When is it time to consider weight loss surgery in Baltimore? That is a highly personal question, and as a result, the answer is unique to you. Weight loss surgery isn’t the right solution for every obese individual. But, depending on your circumstances, it might be the tool you need to finally win the battle against excess pounds.
To help you decide if you should get weight loss surgery, let’s take a look at some of the criteria and signs surgery might be best for you.
Weight Loss Surgery Requirements
Body Mass Index
The main requirement for getting bariatric surgery is having the right BMI. To get yours, you can use an online BMI calculator. Those with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are medically overweight. Those with a BMI greater than 30 are medically obese. However, it isn’t until your BMI hits 40 or more that you are considered a candidate for surgery.
Exceptions to the Rule
Sometimes, you should have weight loss surgery despite not having a BMI over 40. If you have a BMI of 35 or more and you have a health problem that is exacerbated by your weight—such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or severe sleep apnea—you are still a candidate for surgery. Whether or not it is the right solution depends on you.
Previous Earnest Efforts
You also need to have tried to lose weight through conventional methods first. This means that you have gone through periods of dieting and exercising in earnest but failed to see results or the results did not last long term. This is important because bariatric surgery does not replace diet and exercise; you still need to change your eating habits and be more active post-surgery.
The Right Mindset
In truth, this is a requirement that doctors cannot fully enforce; it is up to you to be honest with yourself. As noted above, getting results from weight loss surgery means making lifestyle changes. To do that, you need to have a growth mindset and an openness to change—as well as the ability to be honest with yourself about having a disordered relationship with food.
Feeling Ready for a Change
Finally, until you feel ready for a change, it isn’t time for weight loss surgery. But if you are at the point where you are tired of your lack of energy, aches and pains, and limited mobility and you want a life you truly get to live, it might be time to look into bariatric procedures.
To start, read about the types of weight loss surgeries you need to know. Then, schedule your consultation.
Losing weight is not easy. If exercising and dieting has not worked for you, then you might consider getting weight loss surgery. There are numerous options available, so it is important to know which weight loss surgery is best for you and your health.
What is the Best Type of Weight Loss Surgery?
Bariatric surgery has proved to be one of the most reliable weight-loss procedures that results in long-term weight loss and a reduction in weight-related medical problems. The surgery has few risks, is minimally invasive, and the most popular procedures have a recovery period of two to three weeks. Because of this, a lot of obese patients are turning to bariatric surgery as a weight-loss option.
It is also possible to get a bariatric revision surgery in Baltimore if you start to experience conditions resulting from the surgery, such as a staple line leak. Revision surgery is also available for patients who do not experience the weight loss they expected.
Requirements for Bariatric Surgery
Some of the requirements you need to meet to qualify for weight loss surgery are:
BMI of 40 or higher.
Be between 35 and 40 years with health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or sleep apnea.
Between 30 and 35 and have uncontrolled diabetes.
Types of Bariatric Surgeries
There are three main types of permanent bariatric surgeries. Procedures such as the adjustable gastric band (or Lap-Band) or the gastric balloon are considered temporary.
Gastric bypass surgery
Gastric bypass surgery (also known as Roux-en Y gastric bypass) is performed by surgically dividing the stomach into two parts, creating a pouch where food can be stored, then connecting the stomach pouch to a lower part of the small intestine. It’s the original bariatric surgery and has been performed for over half a century. It’s proven to be highly effective for helping patients lose weight.
Also known as the gastric sleeve, this surgery involves removing up to 85% of the stomach, leaving a small “sleeve” where the food goes. This procedure is safer than a gastric bypass due to the fact that the surgeon does not have to reroute the intestine.
Doctors often recommend a sleeve gastrectomy for people who have a BMI over 40, those who are high-risk for more intensive surgeries, or those who have already had multiple abdominal surgeries.
A duodenal switch is almost like a hybrid of gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery, although it’s performed in a slightly different way. A surgeon removes up to 70% of your stomach, then connects your reshaped stomach to a lower part of your small intestine to form a biliopancreatic limb.
This process restricts the amount of food a patient can eat while also significantly reducing the body’s ability to digest fats. A duodenal switch results in even more weight loss than other bariatric options. However, it has a higher risk of surgical complications and presents a very real risk of malnutrition post-op.
Doctors often recommend a duodenal switch for people with severe obesity (BMI above 50) and those with severe diabetes or high blood pressure.
Obese patients often look to weight loss surgery as a solution for their obesity problems.
However, part of what makes weight loss so difficult is dealing with cravings. Sugary, fatty, and calorically dense foods are craved by the human body. Although you may crave weight loss, you also crave tasty foods!
How can you deal with cravings after weight loss surgery? Let’s find out.
Why do People Have Cravings After Weight Loss Surgery
It’s simple enough to understand that we want what we can’t have. But the psychological mechanisms behind cravings are a bit more involved than that. Patients often come into surgery having eaten a diet high in calorie-dense foods for most of their lives. When these foods are removed from the diet, the brain is still used to getting those foods and thus insists that the patient should continue to eat them. This insistence results in cravings of a psychological nature.
Cravings are also caused by the body’s desire to consume calorie-dense foods regardless of their form. After bariatric surgery, the body is losing weight very quickly and is unable to feel as hungry as it was before. So even though you might not feel hungry, you may still want those foods because your body wants calories to make up for the shortfall that’s causing you to lose weight.
How To Fight Cravings After Weight Loss Surgery
Consume water throughout the day.
Drinking water throughout the day can stave off hunger, but it can also reduce cravings. Many cravings are the result of the body wanting hydration, rather than food, but it’s often too easy to confuse the two. Zero calorie flavored water, such as Mio or Crystal Light, can help immensely with beverage cravings.
Eat very small portions of tasty, unhealthy food.
Occasional indulgences can help fight cravings because once you have it, you won’t crave it anymore.
Keep your portions of high calorie food very small. We recommend keeping those portions smaller than the size of an egg. Before consuming the portion, fill up a bit on water or soup so you won’t want to eat too much.
Plan your indulgences ahead of time.
Nothing is more painful than losing something you love. For many bariatric patients, unhealthy but tasty food is one of those things that they have to give up.
It’s recommended to plan your indulgences ahead of time, and stick with your healthy diet in the meantime. Make sure to keep these portions small! Remember: keep portion sizes smaller than the size of an egg.
Weight loss surgery is a huge step and a big commitment, both for your finances and your lifestyle. If you think that you’re ready to take the plunge, there’s a lot you will need to prepare for.
After weight loss surgery, you’re going to lose a lot of weight very quickly. The recovery process will take some time and it may be difficult. Your body will change right before your eyes, and that might be hard to deal with. The foods you eat will have to be completely different in order to maintain that weight loss. People will treat you differently. Overall, your life will improve, but such a change in such a short time won’t be easy to handle.
So how do you mentally prepare for bariatric surgery? Is preparing for weight loss surgery easy? This article will explain how you can get your head right and take advantage of this opportunity to completely change your life and your health.
How To Mentally Prepare For Weight Loss Surgery
Set realistic goals and targets.
You know that you’re going to lose a lot of weight very quickly. But how quickly can it happen, and how much weight are you likely to lose?
First, you should know that for gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery, patients can expect to lose between 50% and 60% of their excess weight in the first year after surgery. Excess weight is your current weight minus your goal weight, usually determined by your doctor based on your height and your frame. If your goal weight is 150 pounds and you currently weigh 350 points, you can expect to lose 100-120 pounds in the first year, ending up at a final weight of 230-250 pounds.
Ask your doctor for help in determining reasonable weight loss goals. Setting your goals too high may set you up for disappointment, which could cause you to start eating like you used to.
Get treatment for existing mental health issues, such as depression.
Depression is an ugly disease that many people have to deal with. An even uglier truth is that bariatric surgery is linked to a higher incidence of depressive episodes, particularly in those who are susceptible to them.
Even though getting to a healthier weight is generally good for your mental health, the lack of carbs and the rapid change in your hormones can cause a chemical imbalance in your brain that could spur a depressive episode.
If you have a history of depression, seek therapy and possibly medication to help you deal with it. Make sure your psychiatrist knows about your intention to get weight loss surgery so they can plan accordingly.
Set up a support group around you.
Losing a lot of weight in a short period of time can be isolating, particularly if you primarily associate with obese people who have not undergone the procedure.
Keep your close family and friends around you, but they may not be able to understand what you’re going through. Ask your doctor or surgeon about mental health support groups for people battling food addiction or who have undergone bariatric surgery.
Maryland Bariatrics at Saint Agnes Hospital provides weight loss surgery in Maryland that also has a bariatric psychologist on staff to help patients prepare for surgery and the resulting weight loss.
Weight loss surgery is a big step. It promises to change a person’s life by causing them to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time. This changes a lot of aspects about a person’s life, from their lifestyle to their diet.
But what’s life like after weight loss surgery, and how can people lose the most weight after the surgery?
How Should I Eat After Weight Loss Surgery?
After surgery, your doctor will put you on a special diet. This diet is followed in phases, and you will be required to follow this diet to a T. The diet we’ve provided may not be the exact diet you follow, as it will be your doctor that tells you what you’re going to need to eat and when.
Phase 1: Clear Liquids (0-1 days post-op)
This is the liquid fast that all patients start with. The reason patients have to do this fast is due to the stomach not being able to deal with regular foods for a few days after surgery..
Allowed foods: water, decaf tea, decaf coffee, thin broth, and approved electrolyte beverages.
Phase 2: Full Liquids (weeks 1-3 post op)
This diet consists of mostly protein drinks, low fat, low sugar yogurts, and non-carbonated non-alcoholic beverages can also be added. You may also add protein powders to boot your protein totals.
Phase 3 Pureed Foods (weeks 3-6)
Foods that can be blended into a smooth, non-chunky puree can now be consumed. Juices, lactose free milk, protein shakes, meal replacement shakes, and non-carbonated non-alcoholic beverages can also be added.
This diet will be very low in protein. As a result, your doctor will require that you consume liquid protein supplements in order to meet your protein goals.
Phase 4: Soft Foods (Week 7-8)
Foods like scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, ground meats, and other soft foods are reintroduced into the diet. These foods do not require much digestion, allowing them to be safely added back to the diet.
Patients are advised to continue consuming the protein supplements at this stage.
Phase 5: Week 9
Some foods can be introduced at this stage, such as lean meats and certain vegetables. Eventually, patients will be able to eat most whole foods without any complications.Patients are advised to continue consuming the protein supplements at this stage if not meeting their protein goals.
However, some foods should continue to be avoided. Foods high in fat, spicy foods, and alcoholic or caffeinated beverages can cause digestive complications.
How To Lose The Most Weight After Weight Loss Surgery
Start an exercise regimen as soon as you’re able to.
Exercise is an excellent way to burn calories, especially when you’re eating so little. If you want to sustain weight loss and break through the inevitable plateau, you’re going to want to be active and exercising.
Patients will be instructed to start with daily walks. As a patient recovers, they will be able to start jogging, resistance training, and even play recreational sports.
Make it a goal to get your protein requirements.
You will need between 60 and 80 grams of protein each day to meet your daily protein requirements. The actual number will be given to you by your Dietitian. The reason why getting your protein requirements is so important to weight loss is because you’ll need to eat foods that satiate you. Foods with protein will make you feel more satisfied, rather than foods that don’t have a lot of protein.
Stick to healthy, whole foods.
Don’t fall into the trap of eating calorically dense foods! Many patients find that, as soon as they’re able to, they begin craving unhealthy foods. To stop this, keep them out of your life as much as possible. Pizza, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, and other foods high in calories should be eaten only very sparingly, saving them for special occasions and even then, only small portions.
Sticking to a diet made up of whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, and fruits will be ideal for promoting continued weight loss all the way to your ideal weight.
Weight loss surgery is a big event in a person’s life, and is a surgery that takes some time to recover from.
It’s also an inpatient procedure that requires the patient to spend a few days in the hospital after surgery.
There are things you can do to prepare, however
Commit. This surgery is not a quick fix, and it’s not the easy way out. It takes commitment, otherwise the risks are enormous and the payoff is minimized.
Set target milestones with your surgeon. Your surgeon will give you some input on what to expect as far as weight loss post-op, and you want to have those in mind.
Take note of triggers that cause overeating and practice improved eating behavior in the months leading up to the surgery. It may be worthwhile to seek professional help with your disordered eating before surgery in order to make the transition more successful.
Inform your surgeon or nurse about any medications, vitamins, alternative remedies, or therapeutic practices you use. Keep those with you in the bag.
Prepare some liquid meals in advance.
Invest in a blender or liquidiser, as you’re going to be eating liquid and pureed food for several weeks after surgery.
Bring the following into surgery:
● Pajamas, underwear, and comfortable day clothes for when you leave the hospital.
● Dressing gown and slippers
● Toiletries, especially mouthwash. Halitosis is a common side effect after this surgery.
● Entertainment, including your mobile phone. You’re going to be in the hospital for a few days post-surgery.
In conclusion, even though bariatric surgery is a big event in your life, there are things you can and should do to prepare for it. It’s not going to be easy adjusting to the weight loss and the other effects of the surgery, but it’s ultimately going to be worth it!
Weight loss surgery is a big commitment for people, and is generally reserved for those who have tried and failed time and time again at losing weight.
Not everyone qualifies for all types of bariatric surgery. More importantly, not everyone who can physically qualify is a good candidate.
General Qualifications: who benefits from bariatric surgery?
People with a BMI over 40. BMI, or body mass index, is a good way to assess how overweight someone is relative to their height. Over 25 is considered overweight, but over 40 indicates morbid obesity and affects a small percentage of the population.
People who are over 100 pounds overweight. 100 pounds is a lot to lose, and comes with several risk factors including higher risk of diabetes, heart problems, and ultimately death.
People who suffer from common comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea, hypertension, fatty liver disease, or several others. Ask your physician if your comorbidities are severe enough such that bariatric surgery is a necessary intervention.
People with any of these qualifications who have also suffered from them for some time, while also being unable to achieve weight loss with regularly prescribed diet and exercise.
Why Is This Important?
Weight loss surgery cannot be taken lightly as it is a highly invasive procedure with a lengthy recovery time that does have its risks. Particularly, it has the risk of not succeeding in patients who are unable to make the necessary changes post-op.
Weight loss surgery is NOT a cosmetic procedure like liposuction. It changes the way your digestive system works in order to prevent the possibility of overeating and the absorption of excess calories.
Weight loss surgery is often seen as a last ditch effort if regular healthy diet and exercise fails or is unable to be adopted due to severely disordered eating.
What Should I Do If I Believe I’m A Good Candidate?
Talk to your doctor for information, and to assess if weight loss surgery is necessary for you.
Talk to a bariatric surgeon about your situation.
Extremely obese patients may find that weight loss is required prior to performing bariatric surgery. This is because doing any surgery on people who are extremely obese is highly risky, and doing the bariatric surgery on these patients may be more risk than it’s worth.
If you are obese, have been obese for a long time, suffer ill health effects as a result, and diet & exercise just won’t cut it, it may be time to consider surgical intervention.Weight loss surgery is NOT the ‘easy way out’. It’s a very difficult procedure to recover from and is often a last resort.No matter what weight loss surgery you choose, you’re going to need to follow a strict post-op diet, and you’ll need a brand new set of eating habits for the rest of your life.
Gastric bypassGastric bypass is a highly invasive surgery that involves reducing the stomach’s size and connecting it to the middle of the small intestine, bypassing a part of it.It’s recommended for patients with a BMI over 40 and where other weight loss interventions haven’t worked.Sleeve gastrectomySleeve gastrectomy is an alternative to gastric bypass and is a more recent innovation. It changes the stomach’s shape to a tube and shrinks the size down. It prevents the absorption of high-fat foods, making it easier to keep the weight off.Also recommended for patients with a BMI over 40.Biliopancreatic DiversionThis weight loss surgery is particularly invasive and is generally reserved for people with BMIs over 60.A large portion of the stomach is removed, then the intestines are rerouted which changes the digestive process. This is in order to control the secretion of ghrelin, as well as prevent the excess absorption of fat.
Adjustable gastric bandThis is done by inserting an inflatable tube into the stomach and inflating it.A reversible surgery, and done through a keyhole in the abdomen, it’s a very common choice due to its lower cost and lower recovery time.Intragastric balloonA balloon is inserted into the stomach through the mouth, then inflated.This is similar to the gastric band, but even less invasive and easier to reverse.Gastric stimulationA very different intervention than the gastric band or balloon, this one relies on electrical signals to stimulate the digestive process.By implanting a stimulator into the abdomen, this surgery can help slow down the digestive process and control your hunger.
For more than 150 years, Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital has been dedicated to the art of healing by providing exceptional care to the greater Baltimore area. Built on a strong foundation of excellent medical care and compassion, Ascension Saint Agnes is committed to providing the best care for our patients for many years to come