Weight gain is a growing problem, no pun intended, and as with any problem, there are those out there who are trying to find something magic to take the problem away. There is no easy weight loss plan, unfortunately. Diet and exercise are the easiest methods, which many find difficult enough to follow. A physician may also prescribe or recommend weight loss pills as well. That just isn’t enough for some who have more serious obesity issues. These people often turn to weight loss surgery as a step to end a lifelong struggle with obesity.
Millions of people start diets every year, both those recommended by a doctor and those recommended by family and friends. Others start the fad diets that crop up every year. Whatever the case, the majority of people who start diets can’t finish them or find that the diets don’t work quite as advertised. Those first few pounds aren’t too difficult, but keeping the diet up and keeping the pounds off is harder than it seems. Unfortunately, the first few pounds that are lost in a diet plan are merely water weight. It takes time for a slowed-down metabolism to start running at a faster pace and start really burning fat.
It is a hard truth that more weight means a longer wait to see the results of any diet. This can understandably lead to crushing frustration. Too many ads claim powerful results and atypical examples of people losing twenty pounds in a week. Pills promise that you can shed pounds without changing your diet or spending a moment on exercising. No matter how wonderful it would be if these were possible, the fact remains that nothing can easily remove excess weight from the human body. Each time that someone tries one of these fads and it fails, that’s another defeat and another step toward giving up on the dream of a healthy lifestyle for good.
Losing weight in a permanent manner requires commitment and determination. It is a long and arduous journey that is bound to have a few slips and stumbles along the way. The trip will not only be physical but mental as well, and all trips begin with the first step. In this case, the first step is understanding just how serious obesity is.
Obesity in the United States
Just in the United States, nearly two-thirds of all people are considered to be overweight, with a BMI over 25, with about half of those being classified as obese, having a BMI over 30. The list of complications caused by obesity are many, including arthritis, cardiovascular difficulties, diabetes, high blood pressure and even some forms of cancer. An obese person can expect a far shorter lifespan that others of lower weight because the problems and diseases listed above are much more likely to be fatal. Weight loss surgery is often not possible on those who are too heavy because the risk is so high as to be unacceptable.
Who Qualifies for Surgery?
The most common type of weight loss surgery is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. A patient must fit these criteria before being recommended for this procedure:
– BMI over 39
– Some related condition associated with the weight that is life-threatening
– More than five years in an obese state
– No problems with alcohol
– No ongoing treatment for depression or other major psychiatric disorders
– Between eighteen and sixty-five years of age
There are other types of surgery, like the sleeve gastrectomy, for those with extremely high BMIs who cannot qualify for the usual types of surgery. This type of surgery is merely the first stage. Once enough weight has been lost, a second surgery is performed, which will convert the sleeve gastrectomy to one of the more traditional gastric bypass surgeries.
Life after Gastric Bypass Surgery
Emotional support is an important part of the recovery process. Even before the surgery, you should arrange meetings with a support group with members that know what you are going through. You will also need nutritional guidance because everything involving food in your life will completely change. The surgery will reduce the size of your stomach since food bypasses the small intestine. It will take much less food to make you feel full and you will have a smaller capacity for absorbing nutrition. This makes supplements absolutely necessary. Post-surgery anemia is very common, with about fifty percent of the patients missing the required levels of vitamin B-12 and iron.
You will only be able to consume about two or three ounces at a time, but that doesn’t change the fact that your body needs what are known as the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. You will also need the micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals. Protein supplements often come with extra nutrients, but choose them carefully. Having a reduced stomach capacity means that everything you consume has to count. Many protein supplements come in too large a form for the post-surgery patient to handle.
What is the Big Deal with Protein, Anyway?
No matter who you are, protein is necessary for your continued health. It is possible to take too much protein and suffer problems, but too little protein can also be dangerous to your health. The right balance is necessary, especially after gastric bypass surgery. Protein has many roles:
– It causes you to feel full, so you eat less.
– It aids in recovery following surgery, including reducing your scars and increasing your strength so you can exercise.
– A good amount can be packed into a small morsel so you can get enough for your daily requirement.
– Protein is needed in many important bodily processes, including the central nervous system, your immunity against disease and your digestive system.