Is Bariatric Surgery Worth It?

questionmarkThis is not an easy question to answer. I can only answer it from a personal perspective. Please note that I am not a medical professional and this article does NOT serve as a substitute for medical advice. I am a life coach who specializes in working with bariatric patients at all levels of the spectrum. As a life coach, I do not give my opinions or advice. It’s not the way things work.

I believe you have the answers within you. I help you bring them out by listening intently and intuitively and by asking you specific questions that are designed to help you find clarity. If I were working with a patient who wanted to know if surgery was right for them, I would ask the following questions. I will answer them as myself, from my own experience.

What is causing you to feel the need for surgery?

I am sensing the need for surgery because I need to lose a lot of weight quickly. I have a bad knee and need to have knee replacement surgery. My orthopedist, nutritionist and primary care doctor think my best option going forward is to have the Sleeve. I can lose a lot of weight quickly, but I am concerned about malabsorption issues and the fact that I had such difficulty with the lap band. This is not reversible.

How do you think we can address those concerns?

Well, I honestly think that I need to weigh the pros and cons. I met with the surgeon and we discussed malabsorption. He said it was less of a problem with the sleeve than the RNY. So, I opted for the sleeve. It’s going to be a process and I will be going to my nutritional counselor. I have prepared mentally and do not feel the emotional attachment to food as I did when I had the lap band. I am in a different place and it’s a different surgery. I also need my knee. I can’t get down to a 40 BMI on my own. I’ve been trying for four years and I’ve only put on weight despite my best efforts. I weigh 387 and do not want to get to over 400 again.

Great! So you are already doing this on your own. Can you speak a little bit as to why you feel discomfort surrounding the surgery?

I’m concerned about money. Insurance only covers so much. We may need to pay thousands out of pocket. I know we can manage it, but it’s still quite the expense. I don’t know how I feel about making a permanent change to my anatomy. It seems so final and it can’t be undone so if I have complications then I will have to deal with them.

Yes, but you’ve dealt with more difficult things in the past and came out okay. Right?

Yes, I have, but this is just something I didn’t want to have to do. Now, I feel I need to do it.

Well, it sounds like you’ve come to a decision. Do you feel complete at this time about it?

Yes, I do. I feel much better and ready to handle this head on.

Conclusion

Now, the conversation we would have would go a bit differently because you would probably have different reasons and issues. I simplified this for you. Just know that any decisions made in a life coaching session are yours. They are not mine. I help you determine what’s right for you. I provide you support and encouragement. I hold the space for you.

I will have you know that my life coach and therapist helped me work through my concerns. I also spoke to the surgeon – I came armed with written-down questions. If I have one bit of advice, it’s to do your research but not be so broad in scope. The internet is full of horror stories that are just not going to serve you. Stick to the facts and embrace your fears. Almost a year out from surgery, I am down 130 lbs. and I don’t even need the knee surgery anymore.

Is bariatric surgery worth it? For me, it has been a lifesaver. For you, it may be something different. Contact me today and we can figure it out — together.

Bariatric Rules to Live By

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The bariatric life is not easy. Some people think it’s a quick fix or an easy way out but I am here to tell you that it’s not. You put in the work. You do the effort. Don’t let anyone tell you anything else. I have lost almost 140 lbs. and counting. I am serious when I say to you that I did that. I know I did. It’s my accomplishment. No one can take it away from me. I won’t let them. If you work with me, I will teach you the same too. You can overcome emotional overeating. You can succeed as a bariatric patient. You can do anything you set your mind to. You can become a bariatric badass like I am.

It’s within your power, you just have to believe.

Bariatric Rules

Okay, I’m going to be honest. I struggled with these, but you don’t have to. I’d suggest if you are still in the pre-op stage, to begin practicing now. Now, I will begin by letting you know that not every doc is the same. Rules vary among surgeon groups so I’d suggest you check with your doctor, but these bariatric rules seem pretty standards, so here goes.

  1. Eat small meals. Your stomach is small. Remember that. You can’t overfill it or you will get sick. You should probably stick to about 2-3 oz. per meal.
  2. Go slow. Your meals should take about half an hour to consume. Try to use small utensils so you take small bites. Be sure to chew each bite about 30 times so that it’s a bit of paste or liquid-y as it goes down. This can be hard to learn and I learned the hard way. You can easily throw up if you don’t follow this bariatric rule.
  3. Drink at least 64 oz. of fluid every day. More if you can. This will keep you hydrated.
  4. Make sure you get between 60 – 75 grams of protein a day. This is important to prevent muscle loss. You should also include some weight-bearing exercises as well to tone and keep extra skin to a minimum. This can be a hard goal for me to reach personally because I cannot eat meat. My surgeon told me that about 20% of his patients have the same problem. I am the most reluctant vegetarian ever, but I gotta do what I gotta do. I have found some good veggie burgers and plant-based protein supplements. I also drink at least one full protein shake made with soymilk every day.
  5. Do not drink soda or anything carbonated. It will stretch the stomach and impede weight loss.
  6. Please try to avoid drinking from a straw. Why? It causes air to build up in your esophagus and stomach which can lead to painful gas and stomach stretching.

Conclusion

Bariatric rules, like all other rules are there for a reason. Again, your surgeon’s office may differ from mine. I have found that these work for me and I have worked hard to make it so. I really hope that you can work on following the bariatric rules too. They will give you the opportunity to live the best bariatric life you can.

For more information, please feel free to call me for a free consultation today. I can be reached at 512-484-7634. If you are motivated to change, I am happy to work with you.