The growing obesity epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. The CDC reports that more than 42.4% of all American adults are overweight. Harvard predicts that nearly 50% of the adult population will be obese by 2030.
To combat this unhealthy problem, many doctors are recommending weight loss surgery to their patients. Weight loss surgery (otherwise known as bariatric surgery) aims to help patients lose excess weight quickly and healthily through surgical means. The various procedures in common use, which go by names such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, are safe and effective at helping patients achieve long-term weight loss.
While weight loss surgery is becoming more popular, the procedures are not for everybody. You need to show certain characteristics and symptoms of obesity in order to be recommended for one of these procedures.
If you are currently obese and want to achieve a healthier weight, here are eight signs you are ready for weight loss surgery. If you want help now, schedule a consultation with world-renowned bariatric surgeon Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki of Healthy Life Bariatrics in Los Angeles, California.
Eight Signs Weight Loss Surgery is Right for You
1- You Have Attempted Conventional Weight Loss Methods (and Failed)
The best candidates for weight loss surgery have put significant effort into dieting and exercising to lose weight only to fail at their attempts. If following certain diets like Keto and going vegan have not given you the results you expected, bariatric surgery can help you achieve your long-term weight goals.
Likewise, if going to the gym, engaging in yoga, and taking up sports have failed to help you lose weight, communicate these struggles with your bariatric surgeon. The chances are good you’ll be recommended for one or more bariatric procedures.
2- You Have a High Body Mass Index (BMI) (30 to 40 or Above)
Doctors use the body mass index scale to determine how much excess weight you carry around. The normal body mass index range is 18.5 to 24.9. Good candidates for bariatric intervention are at least 100 pounds overweight, which brings the person’s BMI to 40 or above.
At 40 or above, you are considered severely obese and at a high risk of developing a chronic disease like high blood pressure (hypertension) or type 2 diabetes. Your bariatric surgeon may also recommend surgery if your BMI is 35 or above when there is a presence of one or more comorbidities (like type 2 diabetes). In both cases, bariatric surgery can help to decrease your BMI to a lower, healthier level on the scale.
3- You Have a Sound Mind
Your surgeon will recommend that you meet with a mental health professional before prescribing surgery. This is to ensure that you are mentally healthy enough to commit to long-term weight loss.
The mental health specialist you meet with will conduct tests to determine that you are free from significant psychological disease. The reason is because some mental health conditions can contribute to obesity. Suffering from these mental illnesses can make achieving a healthier weight through surgical intervention more difficult. If you have an eating disorder, depression, or substance abuse problems, your doctor may recommend working on your issues with the help of a mental health professional before undergoing surgery. However, if after undergoing a psychological assessment you are deemed to be mentally healthy, you may be an excellent candidate for weight loss surgery.
4- You Are Motivated to Improve Your Lifestyle
There is a myth that weight loss surgery is an easy way out. The thinking is that, by having surgery, you have suddenly been touched with a magic wand that will cause the excess fat to disappear. The truth is that weight loss surgery is merely a catalyst to long-term weight loss. You must still work hard to eat right. You must exercise if you hope to maximize your weight loss and make it permanent.
By committing to weight loss surgery, you should also be focused on building better habits. Your bariatric surgeon will provide you with guidelines you can use to mold your new lifestyle habits. You might find yourself getting rid of all the junk food in your house. You might replace those items with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats.
In addition to choosing nutritious foods, you’ll want to engage in more exercise post-surgery, such as walking or taking an exercise class. If you’re in this for the long-haul, and you want to change your body, be willing to follow through with a healthy lifestyle that can make those changes possible. If you’re ready to do that, chances are you’re the ideal candidate for a weight loss procedure.
5- You Have a Good Support Group at the Ready
The weight loss surgery experience can feel like a lonely endeavor. With all the changes you face, you may feel frightened about what’s to come. As your surgeon will explain to you, your experience will be made easier by gathering loving people around you. Only by surrounding yourself with a loving support group can you hope to sustain the lifestyle changes necessary for lifelong weight loss.
Having someone to lean on will come in handy as you are recovering in the hospital after your weight loss procedure. You’ll need someone to drive you home from the hospital. You need someone to tend to your immediate needs as you rest and recover for a few days at home.
As you heal from surgery, and as you begin building healthier lifestyle habits, you’ll want a shoulder to lean on, and an ear to actively listen. Having that type of support available will make it easier to navigate the physical and psychological changes necessary to make significant weight loss happen. Your group could be family members, friends, even co-workers, as long as they are people who care about your health.
Your surgeon may also recommend you join a support group composed of other bariatric patients. These meetings are helpful for sharing stories with like-minded people who have gone through the same experiences you have. Support groups are great for trading ideas for overcoming similar challenges, but they’re also great for motivation. Not only do you get motivated by hearing others’ success stories, but you get to help others succeed by sharing your experiences with each and every milestone you achieve.
6- You Want to Live a Longer, Healthier Life
A sure sign you are ready for weight loss surgery is that you realize that being obese may be harmful to your health. Sure, you want to look better and feel better in your own skin, but you also want to live longer. Your loved ones want that for you too.
A good sign you’re ready for weight loss surgery is that you want to be more mobile. You also want to have high enough energy levels to live life on your terms. All of these things are possible through the use of weight loss surgery. Studies show that losing a dramatic amount of weight through surgery can make for fewer ailments, including cancer. Patients who undergo bariatric procedures like the gastric sleeve also tend to live longer lives.
7- You Have Researched How Weight Loss Surgery Works
The more informed you are about weight loss surgery, the better experience you’ll have. Do your research on the various surgical procedures and the different names they go by. For instance, the gastric sleeve is also known as the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or LSG. That weight loss procedure involves making your stomach smaller, which causes you to eat less.
The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (or just gastric bypass) also alters your stomach. However, there is also a slight rerouting of your digestive system.
8- You Are Prepared to Meet with a Bariatric Surgeon
The best sign that you are ready for weight loss surgery is your readiness to take the next step. That is to schedule a consultation with a qualified bariatric surgeon.
Dr. Moeinolmolki offers telemedicine consults during the pandemic for your safety and convenience. A sit-down meeting will then follow so the doctor can conduct the tests necessary to make a surgery recommendation.
During your consultation, Dr. Moeinolmolki will describe the specifics of the surgical procedure he recommends, as well as its side effects and what you can expect after surgery. The consultation experience is designed to prepare you for surgery and to determine if you are indeed the best candidate for a bariatric procedure.
Want to find out if you’re a good candidate for weight loss surgery? Call Healthy Life bariatrics to schedule in Los Angeles, Encino, or Glendale (310)694-4486.