There are alternatives to bariatric surgery.  Diet and exercise do work but, instead of developing a new routine and new habits, patients fall back to old habits and regain their lost weight (it never really is lost, is it?).  In fact, you cannot dispute that diet and exercise are critical to the success of weight loss surgery.

You can go a step further and say that if you follow a reasonable routine of diet and exercise, like the ones outlined in this writing, you will not need any form of weight loss surgery.

The laughing you hear in the background is from my friends who have gone through this before.  Okay gang! Quiet down.  We might have some righteous skinny person reading this writing telling their vertically challenged friend, “See, Dr. Simpson agrees—you just need to… blah, blah, blah.”

The reason we surgeons do bariatric surgery is that there is a point where patients get tired of the cycle—or recidivism.  That’s a great word.  It means falling back to old habits.  The National Institute of health reports that 95 percent of persons who are morbidly obese will regain lost weight within two years.

Losing weight without weight loss surgery – righteous preachers

Ah oh, here come those righteous preachers again—they are going to tell you all about willpower.  Let me just list those lines in this writing for those who don’t wish to contemplate bariatric surgery and want to think about diet and exercise:

You just need to…

  1. Have willpower…
  2. Try this pill (pick one).  God knows what is in some of these pills you can buy without a prescription, and doesn’t it make you feel good to know that there are no government regulations about these pills or their claims of being safe and effective?
  3. Do this workout (pick your favorite skinny star who is pawning a tape or DVD of their plastic surgery-reconstructed body doing some workout)
  4. Try this machine.  Oh, the infomercials—you have to love these.  There are machines that make you feel like it really isn’t exercise! There are machines that are “designed” to make you lose weight in 30, 45, or 90 days.  I have owned a couple of machines and found that they make a great place to hang clothes.
  5. Lose weight while you sleep (for those who slept through the class where you learned about PT Barnum and a sucker born every minute)
  6. Biofeedback (as if food isn’t the world’s greatest biofeedback)
  7. Behavior modification (just strap these electrodes on your… )
  8. Try this prescription (to see last year’s favorite weight loss drug check the yellow pages under legal firms).  Of course, some weight loss drugs work well.  Amphetamines and cocaine are two great examples—but they will kill you faster than obesity.

A multibillion-dollar industry is built around obesity

There is everything from fad diets that make you pass gas or eat road kill, to pills that contain stimulants like ephedrine—that can, and do, kill people.  There is a diet for every food group—the protein diet, the carbohydrate diet, the fat diet, the sugar diet.  There is a diet for every food.  There is the rice diet, the grapefruit diet, the salami diet, the cabbage soup diet.  There are diets that are low in carbohydrates, then diets that are low in protein.  Fat is good.  No, it is bad.

Confused yet?  Even the world’s “experts,” cannot agree.  I loved seeing the late Dr. Atkins and Dr. Ornish go at each other; it was more fun than watching wrestling.  There is more arguing about the “best” diet than there is arguing about whose church to worship in.  Then there are those who say that the answer is not food, it is vitamins and supplements—but not just any vitamin or supplement, you must have the one they are selling (what a shock).  Why eat, just take these pills, with this powder, mix it with this bottled water, or skim milk (blue water) and you are on your way to weight loss.  Soylent green is the best for this (for later generations see The Matrix, and what that machine feeds its batteries).

Even we doctors disagree—and we have degrees in medical science.  There is both legitimate science here and a lot of whooie.  So how do you sort the pearls from the swine???  Which brings me to my favorite myths from “nutrition stores.”  You will hear people say, “Doctors really don’t have any training in nutrition.”  This is, by the way, completely wrong and misleading.

How do they know?  (Oh, I forgot.  They went to medical school but gave up medicine to peddle vitamins in the strip mall and are now experts about nutrition.)  Some claim they formulate their product just for you.  Can you hear it now?  President of XYZ Vitamin Company saying, “You know, Dr. Simpson is putting on a few pounds, let’s formulate something for a five-foot nine-inch, tall, handsome male doctor.”