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Gastric bypass and habits

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Someone I know has struggled with her weight for years. She's tried dieting, lost pounds here and there, then gained them back. She blames most of it on depression, which for her is a catch-22. She's a comfort eater, which is exacerbated by depression, and she's more depressed because she's overweight. She also complains that it hurts her joints to walk due to her weight. She doesn't exercise because of the depression and physical pain.

She's looked in to gastric bypass as an option and thinks it will help her lose weight. My position is that she may lose weight in the short-term, but if she doesn't change her long-term eating and exercise habits she will regain what she loses. I say this because I know others who have had the surgery, lost weight, then regained over the years.

Looking for constructive comments from those with experience with gastric bypass. Thanks.
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Replies

  • neugebauer52
    neugebauer52 Posts: 1,120 Member
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    I have known several people, in real life, who had weight loss surgeries of various kinds. ALL of them gained it ALL back.

    meanwhile, I have lost 130 pounds, maintained it for 3 years, and now am ready to work on what remains. because i LEARNED better habits. coping habits, eating habits, and exercise habits...



    I have not been able to meet any gastric bypass patients as yet - this seems to be a tabu subject - at least where I live: Cape Town, South Africa.
  • ama3387
    ama3387 Posts: 242 Member
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    I used to work for a group of surgeons that did WLS. Between people gaining the weight back or having really severe complications due to surgery I know I am never willing to have it done. But there are people it does work for and they end up with amazing results long term.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 28,032 Member
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    Someone I know has struggled with her weight for years. She's tried dieting, lost pounds here and there, then gained them back. She blames most of it on depression, which for her is a catch-22. She's a comfort eater, which is exacerbated by depression, and she's more depressed because she's overweight. She also complains that it hurts her joints to walk due to her weight. She doesn't exercise because of the depression and physical pain.

    She's looked in to gastric bypass as an option and thinks it will help her lose weight. My position is that she may lose weight in the short-term, but if she doesn't change her long-term eating and exercise habits she will regain what she loses. I say this because I know others who have had the surgery, lost weight, then regained over the years.

    Looking for constructive comments from those with experience with gastric bypass. Thanks.

    No experience with gastric bypass, but I do have experience with depression and therapy, and that's where I think your friend should start. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy for self-medicating with food.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/thinking-thin/201011/stress-and-emotional-eating-using-cognitive-behavior-therapy-break-the

    Most of the dieters whom I treat overeat when they're feeling stressed or experiencing a negative emotion such as anxiety, sadness, anger, shame, and so on. They often have one or both of the following unhelpful ideas:

    "There's nothing I can do to calm down when I'm upset."
    "I deserve to eat when I'm upset."

    As long as they hold beliefs like these, they will remain vulnerable to regaining the weight they have lost. They need to change their thinking. They need to learn how to accept and tolerate negative feelings and how to cope with stress in more healthy ways.

    (article continues)
  • cbihatt
    cbihatt Posts: 319 Member
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    A cousin of mine had WLS many years ago (maybe 10-15?). I am not sure which procedure she had, but I seem to remember it resulted in a reduced stomach size.

    She lost a significant amount of weight (probably 100 pounds based on appearance). She is still overweight, but noticeably smaller than before the surgery.

    As far as I know, she has not changed her eating habits all that much, but if she eats too much (volume) at one time, it can make her feel ill, presumably because her stomach is so much smaller and therefore holds less food.

    All that to say, I think that WLS is a good option for morbidly obese people. But each person has to make that decision for themselves. You can never really know what another person is going through. I definitely think that you should counsel her to do lots of research before making her decision, but ultimately you can only offer to support whatever decision she makes.
  • psychod787
    psychod787 Posts: 4,088 Member
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    PTA4LYF wrote: »
    i am surprised by all of the people who have opinions about weight loss surgery but most of them have not done it themselves so what makes them experts. opinions are like *kitten* everyone has one. although i agree that proper nutrition and exercise are key to maintaining a healthy weight bariatric weight loss surgery is a good option for people who are having difficulty with weight loss. it isnt a fix all you still have to eat right and exercise but if you follow and stick to regimented plan provided by the suregeon, nutritionist, and exercise physiologist you will be very successful. BY THE WAY IVE HAD THE SURGERY AND AM DOING QUITE WELL!!!! all of you negative nannies should mind your own business until you walk in someone elses shoes.

    I was a candidate for surgery before I went ape wild and lost a lot of weight. I know several folks who have had surgery and regained. A lot, but not all of it. I have changed my habits, but in some ways wish I had had the surgery. When you walk around hungry and unsated most of the time surgery looks good! Though the complications that can come along with most of them are horrid! Hernias , blockages, protein deficiency, anemia, alopecia... ect... I have watched the retainers and they generally do exactly the opposite of what a surgeon tells them. Lots of alcohol, sugar ,high calorie "slider" foods ect.
  • Diatonic12
    Diatonic12 Posts: 32,344 Member
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    @lois1231 I just want to say thank you for sharing your life and testimony. It's very meaningful to me and I'll remember it.
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,907 Member
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    lois1231 wrote: »
    As someone who has had gastric bypass in 2001 she is going to have the same issues she does now. It is not a fix all. I also had over 20 years of therapy years before gastric bypass and after and still struggle with emotional eating and wanting to eat the foods that go down easier. I attended every support group before surgery, had therapy and only lost 70 pounds. I started at 292. Over the years I gained and lost after gastric bypass a few years later I reached my highest weight of 317 pounds. With a nutritionist I lost down to 220 pounds. I started here last year at 273 pounds lost about 60 pounds. Started again a few weeks ago at 253 pounds after a regain. Would I do it again. Well they wouldn't fix my knees until I lost the weight. I had 18 pain free years in my knees with partials. On the other hand I now have barretts esophagus, chronic ulcers, esophageal hernia repair and have had major dental work and teeth loss from all the vomiting. Not counting after surgery I collapsed both lungs and ended up in ICU for 6 days. I guess it has been a mixed bag for me. My pouch has remained the same size. I can only eat a bite of a cheeseburger, I waste a lot of food if I ever go out. I don't find going out to eat very enjoyable anymore and there is still a part of me who wishes I could have a small steak or hamburger but I cant. I have a friend who managed to keep the weight off but also had major digestive issues like mine including wasting, bleeding ulcers etc. It is a personal choice to have it or not but just want people to know it isn't easy and you will still struggle with what you are struggling with right now and all the therapy in the world doesn't always fix that either.

    Thank you for sharing. It takes alot of courage. <3
  • missysippy930
    missysippy930 Posts: 2,577 Member
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    Commitment to lose weight and to keep it off, isn’t easy for anyone, no matter how the weight is lost. There absolutely is no easy way. As others have stated here who have had a WLS procedure, you have to use the same habits everyone else does, eat less & move more. Plus all the risks that go along with WLS. It’s a tool that takes courage to use. I admire everyone that loses weight for the commitment that it takes.
  • AwesomeOpossum74
    AwesomeOpossum74 Posts: 106 Member
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    Thank you everyone who has posted. I let her read the thread, with all your insights and experiences. I am hoping it will help her toward a decision.
  • lois1231
    lois1231 Posts: 331 Member
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    Thank you everyone for your nice comments on my post.
  • duitenweerde
    duitenweerde Posts: 2 Member
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    Good morning .. I am 4 months post op from having gastric bypass and since surgery my mindset has changed drastically and my daily routine always is planned around my eating and workouts .. this has been beat decision I could have done for me personally and wouldn’t change it .. now mind u has not been easy by all means but worth it as I had tried all diets and my health was getting worse and my mobility was none by end .. was last route for me and since surgery I workout daily log my food and feel great ...
  • Ca55andraM4
    Ca55andraM4 Posts: 2 Member
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    My two "sense", take it or leave it. I'm a work in progress. When this all started I needed to lose 60-70lbs.
    2002 I had the lap-band and lost 50 lbs. trying to keep my marriage together. ABSOLUTELY WRONG reason. We divorced 5 years later. Regained most of it due to emotional eating and because my band slipped a lot and they had to keep taking the fluid out of the band and work me back up to the 'sweet spot' each time to only have it slip again, or I'd get something stuck. I didn't work on changing my habits or emotional issues.

    2015 same surgeon suggested I try the gastric sleeve. Well, I didn't do my homework because if I had read my results from the various tests - being my own advocate - I would have noticed that I had a small hiatal hernia and asked that it be repaired at the same time. I lost approximately 20 lbs. but regained again. I did work on some of my habits and was able to make some progress and saw a psychiatrist for emotional eating/binge eating, but she completely dismissed my feelings and just wanted to discuss my failed marriage. Needless to say I did not have a very good support system with this medical team nor did I take as good of care of myself though I did make a little progress. I'm NOT blaming anyone but myself for MY FAILURE.

    2019 same surgeon says he will not fix the hernia which is now large and bulging but will do a bypass. I decided to research other alternatives and physicians. I find a "leading specialist" in my area and he meets with me for well over 90 minutes and we discuss my issues. I had my gallbladder removed 20 years ago but still sometimes have a stone stuck in the common bile duct which causes me to have pancreatitis. 90% of the time I have a dull ache in that area and I ask him to address that as well. He says after he fixes my hernia and does a gastric bypass.

    Through all this I've seen a few psychiatrists that I've tried to work with on my emotional eating/binging issues but none of them really get it. The first one dismissed my issues for post divorce issues, the next two are just out of school and sorry, but are in experienced, and with the fourth, we start making progress then he moves out of state. Now COVID starts and I can't find a shrink anywhere!!! LOL I've worked with one nutritionist that is great, but my insurance only paid for 4 visits.

    I have the bypass and hernia repair and never see the doctor again, only his NP. I tell her about the emotional eating/binge eating and she tries to give me topiramate, and she never does address my pain where my gallbladder was. I go to see a gastroenterologist and he does all kinds of MRI's, MRCP, CT Scans, blood tests and finds nothing. Liver functions are fine, etc. He sends me to a pain doc.

    I'm now seeing the pain doc, second time today, and he's given me injections at the root of the nerves near my spine that terminate in the area of my pain. I'm numb right now but this only lasts for 24 hours, but the pain should subside for several weeks. It's like getting a shot in your joints. It works for some folks, and not for others. The first set of shots did not work.

    Long and short of it is --- I honestly wish I had worked harder at changing my poor habits and emotional eating, exercising more and surrounding myself with a strong support system. I'm very much an introvert and do not share my problems with my family (who mostly lived out of state while I was going through all of this) or friends because I am so very ashamed of myself.

    I also wish I had not had WLS. I'm stuck now. Even after all this time, I can eat anything and everything I want. No limits of what or how much. No dumping, no vomiting. I'm now working harder on changing my habits and my head and hoping that my eating will follow. They say change your mind and your *kitten* will follow. So that's what I'm trying to do. My current husband is extremely supportive but I know this all has to start with ME. No special diet, no special plan. Just me in my own head.

    For those that have been successful with WLS my hat is off to you!! Congratulations! You're much stronger and devoted to change than I was. To those thinking about it - really, really think about it! You cannot go backward. See a good psychiatrist, not just the one that the bariatric program has you see once and done. See someone for quite a while to talk about any underlying issues you may have whether it be emotional eating, binge eating, self-sabotage, whatever. Because once you decide to get this surgery, it changes your life forever - good or bad.

    Good luck!

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,747 Member
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    The surgery only fixes the AMOUNT of food or what foods you can eat without it causing nausea, vomiting, etc. Habitual behavior has to be instituted on a daily basis and if the habit is to just still use food or drink to suppress emotional feelings, well instead of food that addiction may be something else. I had a former client DRINK ALCOHOL because she could eat food. I know of another that GAMBLED as a replacement for food. So again, it more boils down to behavior as the main factor as to why some succeed in WLS or not.



    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • MamaMc3
    MamaMc3 Posts: 213 Member
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    I had gastric sleeve surgery two years ago. It is a bit different because they make the stomach smaller, but they don't reroute anything. You still absorb what you eat fairly normally. I have lost 100 lbs, and I am working to lose 40 more. My surgery went well, and I had no complications. It is absolutely NOT a shortcut to weight loss, though. It is a tool. You still have to change your habits and deal with any emotional issues related to food. In my opinion, a wls candidate should work on the emotional issues before surgery because after surgery it is crucial you stick to your doctors recommendations. You risk serious complications if you do not. Two years after surgery, I can eat anything, but I wst smaller portions. Bread fills me up too much, so I prefer to eat most sandwiches and burgers without bread. Lactose bothers me sometimes, and too much sugar makes me feel ill. I can eat a reasonable serving of sweet stuff, though. I am very glad I had the surgery - I am so much more active and healthy now. That being said, it is a difficult road and anyone considering it should do a lot of research and make sure they think it through.