While we live in the 21st century, a time when medical research has established the discovery that obesity is a disease, people are still looking down their noses at those who struggle with weight loss and weight control. While many still think this type of ridicule is socially acceptable, the fact remains that more than thirty percent of adult Americans are considered obese or overweight.

The AMA ruled obesity as a disease, so when will society stop discriminating?

As with any disease that society views unfavorably, the first issue with Bariatric surgery is getting the obese to admit to themselves as well as to family that there is indeed a problem. Admitting they cannot manage the obesity alone is not easy; admitting they need medical help is even worse, especially when some consider weight loss surgery an ‘easy way out’ and view the obese as merely quitters who are ‘copping out’.

surgery for obesity

Taking Steps to a Healthier Life with Weight Loss Surgery

While every Bariatric weight loss journey is different and doctors often choose different avenues to prepare for surgery, this scenario is most common. Once the patients have admitted there is a problem and sought help from a medical doctor, it is time to swallow pride and see the mental health professional, to which these patients have been referred.

If there are no untreated mental illnesses found, and the obese person seems to have reasonably good coping skills, the next step is to visit with a nutritionist or dietitian. Depending on the dietitian’s assessment, those hopeful for weight loss surgery may need their eating, drinking and physical activity observed for up to six months. This varies by case, often depending upon factors such as eating habits and/or insurance.

You will also be referred to a cardiologist for a complete check-up of your heart. The cardio doctor will conduct a study of your arteries, veins, valves and the heart muscle itself.

Keep Reading… What’s Next May Surprise You

With all of these steps successfully taken, the obese patient is (hopefully) now approved for Bariatric surgery for weight loss and better health. If approved, the surgery is then scheduled, and the patient will be placed on a very strict pre-op diet to follow before the big day. In the last week or two before surgery, the patient is put on a diet of only high protein shakes three times per day. Typically, doctors recommend only those shakes with more than 30 grams of protein and, preferably, less than 12 grams of sugar. No other food will be consumed during this time.

Author’s Note about the Importance of the Pre-Op Diet

This diet is HARD. Say goodbye to your favorite beverages, save for a cup of black coffee in the morning and all the water you can drink. Follow this pre-op diet closely and you will see weight loss, although weight loss is not the purpose. I lost 17 pounds in one week on my pre-op and I have always been one of those people that say, “but I really don’t eat that much.”

After my weight loss procedure, the doctor visited my bedside to share pictures taken laparoscopically of my liver and stomach with the Lap Band in place. At first, I was a bit worried that I had somehow failed in my pre-op diet, and the doctor could tell. (I may or may not have cheated on the one-cup-of-coffee rule. I’ll just plead the fifth on that one.)

To my relief, the doctor began bragging on how well I had done on the pre-op and remarked on how baby pink my liver was. My own doctor failed to tell me the purpose of the pre-op diet was not weight loss, but the Bariatric surgeon explained it well… hours after surgery.

The purpose of the pre-op diet is to give the surgeon room to work, using the non-invasive laparoscopy procedure. While consuming only protein shakes and avoiding typical food and drink choices, the liver begins to shrink and cleanse itself and the stomach begins to reduce in terms of swelling and stretching. (The consumption of soft drinks can lead to a swollen stomach, by the way.)

Bariatric Patients Make Hard Sacrifices to See Weight Loss Results

One of the hardest aspects of preparing for weight loss surgery is the pre-op diet, but the results are well worth the effort. While general anesthesia is still a requirement, the laparoscopy procedure allows for fewer sacrifices, such as a reduced amount of time taken off from work and a significantly quicker recovery time.

Regardless of the weight loss procedure your doctor decides is best for your health issues, Bariatric surgery is the hard choice. Find out more on this topic when you read the third post in this series, ‘Debunking the Weight Loss Surgery Cop-Out’.