Weight-loss surgery can be an effective way to lose a lot of weight, and recent research has shown that it can even reverse diabetes and other health-related problems, such as heart disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. But weight-loss surgery is not a quick fix nor is it a cure-all — and as with any major surgery, there are serious risks.
On Daily Dose With Jillian Michaels, Jillian offers her opinion on weight-loss surgery and what she believes to be a better option. If you’re considering weight-loss surgery, she says you have to weigh the possible repercussions carefully.
“This is a really tricky question because there are a lot of people who feel that they couldn't have done it without these surgeries,” Jillian says. “But I couldn’t disagree more. I don’t want to take away from the fact that there are people who have lost a good amount of weight from these surgeries, but that said, if you’re somebody who’s on the fence about it, it’s dangerous. Flat-out dangerous. Completely, 100-percent dangerous.”
Because weight-loss surgery is really just forced calorie restriction that causes you to lose weight, Jillian suggests exhausting all your other calorie-restriction options before considering a bariatric procedure. Joyce Schone, RD, LD, bariatric-surgery dietitian at the University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview in Minneapolis, agrees with this perspective.
"The surgery is a small piece of the puzzle," Schone says. "It's a tool, but not the key."
Jillian emphasizes that surgery is not a magic solution for obesity or obesity-related diseases. She says that when people feel they’ve tried everything and nothing’s worked for weight loss, it comes down to a lack of education about the basics of weight loss: counting calories, exercising properly, and knowing that you’re capable of positive change.
“If anyone ever asks you [if they should consider surgery], that should be your answer,”Jillian says. “Educate them about the dangers, and educate them about the facts of calories in, calories out. Remind them and let them know that they are capable of taking this on -- it just requires the proper information.”
If you’re considering weight-loss surgery, read on to discover your options and whether surgery might be right for you.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 113,000 bariatric surgeries are performed each year, a rate that was rising but has largely leveled off. Candidates must usually have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or a BMI of 35 to 39.9 and a weight-related health problem, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. (A healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI greater than 30 is obese.)
Physicians don't approve all candidates for weight-loss surgery. Morbid obesity isn't the only factor; patients need to be medically and psychologically ready to adjust to new eating and exercising habits — along with a new body.
"Weight-loss surgery isn't for people who think it's the easy way out," says Daniel Procter, MD, who has been performing bariatric surgery for 30 years at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. "You must be committed to the whole process."