Why do you need a doctor to help you lose weight?  There is an army of self-proclaimed experts willing to give you advice—sometimes it is free, most of the time it costs something.  Sometimes it is your skinny sister-in-law whose idea of weight-gain is the five pounds she gained during her fifth pregnancy.  Those are the easy ones to dismiss.  The harder ones are those who have the answer—for just a few dollars a month.  “Sad, tired all the time, feel lonely?  Join our cult.”

Obese people are prey for every device, food supplement, motivational speaker, vitamin, and diet.  Everyone has advice, everyone has an answer.  You need religion, your problem is religion, you need more self-esteem, you have too much self-esteem, you need therapy, and you don’t need therapy.  Join this group, join this gym, and call my trainer.  Jog.  No, walk.  No, run—run marathons.

Then there is the ethnic diet of the year club.  The Himalayans, “they eat this weird yogurt that only we sell,” or the Norwegians—” these people live longer because they eat cod soaked in lye.”  Funny, no one has ever recommended that we go on an English diet.  Then again, maybe that should be my next book.  Who wouldn’t lose some pounds eating English cooking?  It is definitely one way to eat smaller portions.

The great thing about ethnic diets is that you can select almost any country, people, or race in the world and point out how skinny they are.  Except Americans.  Try this experiment: go to almost any foreign country, and if you find an overweight couple walking down the street ask where they are from.  More than likely, they will say they are from the United States.

Diets work – You can always lose weight on diets…

…but keeping the weight off is the issue.  Most weight loss surgeons require their patients to lose weight before Gastric Sleeve or Lap-band surgery.  This may not make sense to you, but it makes perfectly good sense to the doctor.  First, they will not regain the weight they lost.  Second, it shows a commitment to follow through after Gastric Sleeve or Lap-band surgery.  The issue for all of weight loss surgery is the after care. Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix; it is a marker for a change in life style.  Gastric Sleeve or Lap-band surgery are not for those who plan to have the procedure and then resume their prior life style.  It doesn’t work that way.

Here is a simple quiz:

Diets don’t work because:

  1. You cannot eat cabbage soup forever
  2. You have a stomach capable of digesting large mammals and you want it filled with one
  3. Your intestines are so absorbent that Phoenix Arizona air (which has little oxygen and lots of calories) causes you to gain weight
  4. all of the above

Celebrities have the answer to staying thin.  Of course, they also have personal trainers, personal chefs, and vitamin companies putting them on retainer to promote their products.  My favorite celebrities are the ones who rail against bariatric surgery, and bring to their show people who have had weight loss surgery that failed to keep them thin and healthy.  These people don’t have the answer for sustained weight loss for everyone, or ironically, even for themselves.  My patients are not celebrities.  They are like Scott, a single dad with three boys and two jobs who wants to be around to play with his grandkids.  He can’t afford to join a gym and doesn’t have the time.

So, if you are morbidly obese or know someone who is, this writing is for you.  We will tell you all about Gastric Sleeve or Lap-band surgery—the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We will also tell you about after care. More than with any other surgery, the after care programs for weight loss surgery patients are critical.

Bariatric surgery is unlike any other operation. That is why there are lots of support groups for weight loss surgery patients. Appendectomy patients or those who have had their gallbladder out don’t need support groups.

There are so many myths about weight loss surgery that I felt it was time to eliminate the confusion and explain the program.