Are you considering surgery to lose weight? This guide will discuss the reasons people have weight loss surgery and the options available.
Over 200,000 Americans opt for weight-loss surgery every year. If you’re tired of dieting and want a long-lasting weight loss solution, gastric surgery could be the option you need.
But did you know there are different types of surgery to lose weight? Each one has benefits and downsides, too.
Having surgery of any kind is a major decision, so before you go for it make sure you read this guide to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Weight Loss Strategies to Try Before Surgery
Surgery is a drastic option for anyone wanting to lose weight. Surgeons won’t consider you as a patient until you’ve made attempts to lose weight other ways first.
Try some or all these approaches to lose some pounds before you opt to go under the knife.
Use a Calorie-Counting App
Calorie counting apps like My Fitness Pal work in the same way as a food diary, but provide more accurate results. They’ll help you to keep track of how much you’re eating each day, and show trends in your behavior that you can change.
For example, you’ll be able to see if you eat most snacking in the evening when you get home. Change this by taking up hobbies or stopping yourself from eating after your evening meal.
Increase Your Daily Exercise
Exercise will help you lose weight in two ways. First, it adds to your daily calorie deficit so your body uses your stored fat as fuel. Second, it builds muscle which burns energy at a higher rate than fat.
Exercise also aids weight loss by giving you a routine and something to do that isn’t food-related. Encourage friends to join you or go to an exercise class to stay motivated.
Hire a Weight-Loss Consultant
A weight-loss consultant will help you take a look at the areas of your life that you could change to lose weight. They’ll take your diet, exercise, and daily routine into account.
Having a consultant keeps you accountable for your weight loss, and sometimes this is all it takes to kick-start your journey to a slimmer you.
Try a Healthy Food Delivery Service
If you’re always tempted by delicious food when you go grocery shopping, try a health delivery service instead. These boxes are delivered daily or weekly and have ready-portioned meals for you to cook.
This helps you to control your portion sizes and also means you’re not tempted to buy the unhealthy food that catches your eye in the grocery store. If you don’t buy it, then it won’t be in the house to snack on!
See Your Doctor
If you’ve tried all of the above with no luck, it’s time to see your doctor. You may have a medical problem that’s causing you to gain weight or making it harder to lose weight.
Your physician will conduct tests to find out if you have a medical issue causing your weight problems. They’ll also discuss with you the options you have for weight loss surgery.
Your Options for Surgery to Lose Weight
There are four main options for weight loss surgery to consider. Each comes with their own advantages and risks, so it’s important to speak to the best plastic surgeons near you to find out which one suits your needs and lifestyle.
A small band is placed around the top of your stomach and a balloon is inflated. This makes the band tighter or looser, to control how much food can go into your stomach.
The band divides the stomach into two parts, connected by a small channel where the band sits. This means you can only eat very small portions, and they take much longer to digest, leading to weight loss.
The adjustable gastric band can be altered in the doctor’s office without further surgery. This is done by injecting or releasing saline solution into the balloon to make the channel created by the band narrower or wider.
A gastric band is safer than other weight-loss surgeries and leaves a smaller scar. However, it can lead to slower weight loss and the band may slip, break, or need repairing.
A less-drastic, yet still permanent, version of the more well-known gastric bypass surgery, the sleeve involves the removal of 75% of the stomach. This creates a ‘sleeve’ that connects to the intestines.
The gastric sleeve means you’re still able to absorb nutrients from your food but restricts the portion size you can eat. The operation is irreversible, however, and comes with the risks of surgery such as infection or complications.
The sleeve operation is often used as the first operation for morbidly obese patients who are too ill or face too many complications for gastric bypass surgery. When they lose weight due to the sleeve, then further bypass surgery can be considered.
The most complex weight loss surgery is the gastric bypass. Your surgeon divides the stomach into two, connecting the upper part of the stomach directly to the small intestine.
This is a permanent surgery, like the gastric sleeve, but has the most drastic results. It provides rapid weight loss, as bypassing the lower stomach and most of the small intestine restricts calorie absorption. Those in need of weight loss surgery to aid serious conditions such as diabetes or arthritis will see a rapid improvement.
Gastric bypass surgery comes with risks of complications, blood clots, and increased risk of hernias. You may also experience malnutrition as the bypassed stomach and small intestine can’t absorb these from your food.
A fairly new device, the gastric implant acts like a pacemaker. It provides electrical impulses to your vagus nerve, between your brain and stomach. Every five minutes it is set to send an impulse to reduce your feelings of hunger.
The implant takes about 90 minutes to put in via an outpatient operation. The battery for the device lasts about 8 years and is easy to replace with a local anesthetic.
The implant doesn’t stop you from eating so much, as with other bariatric surgeries. However, it can be used to help you eat less overall, and introduce healthier lifestyle choices as a result.
More Weight Loss Tips
Having surgery to lose weight is a drastic and often permanent option. If you’re not sure you’re ready to risk the complications of surgery, or want to try alternatives, there are lots of things you can try first.
Check out our health and lifestyle blogs for more inspiration to help you lose weight and life your best life!