Over 41% of US adults are overweight or obese. The obesity rate has tripled since 1975. The nation’s obesity epidemic became exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to people leading even more sedentary lifestyles than before. Incidentally, being overweight or obese makes you more susceptible to illnesses such as COVID-19, which can lead to an early death.
The coronavirus is only one disease that is linked to an elevated body mass index (BMI) score, which measures how much excess fat one is carrying. Obesity-comorbidities include high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers. In fact, there are over sixty weight-related ailments that can affect someone who is heavier than their ideal weight.
How do we fix this worsening problem? The medical community has worked hard to devise treatments for obesity, which include medically supervised diets, weight loss medications, and bariatric (weight loss) surgery. The latter is the most effective and permanent treatment we currently have for obesity. Procedures like gastric bypass surgery and gastric sleeve surgery are effective for slimming patients down. What’s more, these popular procedures are also effective treatments for obesity-comorbidities.
If your BMI is elevated, you should know that there is hope. Weight loss surgery can boost the quality of your life. Here are ten ways the right surgery could do just that.
How Can Weight Loss Surgery Improve Your Quality of Life?
Take the Weight Off
Let’s start with the most obvious way your life can improve following a procedure like a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve surgery. We all have an ideal weight. When we speak of weight, we mean the total mass of the human body. While fat is part of that equation, your weight also includes muscle, water, bone, blood, as well as fat.
We all need some fat to survive. Fat cushions your organs, insulates the body, and stores energy. The human brain is composed of mostly fatty tissue.
The human body is so efficient that it turns the food we eat into fuel. When we consume more fuel than we need, the calories are stored as fat in the body to be used as energy during times of famine. The problem is that most of us won’t be facing a famine anytime soon. And with calorie consumption so high in most of the foods we eat (including at restaurants), it is very easy to pack on more fatty tissue than we need to survive.
The fat we gain comes on slowly. Bit by bit, a person who overeats and doesn’t exercise to burn off the excess fuel will gain weight steadily over time. Before you know it, you could end up being twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or more pounds overweight.
Imagine a dumbbell being fifty pounds. Now picture lugging that dumbbell with you everywhere you go. That is essentially what you are doing when you carry fifty pounds of excess fat.
Surgeries like gastric sleeve and gastric bypass allow you to lose that weight when regular diet and exercise have failed to move the needle on the scale. With that weight lifted, your joints are no longer under so much pressure. You feel lighter and healthier, and you’re able to move around much better with far greater amounts of energy.
According to the National Institutes for Health, bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for obesity and weight-related ailments.
If you are currently taking medication for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ailments that are related to an elevated BMI, it is not unheard of for doctors to reduce or eliminate your medication entirely after the excess weight has come off. A recent study showed that 85% of diabetes patients no longer needed medication two years after having bariatric surgery. The same goes for high blood pressure, which tends to resolve itself two years after weight loss surgery as well.
Not only will you feel lighter after surgery, but you can become healthier as well.
Have More Energy
Procedures like gastric bypass surgery and gastric sleeve surgery alter the amount of volume your stomach can hold. With less stomach volume, you end up eating less, and your body absorbs fewer calories as a result.
With your body no longer bogged down trying to digest oversized meals, your body’s metabolism works more efficiently. The result is a surge of energy and attentiveness that can make life far more enjoyable.
Experience Greater Mobility
When your body is weighed down by excess fat, every joint can seem to become inflamed. This makes general movement uncomfortable and, on occasion, downright painful.
Patients that undergo weight loss surgery report feeling less pain and having greater mobility in the first few years after weight loss surgery.
Not only will you have more energy to do the things you want to do after bariatric surgery, but your body will be in better shape to undergo activities you may have thought were impossible before, such as skydiving.
Bariatric procedures are not without risks. Every surgery can be risky. But doctors are often quick to remind patients that doing nothing about obesity is far riskier than undergoing weight loss surgery. The right surgery may add years to your life.
Wear Fashionable Clothes
We have discussed quite a few health benefits of weight loss surgery. Now let’s turn to your wardrobe. When you become obese, shopping for clothing isn’t as cut and dry as it should be. You often have to shop in special sections, like the big and tall department. And because fatty tissue often isn’t symmetrically balanced, you may find yourself between sizes or wearing clothing that is tight in one area and loose in another. All these factors make it difficult to dress how you would prefer.
When you undergo weight loss surgery, a whole new world opens up. Suddenly, you are able to shop in the regular clothing department like everyone else. You get to discover your new body type with fashionable clothing options.
While it can be expensive to replace your entire wardrobe, doing so is one of the most exciting aspects of losing all the excess weight.
Find Body Positivity
Losing a significant amount of weight is a major accomplishment. Weight loss surgery may sound like an easy fix, but you still must do the work. You must change your lifestyle so that you are eating healthily and getting regular exercise. When the weight finally does come off, you will be able to see the fruits of your labor staring back at you in the mirror. Weight loss surgery is a wonderful way to feel better about your body again.
There are instances where excess skin can remain after a procedure like the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve. There are procedures known as post-bariatric body contouring that can remove that excess skin, which can help even more when it comes to finding body positivity following your procedure.
Being obese can take an emotional toll. You may feel as though you stand out and are so much different than everyone else. While body positivity movements exist in today’s society, there is still a stigma around obesity. The prevailing myth is that you chose to be the way you are. But obesity is not a choice. It’s a disease, and defeating it is a huge accomplishment.
Losing all the weight will make you feel so much better about yourself. And with more energy, greater mobility, and improved attentiveness, you will feel more capable of tackling life’s obstacles than you may have felt previously.
Improved Emotional Well-Being
Bariatric surgery patients report being in a better mood in the years following surgery. When you aren’t turning to food for stress relief or living a sedentary lifestyle without regular exercise, and since you are no longer carrying so much excess weight around, you feel more in-tune with yourself and your emotions.
It’s easy to see why weight loss surgery patients would be in a great mood. It’s easier to get in and out of the car, tie your shoes, climb stairs…the list is endless in all the ways your life can improve.
Save Money Over Time
Being obese is expensive. Studies show that billions of dollars are spent each year on medical costs related to obesity or obesity-related ailments. While weight loss surgery is not necessarily cheap (bariatric surgery can cost around $20,000 to $25,000), the surgery could end up paying for itself in the years following the procedure.
The latest estimates show that patients that go on to lose weight with procedures like gastric sleeve surgery end up saving as much as $900 each month or more on saved medical costs.
You are also eating less food than you were before. Since both gastric bypass and gastric sleeve reduce your stomach volume (gastric bypass also redirects your smaller stomach to your small intestine to reduce calorie and nutrient absorption), you end up eating less overall. Think of all the money you will save at the grocery store.
Instead of worrying about the prohibitive cost of surgery, just think of all the cost savings that will add up in the years ahead.
Which Bariatric Surgery is Right for You?
Now that you know the amazing ways your life can improve after a bariatric procedure, you have a decision to make. We have mentioned two of the most popular procedures, the gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve.
Gastric bypass surgery involves separating your stomach into an upper and lower portion. The smaller upper portion becomes your new stomach and essentially holds less food. The smaller stomach is then rerouted to your small intestine, which helps you absorb fewer calories and nutrients. The procedure can facilitate weight loss amounting to 70% or more of your excess weight. If you are currently 100 lbs. overweight, that means you could lose over 70 lbs.!
Gastric sleeve surgery involves the removal of 80% of your stomach tissue. The tissue that is removed is responsible for creating the hunger hormone ghrelin. With that tissue removed, you no longer feel as hungry after surgery. That means you won’t feel deprived as you end up eating less. The remaining stomach tissue is converted into a banana-like sleeve, which is where you will store food on the way to digestion. The surgery can facilitate weight loss of up to 50% to 60% or more of your excess weight.
These are only two options but there are more, such as the Lap-Band, duodenal switch, gastric balloon, and others.
A consultation with a weight loss surgeon can help you decide which bariatric procedure is right for you.
If you live in the Southern California area, schedule a consultation with Doctor Babak Moeinolmolki of Moein Surgical Arts. Doctor Moeinolmolki is dual-board-certified as a minimally invasive surgeon and body contouring surgeon. That means he can perform weight loss surgery and post-bariatric body contouring to help you find body positivity after the excess weight has come off.
Because these procedures are minimally invasive, there is a low risk of complications, and reduced downtime.
After a physical examination and discussion of your weight loss goals and health history, Doctor Moeinolmolki can inform you of your choices with regard to the ideal bariatric surgery for you.