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The Pros and Cons of Weight Loss Surgery

By +Carolyn Richardson on Jul 13, 2013 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

If you have been on and off the weight loss wagon and the amount you have to lose to reach a healthy weight is overwhelming, you may have considered bariatric surgery. However, it's not a decision that can be taken lightly. Here we break down the research to give you the pros and cons of getting weight loss surgery and what it may mean for you.

Who Can Have Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to their guidelines, gastric banding devices are approved for patients who are:

18 years and older (some youth are allowed who are adult height) WITH

BMI of 40 or higher OR

BMI between 30 and 40 with an additional obesity-related disease such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, or high blood pressure.

Here's a tool to calculate your BMI.

Four Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Each type of weight loss surgery restricts food intake through different mechanisms:

  1. Laproscopically Adjustable Gastric Band (AKA Lap-Band) Restricts the size of the opening of the top portion of the stomach with a small bracelet-like band.
  2. Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Creates small pouch likened to the lap-band, but then reroutes food directly to the small intestine.
  3. Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Removes a large portion of the stomach which lowers the hunger hormone ghrelin more so than purely restrictive procedures.
  4. Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch Removes a large portion of the stomach, as well as reroutes food from much of the small intestine, and adds a third feature that changes how bile and other digestive juices absorbs food. 

Pros of Weight Loss Surgery

Potential Long-Term Weight Loss and Reduced Risk For Disease A 15-year follow-up study showed an average 47% excess weight loss following 3,227 patients who have undergone lap-band surgery. Other research studies corroborate these findings. With weight loss typically follows reduced risk of complications associated with diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity related conditions. However, weight loss isn't guaranteed without diligent follow-up and studies point to reduction in conditions, like diabetes, may not be long term fixes. 

Improved Management of Hunger and Cravings Hunger hormones are naturally-lowered either by the removal or restriction of the stomach. After surgery, the stomach requires much less food to satisfy hunger and also results in feeling full longer. However, this affect wanes over time if overeating becomes a consistent practice. There also seem to be alterations in brain activity following weight loss surgery. A small study in London’s Journal of Obesity found women who’d undergone weight loss surgery showed less reaction to visual food cues. A second study corroborates these findings indicating an increased ability to manage cravings.

Cons of Weight Loss Surgery

Medical Complications and Side Effects Weight loss surgery comes with similar side effects to other surgical procedures including: 

  • Gastro-intestinal distress such as gas, diarrhea, bloating, pain and discomfort.
  • Complications requiring device removal like nerve damage, hernias, and strictures.
  • Risk of nutrient deficiency from being unable to meet needs.
  • Bleeding, infections, gallstones, ulcers, and blood clots.

Doesn’t Address Emotional Eating While some people report being more mindful following weight loss surgery, given the intense pre- and post-op counseling, if you’re an emotional eater, the surgery doesn’t address this aspect of eating. Some people call it "head hunger", or that need to find comfort in food. You may still be compelled to eat more even though you’ve medically made it harder to do so.

Increased Substance Use Susceptibility Even if weight loss surgery changes your use of food for comfort, it may increase your use of other substances to self-soothe. While the number of studies is limited, a group of 155 participants showed a marked increase in substance use following weight loss surgery. The frequency of their use of cigarettes, alcohol and drug use increased significantly. 

How to Minimize Risks

If you go through with weight loss surgery there are ways you can increase your chances of having a successful recovery and weight loss.

  • Follow nutritional and psychological advice including taking prescribed supplements and completing post-op therapy.
  • Avoid certain foods as outlined in guidelines.
  • Stay fit to help your body continually heal and maintain the weight lost due to surgery.
  • Seek out counseling where needed to addresses changes in body image and personal relationships due to extreme weight loss.

Bottom Line: Despite the weight loss and reduced hunger you may experience after surgery, overtime your ingrained eating habits may take over. This is a major surgery and requires a lifetime of responsibility to watch what and how much you eat to minimize complications. Weigh the pros and cons with your physician to decide if it's right for you. 

Your thoughts...

Would you or have you considered Weight Loss Surgery, why or why not?



After years of yo-yo dieting and having no serious weight-related diseases I decided to have the gastric bypass surgery after my doctor said that if I didn't lose weight it was 100% guaranteed that I would get diabetes and heart conditions since I had a family history of it.  I completely agree with the article that unless you change your eating habits to will gain some of the weight back. The first year I lost 125 pounds but since then gained 60 of it back.  It wasn't until some emergency surgery recently that I heeded the call and am back to eating sensibly.  However, one thing they didn't tell me is how easy it is to stretch your stomach to be able to eat more food.  I had none of the side effects of overeating, like dumping, pain, nausea so I kept overeating! Now I'm back to a regime that I now know will be a life-time regiment.  While I still think it was worth it.  It wasn't all that was promised!  You still have to watch what you eat, you still will get hunger and your stomach will stretch without longterm overeating!

After years of yo-yo dieting and having no serious weight-related diseases I decided to have the gastric bypass surgery after my doctor said that if I didn't lose weight it was 100% guaranteed that I would get diabetes and heart conditions since I had a family history of it.  I completely agree with the article that unless you change your eating habits to will gain some of the weight back. The first year I lost 125 pounds but since then gained 60 of it back.  It wasn't until some emergency surgery recently that I heeded the call and am back to eating sensibly.  However, one thing they didn't tell me is how easy it is to stretch your stomach to be able to eat more food.  I had none of the side effects of overeating, like dumping, pain, nausea so I kept overeating! Now I'm back to a regime that I now know will be a life-time regiment.  While I still think it was worth it.  It wasn't all that was promised!  You still have to watch what you eat, you still will get hunger and your stomach will stretch without longterm overeating!

I had the RNY two years ago and unlike the poster above, I have learned that this surgery is very much an individual journey - in other words, no two patients will have the same results.  I have lost 156 lbs and have had no issues with stomach stretching and being able to eat more food than I should.  I do have the overeating pain but have learned what my "signs" are that let me know when enough is enough.  I do dump occasionally and know what foods do that so I avoid them.  I do not have the issue of not enough nutrients because...well...because I take my vitamins and follow my doctor's orders.  Not saying the above poster doesn't...just saying I do.  This surgery is not meant to allow you to eat whatever you want and whatever amount you want either - it's a tool and as with any tool you do have to use it carefully and if you overeat, it's a choice you make, not a sign that the surgery didn't work (IMHO of course).  I do not have the hunger pains as before but I do know some ppl report still feeling quite hungry.  I didn't rely on my doctor and dietician to tell me every little detail, I also did research and came into their office armed with questions.  I also think the success/failure of this surgery greatly depends on several factors:  your doctor and his/her office, the education provided, your determination and research, and finding good support.  DISCLAIMER: These are MY opinions ONLY.  :)

The overwhelming evidence against the surgery is the weight people have lost and kept off without it! Look at the Calorie Count success stories, watch the Joy Fit Club, read weight loss blogs. These folks are everywhere, and I would argue that the physical, emotional and mental problems to overcome are the same for both surgery and non-surgery folks.

At 308 pounds, I had stomach stapling done in 1991.  My weight eventually dropped to 172 pounds, but I did not learn how to eat.  It started creeping back as soon as I hit this low point and I regained most of the weight back.  About 4 years ago with a weight of 275 pounds, I started learning how to eat and getting out of my recliner.  I realized that I didn't put on the weight overnight and it wasn't going to come off that way either.  No more diets, I was now on a lifestyle change.  My mantra, "Diets Don't Work!".  I now weigh 178 pounds and I have maintained that weight for 2 full years.  Bariatric surgery is a tool only and not a permanent fix.  You must learn how to eat to be successful.  I also think getting out of the recliner is important.  I actually made the success stories about 2 years ago on Calorie Count which was very exciting.  You can find my story at "Success through Determination."

With a lot of health problems against me losing weight I have actually decided to do have surgery. It is called Sleeve Gastrectomy. It is between a gastric bypass and lap band. There are more surgeries available than listed. The surgery I chose is different than any listed. It removes the stretchy part of your stomach and nothing is rerouted. Since it still goes through the small intestines there is no malabsorption. It does lower craving response because that part of the stomach is removed. I chose this surgery because it is less invasive than a gastric bypass and no foreign object is put into your body. I have researched, studied,.and prayed about this. This decision was not made lightly. One thing I like about this surgery you don't have to give up certain foods. My advice to anyone considering surgery is to think about it. The place I am going through also has a required visits with a personal trainer, a dietician, on going education classes on learning how to live again after surgery. The dietician and personal trainer are unlimited for a year. There is also monthly support groups that they highly recommend. Plus there are follow up visits you make at the surgeons office you make for the rest of your life. I love having the after care program they have. I have heard so many times about people who didn't have the support/training after surgery who fell back into old habits and put all the weight back on. If you decide to have surgery I highly recommend finding surgeon who has an after care program. It is a life changing decision that you HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE after surgery or there is a good chance your surgery won't result in the way you would like.

I apologize my phone messed up and I did not see all of the article apparently. Vertical sleeve and sleeve gastrectomy are the same things. Each surgery has some of the same risk, but some don't. This article would have been better written if each surgeries different pros and cons were listed separately and not lumped together. It is kinda deceiving.

The problem I've seen with WLS patients is that many of them think this surgery is a cure all for obesity when really it is ONLY a tool.  YOU have to do the work, the lifestyle changes, the food choices (the right ones too), and you are responsible for how it turns out - for the most part.  Do the research, follow your surgeon's directions, find good support whether online, in person, or both.  Naturally if you go into this decision thinking it will fix all your problems then you could very well set yourself up for failure before you even begin.  You know, I did try the traditional way to lose weight - I did the food choice changes, the exercise, all of it.  I could never lose more than 50 lbs.  That was with hiking in the mountains here where I live and staying active.  Then my knee blew out and RA set in.  Fibro on top of all that.  Now with most of the weight gone and my knee replaced I am finally able to be the active person I was before AND much lighter to boot! I'm not going to tell anyone they should have WLS but I will say it was the BEST thing I've ever done for me and will always be thankful I was able to have it done.  I'm glad there are many who've been able to lose weight without the surgery - unfortunately I was not one of them. 

I had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery done in August of 2012. I was 16 at the time. I have so far lost 50% or more of my excess weight. Although I have had my gallbladder removed since my gastric bypass surgery and now I have Gerd I never for a second have regretted my decision and never will. I knew I had a huge chance of having both those issues before surgery. Gallstones and gallbladder removal are very common in my family. As well as Gerd is something many people in my family have as well.

It is truly all about mindset. You have to change yourself and the choices you make. It is not a "quick fix" by any means. Weight loss surgery to me is my right hand man or my motivation to keep going because I know there was no reason of putting my body through that if I don't put in the effort.

As for the "emotional eating" mentioned in this article in my many pre op classes we talked about way to control that. It is again about your mindset. If you have the correct mindset you know to not to go and eat that pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream. You will know the better option is to go for a walk or grab some fruit and Greek yogurt instead.

My mother is 20 years post gastric bypass and has been very successful. Overall it is all about mindset. You have to know you want this for life. The more positive time and energy you put in the better your results. But, on the same hand I know I couldn't have lost weight without having the surgery done. I had been trying and trying and would only gain.

It's best to do your own extensive research. Classes, reading, talking to your doctor, talking to other patients, ect. Then figure out whether it is right for you or not.

As someone who lost 170 pounds in one year by dieting and exercise alone I have to wander why do people need gastric bypass surgery?  I just don't get why you can't just get up and start exercising and just eat less.  Weight loss is a mind game and when you want to overeat you have to tell yourself no.  If like the poster above said they teach you about emotional overeating in classes why not take what you learn and just lose the weight yourself without relying on surgery.  If I could do it at the age of 47 biggest loser style anyone can.  I was the classic lazy, emotional over eater and when I was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a strangulated hernia I just said to myself no more - I can do it and I will do it.  Sure I have had setbacks - I even gained a small amount of it back because I was feeling tired all the time and I stopped exercising and then I had blood work done and found out I had a problem with my thyroid and since I have been on medication I have my energy back and I started working out again and the weight came off.

So my answer is try to do it yourself before putting your body through surgery that you really don't need.  There was a woman in my neighborhood who was around my size and she had the surgery the same time that I started dieting and I lost more weight than she did and I have kept mine off where she has gained almost all hers back.  The reason - I faced my issues and she didn't.  


Who says some of us didn't get up and exercise?  It's comments like that that cause some to feel bad enough as it is about being overweight AND it's really a judgment on your part to assume that some of us don't do those things you suggest.  I did get up and get out - I blew my knee out hiking and exercising.  I did watch my food choices.  Today, I do get up and get out and I still watch my food choices.  In addition to the fibro and RA I also have PCOS - PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Do some research on that one.  Weight gain, along with the meds I take to keep the fibro and RA at bay cause weight gain in and of themselves so I still have to "diet" and exercise - something I've always done.  Just because some on here have been able to be successful losing weight the way YOU deem it to be successful doesn't mean that is the case for every single person on here.  Rather than make an assumption that those of us who chose WLS did so because of some apparent laziness, why not try to look at it from someone's angle other than yours? :)

As for the lady in your neighbourhood who gained hers back - you're right, most likely she didn't face her issues.  I'm glad you did.  Most of us who are successful after WLS faced our issues too.  I'm two years out and I've kept my weight off - all 156 lbs of it.  You really can't base her failure - if you want to call it that - and assume ALL wls patients are going to fail.  There are many who've lost weight your way who are failures too, so that door revolves both ways.  :)

I had RNY done 11/21/11.  I have lost over 220 pounds.  I went into the hospital with a blood glucose of 638 and on 8 shots of 2 insulins and 2 oral diabetes meds (had been diabetic for 20 years and now insulin was no longer working) - I left 4 days later OFF all diabetes meds and with a blood glucose of 75.  

When I made the decision to have RNY, my kidneys were failing, I had neuropathy in all 4 limbs, hands and feet and they were planning to amputate my right leg.  I wasn't expected to live through the surgery, but I chose to do it anyway - I figured it was better than dying the way I was.  The doctors didn't expect me to live another 2 years and I am in my early 50's.

My highest weight was 500 pounds.  In my case, most of it was caused by metabolic problems (I had 2 endocrine tumors that the doctors insisted I didn't have - when they finally found the 1st one - I dropped 120 pounds IMMEDIATELY, but I could not get down below 380 pounds).  I had the 2nd tumor removed in 2009, but I could not seem to lose weight even on 800 calories a day.  

The surgery has changed my entire metabolism.  I now weigh 175 and I have an estimated 30 pounds of skin which needs to be surgically removed. Once that happens, I will be at a completely normal weight. 

RNY fails when patients do not follow protocol.  They graze, they eat "slider" foods, they go back to eating carbs and refined foods. They stop measuring, they eat sugar, they go back to drinking sodas (which I cannot even imagine) and they start ignoring the rules.  They stop taking their vitamins (which is absolutely inconceivable to me), they don't get their labs done and they  stop following up with their bariatric surgeon.  

Most importantly, they stop attending support groups and fall out of touch with the very people with whom they NEED to be in contact. 

This surgery is NOT for everyone.  YOU MUST BE COMPLIANT!  That means, you MUST retrain your eating habits, you MUST be willing to give up or severely curtail high fat/high sugar foods and carbs.  FOR LIFE.  This is not a temporary fix.  They do not operate on your head - if you have a food addiction (and most obese people do) you MUST be willing to address it with proper counseling.  The surgery won't do that for you.  It buys you TIME to help yourself.  That is the most important feature of it - time - to retrain your eating, remodel your lifestyle, get any counseling you need and get your life together.  It is a TOOL, not a CURE.  

If anyone thinks, for one moment, that weight loss surgery is the easy way out, they have rocks in their head.  Do your research!  Read everything you can find.  Go to a local support group.  Talk to people who have had the surgery.  

I know that I would not be writing this now - I would already be dead if not for the RNY.  

One other point:  Weight loss does not solve everything.  I have 4 autoimmune diseases including Fibromyalgia and Meniere's Disease.  My pain levels have INCREASED after losing all this weight.  My doctors and I are extremely disappointed in that result, but it is what it is.  That is a common complaint among Fibro, MS and Lupus patients who have Weight Loss Surgery (WLS).   Weight loss also will not automatically make you a superstar, get you a hot boyfriend/girlfriend or grant you happiness and cure depression.  You have to work at those things and/or get proper counseling.  

I recommend WLS (RNY or VSG, NOT Lapband) with all my heart!  It saved my life, but you have to make sure that you are 100% certain about doing this and that you are 100% committed to making a complete lifestyle change!

Good luck and Congrats to anyone who decides to go ahead with WLS.   

I honestly don't think you understood what I said. I myself am not an emotional eater. I've never been one. I have always taken a walk when upset. I was simply addressing something I deemed untrue about the article. I have tried my entire life to lose weight. Keep in mind I am 17. I have always exercised everyday. I have always been a clean eater but no matter what unless I starved myself I would only keep gaining. Now, lets address what you are doing. You are looking at weight loss as one size fits all. Well, its not because no two human beings are the same. Although you could do it one way does not mean everyone can. I am 17 and I know this. Maybe you should do your research and not be so judgemental of others. Maybe try being supportive because in the end you never know what someone else is going through. 

bamgurlxx I think she was referring to momofthreepixies. I love how people "assume" that those who chose surgery do it without even trying. There are sometimes other health factors that come into play. For me I am like karencee7706 with health problems. I have fibro, PCOS, degenerative arthritis in my knees and back, anyklyosing spondylitis, & spinal stenosis, just to name a few. I also have permanent physical ailments in my neck and my left hip due to a domestic violence partner. I am ot really an emotional eater. I have been told (and not just by the bariatric surgeon) that due to health problems I will simply be unable to lose weight on my own. I also have a low resting metabolic rate which simply means I burn very few calories 40%-50% less than the average person. please stop assuming that we who chose the WSL do it because are lazy and haven't tried anything else. This is usually a last result, not a first option. I believe that most if not all would rather chose to lose the weight with diet/exercise modification and not by surgery. We didn't just wake up and think "oh let's just have major surgery", it's a long thought out process at the end of a hard road. It is so not "taking the easy road"! I am tired of hearing that. It is just as difficult for us who have surgery to lose weight as loses who don't. Please be more considerate of things you do not have a clue about. Don't go around putting people down simply because you do not understand. So not cool! 

I was referring to momofthreepixies. I was on my phone so it probably did not come out as it was meant too. Sorry for that misunderstanding. If there was one. I wish I could have lost weight the "traditional" way but for personal health reasons I couldn't. I did about two years of considering it and planning then many classes. Then after I did the actual prep for which took quite some time because of my age. Anyways. I am done ranting. I just get slightly bothered by all of the hate I and many others get for getting surgery done.  

I had RNY gastric bypass in Nov of 2000 and over a period of several years lost 230 lbs.  Like several of the posters I had virtually no problems with eating or other common side effects, so ended up eventually being able to eat pretty much like a normal person again.  I was able to maintain my loss through eating reasonably healthy and exercise until injuries sidelined me and a medication change a couple of years ago packed on 35-40 pounds.  I've stabilized at 180 lbs lost and am trying to lose the 40, but haven't worked very hard at it yet.  At over 400 lbs I was slowly killing myself and had high blood pressure (which I do still have (primary hypertension), it's now just under control much better), and low back and knee pain and was having difficulty just getting around.  I had lost quite a bit of weight through healthy eating and exercise once before but wasn't able to keep it off - went back to old habits.  I'm determined to lose this weight I've regained, but even if I never do I know I'm much healthier now than I was at 410 lbs.  I did have one complication of a bowel obstruction caused by adhesions (scar tissue), but then I'd also had a previous abdominal surgery which could have contributed to that.  I'm faithful about taking my recommended vitamins (and some extras) - I don't want any deficiencies.  I would have the surgery again in a heartbeat - it gave me a life I'd never had since I'd been overweight since childhood.  I'm still smaller now than I was in high school.

First of all, this is such a needed discussion! There are many veiwpoints brought up in this. Mostly I see stereotypes recognized and brought to light.  Most obvious is that those that have surgery aren't trying hard enough to lose weight the natural way, and are lacking.  In the same vein, those that lose naturally ( with hard work) are intolerant of those who need to have surgery to save thier lives.(takes honesty there!) I am aware of some who have used surgery as a magic pill to lose weight and I am appreciative of those who reiterate the need to make lifestyle changes. I have not been able to lose weight naturally even though I have always felt the same about surgery, that it was a lazy way out, with bad knees , excersizing is difficult. I am now having to think about surgery, which may be a last ditch option I never thought I would look at. But at my age 58, if something isn't done soon, I know I will lose years of life if something drastic isn't done.  Thank you for the subject and discussion.

Original Post by: dianemar

First of all, this is such a needed discussion! There are many veiwpoints brought up in this. Mostly I see stereotypes recognized and brought to light.  Most obvious is that those that have surgery aren't trying hard enough to lose weight the natural way, and are lacking.  In the same vein, those that lose naturally ( with hard work) are intolerant of those who need to have surgery to save thier lives.(takes honesty there!) I am aware of some who have used surgery as a magic pill to lose weight and I am appreciative of those who reiterate the need to make lifestyle changes. I have not been able to lose weight naturally even though I have always felt the same about surgery, that it was a lazy way out, with bad knees , excersizing is difficult. I am now having to think about surgery, which may be a last ditch option I never thought I would look at. But at my age 58, if something isn't done soon, I know I will lose years of life if something drastic isn't done.  Thank you for the subject and discussion.


Seriously, anyone who thinks WLS is the "easy way out" has rocks in his/her head.  I am 54 now.  I was 52 when I was facing going into a nursing home because of what diabetes was doing to me.  The ONLY reason I waited so long to have my RNY was 2 fold.  My mother was dead set against it (we lost a young friend MANY years ago to the old "stomach stapling" method - she died on the table) and I was taking care of sick parents for many years.  

The surgery only buys you TIME.  It allows you to retrain your eating while losing significant amounts of weight (which, at our age and with limited exercise due to physical limitations is hard to do under normal circumstances) and it gives you control that you may not have without it.  It does NOT cure overeating.  Within a year or so, hunger may (or may not) come back, so the surgery buys the patient time to address any food addictions or overeating issues so that when the year of malabsorbing food is over, the patient will be prepared to continue onwards and maintain the weight loss.

And isn't THAT the issue.  Don't people think that those of us who are morbidly obese haven't tried dieting - AGAIN AND AGAIN?  Many of us have succeeded.  AGAIN AND AGAIN.  Then we put the weight right back on again. 

This is the first time I KNOW that won't happen.  In my case, most of my problems were metabolic and I had endocrine tumors (and I realize that I'm the odd duck out - that is unusual among the overweight population), however,  I have seen the successes in the WLS community.  MANY people have the surgery because they are facing knee or hip replacement and they have GOT to take the weight off.  

WLS is a very personal decision, but not having it because of other people looking their noses down on you is not a reason.  I'm not shocked by any of these comments because I've heard them all.  All I can say is - these people are uninformed, misinformed and have NO idea what they are talking about. I have to diet, exercise (as I can - usually in a chair or bed) and watch EVERY BITE I put in my mouth just like anyone else. I could not have done so without having RNY.  It didn't work.  I tried - repeatedly - all I got was fatter and fatter. 

Good luck to you and I hope you make the decision that is right for YOU!  

As I said this discussion brought to light many stereotypes of attitudes which is good to be brought to light, as you reiterated.  I was brought up in a household where will power was thought of as the only way to get anything done.  So in my mind (and others as well) to have to have surgery was somewhat shameful, just saying as it was.  I did know quite a few people who had the surgery and did gain it back or because of not dealing with underlying issues, had some severe mental issues afterward. But as it is being said here, each person needs to deal with these issues, have or not have surgery, accordingly.  Being honest about attitudes does not have to be dealt with as 'having rocks in your head', that does not help the freedom of discussion we are trying to have here.

I actually wasn't referring to anyone in this post.  I was referring to the public's attitude in general and the ignorance that abounds regarding the process, the scrutiny, the battery of tests and what is required both before, during and post surgery.  Even Dr. Oz has given out a lot of VERY poor information on WLS.  It wasn't directed toward any individual(s).  

My apologies if that wasn't understood. 

Weight loss surgery is not the answer.  Save your money.  I gained all but 20# back in less than 12 years.   You have to get a grip on what you put in your mouth every day.  Thankfully, I discovered Calorie Count and with Slim Fast products, I was able to find a programs that "works" for me.  This is my second "serious" attempt using CC to lose weight.  I have learned to 1) take it one day at a time, and 2) log EVERYTHING.  I am still in the honeymoon period, and have not felt the need to rely on the CC community to "help me out," but that will probably come.  At least I can give support to those I happen to view online.  All you have to do is "work the program" just for today.  The rest will follow.

In 2004, when I reached 300 pounds at 5'3", I decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery. I was a perfectly healthy 26 year old otherwise, but severly depressed and used food to cope. My surgery was approved quickly through my PPO and within 3 months of the start of my research, I had the proceedure. I was very successful with the surgery, lost 160 pounds, learned how to eat healthy and 2 years after having surgery, I had reconstructive surgery and I look great. Sounds like a happy ending, right? Wrong. I replaced food with alcohol.  Thanks to the surgery, I never experienced any sort of illness from drinking due to the way my body metabolized alcohol and never had hang overs. My drinking became so severe that I was experiencing DT's on a daily basis for years and suffered several seizures. Almost 2 years ago, I finally entered a treatment facility and have been sober since with the help of the 12 steps. I apply those 12 steps to food as well as alcohol. Since getting sober, I've had to work 10 times harder to maintain my weight. Almost 10 years post surgery and I have the ability to eat large quantities of food in one sitting. My advice to anyone considering surgery is get to the root cause of why you need this surgery. I understand that not everyone who is obese uses food to cope, but of the 10 individuals who I met through a support group in 2004, 4 are in recovery from substance abuse, 3 need to go into recovery and the other 3 have gained all the weight back and then some. I do not regret having had the surgery because it brought me to where I am today and I am fianally able to heal, but it doesn't need to be a long, painful journey for everyone.

I had the sleeve a year ago, I have no regrets. It's the people with no clue that make the comments about my having the procedure. They seem to think it's an easy way out, but it's not. It gave me the ability to move, @ 332 lbs I could not get around well enough to exercise. Now 91 lbs smaller I exercise 5 days a week I feel good about myself and that makes me want to do better in everything I do. But for the people who think it's  a piece of cake after surgery you may not be ready yet because it is only a tool. I track my food daily, make menus for the next day so I have few surprises that I may have trouble with. I do miss some foods like country fried steak or fried anything it's something you have to deal with daily. I guess what I am trying to tell anyone thinking about this is you still have to work hard after surgery, I have a great support team at home and at the surgery center the after surgery program has been very helpful so I suggest follow through with some type of program. Last but not least it is your life and health don't be concerned about what others think just research, research, research. Ok I'll get off my soap box and good luck I know how hard it is.

I also had the Sleeve surgery in Dec of 2012. so far have lost 70 lbs. I am 72 years and have been overweight most of my life. I was on 5 insulin shots per day with kidney problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I am now off all insulin, kidney function normal, dropped 2 blood pressure pills, and normal cholesterol levels. Wish I had done this years ago. Feel 20 years younger.

Thank you those who have shared their experiences with surgeries. After having my thyroid removed, I was scheduled for a follow up appointment with an endocrinologist specialized in treating metabolic disorder and obesity at a well recognized teaching hospital. After a thorough exam and consultation with both a psychologist and dietician, I was bowled over when the doctor prescribed a diet and exercise, but was quick to suggest that I consider a gastric sleeve reduction. I, like many of you who have shared, am afflicted with PCOS, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and my thyroid surgery left me with problems assimilating calcium and vitamin D. Both my knees need full replacement and my feet and ankles are ravaged at 52 with arthritis. I am 200lbs and 5'5" tall.  Since April I have lost about 24 lbs, through dieting, but I have many many more to go...After 30+ years of dieting without lasting or signifcant success (no matter how many diets and how many programs and how many gym subscriptions), I can't help but wonder if this might finally be the answer to leave this burder behind and start living. Your comments have been helpful as I must meet with my doctor at the end of this month to decide.

30 years ago I lost 80 pounds through diet and exercise. I spent an hour or two daily lifting weights with no instruction except a popular body-building magazine. I looked marvelous! Then came five years of hormone treatments to get pregnant, putting on 110 pounds, and caring for an infant and disabled husband and being the primary breadwinner, leaving me depressed with no time to work out. As I gained the weight, the joint damage from poor lifting techniques with too much weight caught up with me in the form of severe arthritis in almost every joint.

I had wanted weight loss surgery for years, but until five years ago my insurance wouldn't cover any treatment for obesity. Four years ago I finally consulted a bariatric surgeon. Physically I was a good candidate for the gastric bypass, but I was unwilling to have anything so permanent with all its possible dangers and side effects. I would have opted for the lap band, but apparently I was too fat for it. The two main deciding factors, however, were money and pain. I couldn't afford the multiple thousands of dollars in counseling, group meetings, etc. not covered by insurance, and I was told that I wouldn't be able to take nsaids after surgery. That was a major deciding factor. Although supposedly weight loss would greatly improve my arthritis, there was no guarantee. In fact, I've heard of cases where it got worse.

Also, it would take many months even with surgery to lose enough. Not all my arthritic joints are weight-bearing, so I would still need relief for my shoulders and hands. There's also no guarantee I'd never again get a headache or toothache, and Tylenol just doesn't work for me.

I've recently had a hip replacement and lumbas fusion, feeling much better, starting to exercise a bit, and I'm losing weight on a low-starch diet - almost 30 pounds since June with time off for surgery and rehab. 

I would discourage anyone from getting gastric bypass.  My father died from an alcohol related home accident 5 years after having the procedure.  Because a portion of the intestine is removed, those who had gastric bypass actually get drunker faster than people of the same bmi and sex who did not have the surgery. The instances of alcoholism are majorly downplayed.  Some physicians believe that 1 in 3 patients will become alcoholics.  I wonder if lap-band has fewer incidences of alcoholism, since the intestine anatomy is not changed. As others have said, the issues that made you overweight are still there after the weight is gone.  This was a tough realization for my dad because he (incorrectly) blamed weight-based discrimination for many of his troubles in personal and professional relationships. 

I am an identical twin.  Both my twin and I were around the same weight.  At my heaviest, my doctor asked me to have surgery and when I told him no, he said I had a year to lose close a significant amount of weight or I would have to have the surgery before I started having serious health problems. 

I started using and working out and started losing weight.  In a year I lost 75 pounds and I'm still working on it.  I'm proud of the work I put into it and it has caused me to really look at my habits and recognize them for what they are.  During that year, my twin tried every "quick fix" diet out there because she struggled with the fact that I was losing weight and she wasn't.  She was just as miserable with herself as I was.  I constantly tried to get her to work out with me or join a class with me.  She used every excuse that she could to "prove" she couldn't exercise even though her job requires a lot of physical demands. It was very frustrating trying to help her when she just kept making excuses.  She would say she was on some diet and I would go to her house to go for a walk with her, or just visit, and she'd be sitting there eating foods that were not healthy all while complaining about her weight. 

About six months ago she underwent one of the surgery's mentioned in the article.  She said it was the only way to lose the weight and that nothing else works. So she had the surgery and has lost a lot of weight and looks great.  However, emotionally she is a mess.  I constantly see her eating things that are not on the approved list and things that I wouldn't eat because there is no nutritional benefit.  A week after her surgery she was eating cotton candy!  Then the other day she said people kept asking her how she lost her weight and she told me that she tells them diet and exercise and that's it true.  She's losing weight because of eating less and exercising.  I felt like I got slapped in the face!  If you make this decision, why hide it and lie about it?  She also complains that she's not losing the weight as fast as she was told she would.  She is a brilliant person but is one that looked at this as a complete fix, not a tool.  Emotionally she wasn't ready and I'm really surprised that a doctor would preform a surgery on someone that wasn't prepared to make the right choices and follow through.  This type of surgery is a huge deal for your body and has a lot of risks that go along with the good.

My point is that people choose the surgery for their personal reasons and I am not against anyone having surgery.  I know it's a big decision that isn't taken lightly and I respect that.  However, take a serious look at why you are doing it and recognize it is a life changing decision and if you aren't ready to change your eating behaviors, it's not going to be successful in the long run.  I know that surgery is not an easy way to go and that it is just as important to be mindful of nutrition and exercise.  Surgery is a huge deal and is not to be taken lightly.   

I wish all of you the best of luck in your journey's! 

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