3 hard truths you need to know about weight-loss surgery

Ahmed Hamouda Consultant GP, Tunbridge Wells Ahmed Hamouda is a consultant general surgeon at Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital, specialising in bariatrics, general surgery and weight loss. More by this author
Surgery can improve people’s lives, but it’s not a one-stop solution for your weight problems. Getting your body in shape takes commitment - with or without surgery, says Ahmed Hamouda, bariatric specialist at Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Being overweight increases your risk of developing a range of health problems, including cancers, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Being significantly overweight can also have a serious impact on your self-esteem and social confidence.

Bariatric surgery limits your intake of food by removing, restricting or bypassing part of the stomach - making you feel full more quickly. If my years of experience as a weight loss surgeon have taught me anything, it’s that patients get the best results when they are strongly motivated to lose weight. It’s no lazy option. Bariatric surgery requires on-going commitment to achieve lasting results.

Here’s what you need to know about bariatric weight-loss surgery:

1. Your relationship with food will be altered

You will feel full after two to three mouthfuls. You will still be able to share a social meal with friends and family, but rather than joining in three courses, you will only have a starter, which will last you until your fellow diners are polishing off their desserts.

2. You’ll need to follow healthy eating advice

Because you’ll be consuming smaller amounts of food - you will need to replace quantity with quality and stick to the recommended portions. If you opt for a bariatric sleeve and overeat, the sleeve could stretch, leading to new weight gain (although this should be pounds, rather than stones).

3. There’s a loophole – you have to be sure you won’t exploit it

Any weight-loss surgery only works on food intake. Drinks are not restricted by bands, sleeves or bypasses. If you keep on drinking lots of sugary drinks, you won’t lose weight.  Some patients have even melted down chocolate bars to cheat their bands. Not surprisingly, they didn’t get the results they were hoping for.

Friday 24 July 2015

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