effort on your part.
With that being said, my friend Dianne opted for Gastric Bypass Surgery to lose around two hundred pounds. Friend Kelly had a bit less weight to lose. Both women had the surgery, recovered well from it, and began to see their weight drop shortly afterwards.
If you’re not familiar with Gastric Bypass Surgery, it’s a procedure that basically turns your full-sized stomach (which can hold approximately one quart of food) into a pouch that can only hold about a half cup of food. Right after the surgery, patients are usually advised to follow a liquid diet, then eat a soft diet for a few weeks. In about three months, they can eat normal foods again, but there are exceptions.
Dianne paid attention to the information her dietitian gave her. She eats three- four ounce meals a day and she limits her fluid intake. It’s been difficult to do, but Dianne has reduced her fat intake as well. She stays away from fast-food as much as possible, and she leaves candy, cakes, pies, ice cream and other sweets alone. She cannot drink caffeinated beverages, citrus juice and carbonated beverages because her stomach-pouch can’t handle them.
Kelly, on the other hand, eats pretty much what she wants, and as much as she wants. After her stomach expanded to its full size after she had the Gastric Bypass Surgery, it still held only one cup of food at once. She started out following the rules and measuring the amount of food she could eat at one sitting. But, hunger made Kelly begin to overeat. Soon, eating as much as she wanted became a habit with her. Everytime Kelly would overeat, and fill her small stomach with more food than it could handle, she would become sick and vomit.
Dianne knows that if she doesn’t eat like she’s supposed to, then she’ll risk having the “Dumping Syndrome.” This can happen to a person who has undergone Gastric Bypass Surgery when they eat sugary, high-fat and other forbidden foods. The sugar, fat, et cetera, is “dumped” into the small intestine. The symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloating.
Does Gastric Bypass Surgery really work? Only if you can stick to a new way of eating. You must eat and drink only the foods and drinks you’re allowed. You must learn to chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly so that your new “egg-sized” stomach can tolerate meals. If you follow the rules and guidelines that your doctor and dietitian give you, Gastric Bypass Surgery can be the answer to your weight-loss problem.
Today, Dianne is still following her new eating regimen. She’s lost well over one hundred pounds, and she keeps losing weight, but at a slower rate now. Dianne walks every day as a way to get her much-needed exercise. She has had one additional surgery so far, since her Gastric Bypass Surgery, to remove excess skin from her body.
The biggest problem Dianne has had since her Gastric Bypass Surgery is that she’s constantly battling Anemia. Because her food intake is restricted, she takes vitamins to try and make up for the lost vitamins and minerals her body needs.
Does Gastric Bypass Surgery really work? Not for Kelly. Kelly has gained back the weight she initially lost after her surgery. Her stomach pouch is stretched out from her habit of overeating. Eating as much as she wants, then becoming sick and vomiting has become a way of life for Kelly. She talked to her doctor about having a “redo” of her Gastric Bypass Surgery, and he recommended it. However, her insurance company, which paid for her first operation, refuses to pay for another surgery.
So, until Kelly’s insurance company relents, or, she can afford to pay for the “redo” surgery herself, she will continue to live like she is.