It’s old news. Carnie Wilson had weight loss surgery in 2000. But most people don’t know that in January of 2012 she also had Lap-band loss surgery. Supposedly she did so because her RNY gastric bypass failed her causing her to become overweight again. Typically a double surgery like this is only performed on super morbidly obese people. But Carnie Wilson is a celebrity and her livelihood may depend on having a slender body. Carnie is the daughter of Brian Wilson, a founding member of the popular 60’s band “The Beach Boys.” Carnie, along with her sister Wendy and lifelong friend Chynna Phillips, formed the pop band Wilson Phillips in 1989. The band recorded five albums with a few singles that topped the charts. Carnie has since produced solo albums and has become a prolific television show host, celebrity and correspondent.

The genetics to be obese?

Carnie Wilson may be genetically predisposed to gain weight (very few people are). She is reported as having a life long battle with obesity and being a classic yo-yo dieter – meaning that she could lose a little weight but would gain it right back again and more. After her RNY gastric bypass surgery she was able to reduce to a size 6. But, in a few short years she gained all her weight back and was again being ridiculed publicly for being overweight. Why did that happen?

Why would RNY Gastric bypass surgery fail?

Eating until you are full causes weight loss surgery to fail. Working with any bariatric surgery requires portion control. You must set specific portions using a scale or measuring cup and then only eat that amount of food (patients quickly learn how to eyeball these portion sizes). The magic of any weight loss surgery only happens about 20 minutes after you eat. Only then will your hunger trigger subside. Another problem many people have that causes their bariatric surgery to fail is that they wait too long to eat. They become ravenously hungry. Exaggerated hunger causes binge eating – you eat well beyond what you should (your satiety point). The trick a hungry weight loss surgery patient must remember is the control to only eat their established portion size (typically 4 ounces of protein and 6 ounces of low glycemic vegetables). Then you must stop eating and wait for satiety to occur. Remember, all weight loss surgeries will fail if you continuously eat beyond the capacity of your new stomach (pouch). The magic of surgery is that you can eat a small portion of food and then wait for satiety to occur after about 20 minutes. During that 20 minutes, your hunger trigger is still firing and you can eat and eat and eat. Don’t eat – wait until the hunger subsides. That’s how bariatric surgery works.

The fact that Carnie Wilson got to a size 6 means that her gastric bypass surgery worked. Losing that much weight didn’t happen overnight. She had to commit to eating less food over many months – maybe even years. Only after time did she obtain her goal. So she had to start eating more food to start gaining weight again. Or she started eating bad foods (or both). An interview of Carnie on a morning talk show started with her carrying out a tray full of homemade cakes including banana bread. The show host even said, “How do you expect to lose weight eating that crap” (she did not use the word crap). White flour, sugar and other high glycemic carbohydrates are what most binge eaters are addicted to. This was a good sign that Carnie was overeating her bypass surgery with the most fattening foods. That is probably why her weight loss surgery failed her after initially succeeding.

Carnie Wilson probably has a food addiction to high glycemic carbohydrates….

…and she probably did not religiously go to weight loss surgery support groups. Support groups teach you how to look at your food addiction. When you are eating because of compulsion, you don’t think about what you are eating, so you overeat the wrong foods – typically high glycemic carbs. Compulsive eating is not overcome by having Gastric Plication, Lap-band or gastric bypass surgery.

It is a psychological defect where a person does the behavior compulsively, having an unexplained and overwhelming feeling that they must do so. They can’t stop on their own and so bariatric surgery support groups must be the first counter to compulsive eating. Psychological counseling may be required for extreme cases – the need for which will be determined by your support group professionals. Most overweight people are compulsive eaters. Many times, earlier in their life, youth and determination allowed them to overcome the results of their compulsion to eat. Later in life when responsibilities become greater, people become more sedentary. One day they find themselves very overweight with less energy and overwhelmed. Now they can’t lose the weight like when they were younger. This causes depression and the need to be comforted.

Compulsive eating is their comfort of choice and so a terrible chain reaction begins. This chain reaction typically can only be overcome through support. Support groups are the most important tool in weight loss, with or without surgery. If a patient is obese because of compulsive eating, weight loss surgeries will very often fail without support. It is important to note that only in the most extreme cases will bariatric surgery fail if the patient commits to a support group. But, the commitment must be real – one the patient takes home with them and to the restaurant too. Lip service does not work when it comes to weight loss – only religious commitment to low glycemic carbs and portion control works. Again, this is true if you have weight loss surgery or not.

Lap-band surgery over gastric bypass surgery – was that Carnie Wilson’s best choice?

Putting a lap-band over a failed gastric bypass surgery is the best route to take in Carnie’s case. Surgically adjusting a bypass is much more traumatic and if it fails your only recourse is to do surgery again. The inherent problem with RNY gastric bypass surgery is that the opening between the stomach and small bowel (the stoma) is surgically created and it can stretch over time. Now with the advent of the Lap-band when this happens we put a band over the RNY pouch to allow it to work again. With the lap-band in place, only an adjustment is required to make it effective again and again over the lifetime of a patient. Bypass of the small bowel can lead to long-term malabsorption problems. This does not happen with the lap band or with gastric plication. Your life’s energy comes from absorption within your small intestine. Many gastric bypass patients must have vitamin injections. They have no choice as their body can no longer absorb nutrients and supply energy.¬† We quit doing bypass surgeries very soon after Lap-band surgery was approved in America. Because the Lap-band is adjustable, it won’t quit working over time as the first restrictive procedures did.

Imbricated Lap-band Surgery (iLap) – Lap-band surgery PLUS Gastric Plication

Gastric Plication surgery offers a new bariatric solution¬† for the super morbidly obese. Gastric Plication only requires the stomach be folded into itself. None of the stomach is removed or altered. It requires only two folds which are held in place by common sutures. The intestines remain untouched. While the surgery itself requires an experienced and skilled bariatric surgeon, it is the most easily reversed surgery ever. The sensation of satiety is much greater with Gastric Plication than other weight loss surgeries. A patient will feel full much quicker than with the Lap-band. Remember, the Lap-band can take over 20 minutes for satiety to be realized after eating. Gastric Plication is amazingly effective too. Rates of weight loss rival those of gastric bypass but the stomach and intestines remain completely intact. Carnie Wilson’s surgery, Lap-band over gastric bypass has been the solution for super morbidly obese people.

iLap (Imbricated Lap-band) surgery offers a new potentially completely reversible bariatric surgery procedure combination for the super morbidly obese. It offers the more immediate satiety of Gastric Plication combined with the lifelong adjustability of the Lap-band. Any level of weight loss can be obtained by this combination of two very reversible surgeries. Unfortunately, Lap-band surgery was not approved in the United states when Carnie Wilson had her gastric bypass surgery. (The band was first available in the US in June of 2001.)

If Carnie Wilson were making her decision today, we think she would have chosen the band.¬† But her choice of surgeon should have been based on the quality of their support. If she would have dedicated herself to a good support program, she probably would have stayed a size 6. If she does not embrace support after her Lap-band over gastric bypass, she will fail again. It’s unfortunate Carnie couldn’t have had Lap-band surgery PLUS Gastric Plication surgery – a winning combination of two of the most reversible and effective bariatric surgeries.