Top 3 Weight-Loss Surgery Myths

May 09, 2021

Clinical Contributors to this story:

Many who consider bariatric (weight-loss) surgery have tried losing weight through dieting and exercise without success. You may be considering surgery as a solution but are hesitant to take the next step because you don’t have the right information. We connected with Aram E. Jawed, M.D., bariatric surgeon at JFK University Medical Center to clarify three common misconceptions surrounding weight-loss surgery to help patients achieve a healthier, happier life.

Myth #1: It’s an “Easy Way Out”

Bariatric surgery has been shown to be the most effective and long-lasting treatment for morbid obesity, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Yet, some perceive it as an “easy way out.” This is not the case—surgery is not a cure. It serves as a tool to help patients achieve significant weight loss. “If I ask you to dig a hole with your bare hands, it would be a long and arduous process,” explains Dr. Jawed. “But if I give you a shovel to dig the hole, all of a sudden it becomes so much easier.” Patients still have to commit to eating healthy and exercising to lose the weight. With surgery, it becomes a little easier to achieve those goals since your body works with you and not against you.

Myth #2: You’ll Gain Back the Weight

Bariatric surgery makes long-term weight loss possible by eliminating food cravings and making you feel full longer as well as altering your metabolism. However, some patients may experience weight gain at some point in their journey. This is not a result of the stomach stretching back to its original size, but rather due to changes in your eating habits.

Just as standard diet and exercise require commitment, having weight-loss surgery requires willingness to adjust your lifestyle, diet and physical activity. Life triggers, such as job loss or a bad break-up, can cause patients to seek comfort in food and deter them from physical activity. When this happens, patients may slip back into previous unhealthy habits, begin overeating and gain weight. “That it is why it is important to continue to work with your physician after surgery to keep yourself on track and address any medical, psychological or lifestyle issues that may be causing you to regain weight,” says Jawed.

Myth #3: One Size Fits All 

When dieting doesn’t work and obesity-related conditions are adversely affecting your health, surgical weight loss may be an option. But there is not a “one size fits all” solution. Dr. Jawed explained that there are several types of procedures, and which is best for you depends on your specific health challenges. Your physician will work with you to create an individualized care plan based upon your unique needs and weight-loss goals. You may need to meet certain medical guidelines and will undergo an extensive screening process to see if you qualify. Most importantly, you must be willing to commit to a healthier lifestyle. 

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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