Friday, June 01, 2007

Gastric Bypass Surgery NOT The Obesity Answer

I was privileged to be interviewed by an online magazine this week about the sometimes controversial subject of gastric bypass surgery. While it may surprise you that I'm not totally against it for those very, very few people who have exhausted every possible solution to their obesity, I do NOT support it as a first option as it is so flippantly being used by people calling themselves medical professionals today. I'll post a link to that interview when it is published in the next week or so.

Coincidentally, this very topic came up late this week because I just happened to receive an e-mail from a 41-year old woman who weighs 310 pounds and is now considering gastric bypass surgery. Yikes! Her story is a sad one because she is at the end of her rope struggling with her weight since the age of four and even going through several bouts with eating disorders. She now feels there is nothing left for her to do but to go under the knife.

Here's what my reader wrote in her e-mail:

When I turned 25 I became bulimic. At the time I weighed 300 and my weight began coming off like crazy. I went to a size 8 and didn't stay there but always 'maintained' a low weight via hours and hours of exercise, laxatives or purging the other way.

That went on for so many years until I became a Christian. Once I got saved, I was very convicted to treat my body as a temple of God. The battle was hard, but I did stop purging. I don't need to tell you the weight flew right back on me again and I've tried so hard to eat healthy (which I realize is the low carb way of life) and in the right portions

Yet, I cannot seem to make any headway and have been to all the specialists. I have started the process for the gastric bypass surgery. This isn't a quick decision I just made yesterday...I've wanted this for the past 2 years and I've taken most of the steps required to have the surgery.

I went to counseling (because of the eating disorder history) and I know that this is not my magic bullet. I so desperately want to do this for the sake of my kids, my husband and my health. I don't want to sit at home while they go to the park anymore.

What I want is two goals--1) to ride a horse with my daughter and 2) ride a bike with my husband and son. So many have tried to talk me out of it, but my doctor and I feel that it's the only way to make the 'mountain' more manageable. I have to admit, he was against it for quite some time and worked with me for the past five years before we got to this point.

Now my dilemma is my insurance has denied the surgery. I need help! Who can help me? Do you have names of doctors that you know who would work with me financially? Are there other options to pay for the surgery? I appreciate any help you can give, I know you are busy!

Oh, this just breaks my heart. What would this poor woman do if the gastric bypass surgery option wasn't available to her? How would she eat? She already KNOWS low-carb is a healthy nutritional approach, so why even mess with getting cut on? After all, livin' la vida low-carb is the diet they'll put her on after she has the surgery, so why not do it now?

I don't want anyone who has had gastric bypass surgery and found success on it to mistake what I'm saying as ridicule or scorn against your decision. I know there are some real gastric bypass surgery success stories, most notably my friend and fellow blogger Beth Badore (aka "Melting Mama"). But people like her are the exception, not the rule.

Here was my response back to this hurting reader:

Let me encourage you with the hope that you CAN overcome your obesity problem naturally without the use of surgery. That was what I was able to do three years ago when I reached 410 pounds.

Thanks to the Atkins low-carb diet, I lost 180 pounds in one year and got healthy for the first time in my entire life. I would have never thought it was possible had it not been for this amazing dietary approach. I found what worked for me and I'm STILL doing it! YEAH!!!

God was with me throughout my weight loss and I KNOW He will give you the strength, support, and guidance that you need to succeed as well. THANK YOU again for writing and please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions or comments about livin' la vida low-carb.

I hope you reconsider your decision about having gastric bypass surgery.

While a lot of people look at that surgery as their big opportunity to lose weight for good, there are certain risks involved with it that need to be weighed. If you are comfortable with them and feel there is absolutely no other way because you have given all the other options a 100 percent chance of working, then perhaps gastric bypass surgery is for you. My own mother had the surgery done just one month before I started low-carb. She has lost 100 pounds, but it's been a tough road.

Hopefully you now realize gastric bypass surgery is NOT the answer obesity. Seek out every other natural dietary option that you can and be sure to give them a real chance to work before giving up on them. If you find a nutritional approach that you enjoy, read everything you can about that way of eating, and then keep on eating that way for the rest of you life. Do that and you'll probably be surprised by how effective it will work for you.

Don't give up hope because weight loss CAN be done...without surgery! GO FOR IT!

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Blogger BamaGal said...

Jimmy I sure would like to talk with that woman. I had the WLS--and now I actually eat a higher fat diet than most of my counter parts. WLS is not the end all be all of weight loss. I know quite a few who have gained practically ALL their weight right back on. Yup, even though their stomach is the size of an egg and their insides are all re-routed, weight gain is still possible. The head is where the problem lies---especially with someone who has a history of an eating disorder----shoot, morbid obesity is an eating disorder in itself.
Through your site and all the research I've been able to find on the net, I now know how to eat properly. I still have many of my WLS friends who continue to try and follow the old low fat diet. They get their protein in as we are suppose to, but it is always lean protein. Then wonder why they are hungry so often. And don't get me started on the carb issues they still have. They think just because it is high fiber or complex carbs it's a good thing. I know better.
I don't know what comorbidities this lady has---but mine were extensive---I'm only 5'2" and weighed nearly 400 lbs. Granted they are all gone now along with the outrageous number of meds I was on. But knowing what I know now--I would have given low carb a decent shot first.
On a side note---most docs want you to lose some weight prior to the surgery----to shrink the fatty liver so the surgery is less risky---guess how my surgeon recommended to do it---ATKINS

6/01/2007 11:05 PM  
Blogger Regina Wilshire said...

Here in MO, a friend of mine was sitting last year at 310-pounds and ready to gave GBS; I talked to her for a couple of hours, helped weigh the pros and cons and she opted to try the one diet she'd not tried - a modified low-carb diet (no plan specifically - we sat and made a list of what she liked and didn't, and found subs for the junky things she liked)....she made a plan to start day after July 4th; now, 10-months later, she's lost 90-pounds (!!!!!) and still losing. Not only that, but she loves eating a carb-controlled diet!

6/02/2007 9:40 AM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

The thing about gastric bypass is that you are not going to be able to eat almost anything. You can only eat a few very small portions of food every few hours, like ping pong ball servings and close to liquid types of food. This you must do for many months and years. That's why the weight losses are so great. Hardly any food and then your supposed to exersize quite a bit if you are able too.

I decided that if I wasn't going to be able to eat anyway that I just as well do it without the dangerous surgery and the end result would be the same thing.

I slowly cut back and then off from sugar and carbohydrates and caffeine and began drinking water only and eating lots of green vegetables and meat and wild rice.

I have lost 50# in seven months and I expect to lose another 130# in the next two years or less.

I had an excessive compulsive eating disorder and severe hypoglycemia.

I have neither one now. Zero.

The last three days I have only eaten one meal a day about an hour after I get up. Meat only. I'm in full keytosis.

Today my one meal will be hamburger and wild rice and onion and garlic.

Either I have cancer and I am dieing or something has happened. I am not hungry.

I do enjoy my one meal and I almost eat a second one but I weigh myself and say hay this thing is working and I feel so much better both mentaly and psychally and I'm starting to look better and feel better about my looks.

I started at 365# and I am now at 315#

It's a little bit scarry.

I was massivly stimulated on sugar and carbohydrates and caffeine for sixty of my sixty two years.

I'm the same person but it's differant not being stimulated.

I like it though and I want more of it.

I fought long and hard for this.

You can too, if you will fight long and hard and unending and start it over again when you fail.

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

It works.


6/02/2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

I do hope your reader considers giving low-carb another try. I know very little about gastric bypass, other than what I've read. But most what I've reead has not be positive. I've been reading melting mama's blog a lot lately and she has had some very eye-opening stories regarding wls. She also shared a wls patients video blog, where the poor woman was experienceing dumping. I was in pain just watching her. Maybe her insurance company turning her down is Divine guidance. It really may be a blessing in disguise.

6/02/2007 7:06 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I thought the same thing about it being a hidden blessing for her, Sparky's Girl!

6/02/2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

To me, gastric bypass surgery is just the ultimate and most cruel manifestation of the still feverishly worshiped Calorie Lie. As reality proves so often, even after gastric bypasses and stomach stapling and all such other nonsense people gain the weight back.

Not to mention of course that the intake of such extremely small amounts of foods introduces the very real danger of serious deficiencies in essential macronutrients.

It's the ultimate proof of the utter and total failure of the Calorie Theory. As I have stated so often: The Calorie Theory is a firmly established scientific fact - as a measure to raise the temperature of water under specifically controlled circumstances. However, the Calorie Theory as applied to nutritional science is totally absurd.

It's nothing more than a cruel joke and total delusion at the (health) expense of the misinformed and misguided victims. The majority of obesity is directly linked to a disturbed carbohydrate metabolism as a result of the (lifetime of) excessive intake of refined carbohydrates. The best, logical, completely natural and scientifically sound way of permanently overcoming and correcting that disorder is through a low-carb dietary regimen.

6/02/2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Diamondwife said...

2 people in my family had gastric bypass. They are husband and wife. The husband was very morbidly obese (over 500 lbs) and did lose about 200 pounds. He is not losing anymore though and has been eating large amounts of food again. His wife is very thin, but then she has had multiple surgeries since the bypass and almost died. her hair is very thin, skin is a strange color (almost gray) and saggy. She just doesn't look healthy. His surgery was about 5 years ago and hers has been 2 or 3 years ago. I would never recommend this surgery to anyone unless it was their absolute last option.

6/03/2007 1:02 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Regarding Kimkins, the new site is slicker, in anticipation of the cover story I assume. I preferred Kim's old "after" picture, she looked so much more relaxed and natural (and stunningly attractive). I'm sure they told her she had to get a slicker picture, unfortunately. The barely disguised sarcasm on her face in the red dress picture expresses her real feelings about having to tart herself up. But her service could get very big, at least for a while. That would be good for low-carb. It's all about grass-roots spreading of awareness. At a certain point, people won't listen to BS anymore from health "experts".

6/03/2007 2:53 AM  
Blogger MrsB said...

I feel like I can relate to the women in this story on some level. There were times where I tried to purge, but could never get my body to do it. Having to lose 100+ pounds DOES seem like an impassable mountain. But it's very doable, if you're patient. And the confidence boost it gives you when you DO lose that much weight is so worth it. I know she can do it.

6/03/2007 2:41 PM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

Now they are looking at GBS for treating Type 2 Diabetes.

They suspect there are some hormonal and metabolic changes that affect Type 2 Diabetes after the surgrey. Hey, could it be the low carb diet they eat after the surgery?

I don't fault anyone for trying the surgery as an absolute last resort, but the medical establishment would recommend this before Livin' La Vida Low Carb, whereas, they have it all bassackwards. I'm doing just fine with Low Carb.

6/04/2007 4:50 PM  

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