Obesity is extremely prevalent in the U.S. — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 40% of people struggle with this issue. It not only affects your self-esteem and the way you feel, it also raises your risk of developing serious chronic diseases that increase your risk of death such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. For those who undergo yo-yo dieting in which they face a cycle of weight loss and gain, the end goal can feel particularly unlikely, and that’s one of the reasons why bariatric surgery has become a popular tool to help you lose weight and keep it off. It’s not a shortcut to a healthier lifestyle, but is instead something that can provide a significant amount of help. You’ll need to follow post-operative instructions and change the way you eat as well as your level of physical activity to be successful in the long term.
Ultimately, bariatric surgery benefits can create significant long-lasting changes that affect not only your brain but the rest of your body.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, is a type of surgery to help you lose weight. It is generally performed on obese patients who haven’t had success in losing weight and keeping it off. Bariatric surgery procedures modify your digestive system to restrict the amount of food your stomach can hold and therefore reduce the amount of calories absorbed. It can also eliminate some or most of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which will reduce the hunger signals that travel from your digestive system to your brain.
This type of surgery is never the first course of action to lose weight — in fact, it’s only appropriate when diet and exercise have failed over extended periods of time. Each type of surgery has specific requirements that are usually determined by your body mass index (BMI), which is a weight-to-height ratio that acts as an indicator of whether a person is obese or underweight. Qualifications for bariatric surgery usually require a BMI equal to or greater than 40 or being more than 100 pounds overweight, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. In some cases, surgery can be recommended if an individual has a BMI between 30-35 with the presence of one or more obesity-related diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes.
Who will benefit the most from bariatric surgery? Take our quiz.
What are the physical benefits of bariatric surgery?
The combination of bariatric surgery and your own efforts after your procedure have the power to transform your health. Losing weight in a healthy way and keeping it off is about much more than fitting into a favorite pair of pants or looking better — although these are definite pluses as well — as it can greatly improve your quality of life and longevity.
Here are some top benefits of bariatric surgery:
- Long-term weight loss success: Research shows that more than 90 percent of severely obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery can maintain at least half of their excess weight loss after surgery. This represents a significant amount of weight that patients couldn’t lose on their own. Previously, these patients were unable to lose enough weight and/or keep it off in the long term.
- Improved health: Losing significant amounts of weight and keeping it off over time can decrease your risk of many obesity-related health conditions. If you already have any of these illnesses, significant weight loss can vastly improve them – and in some cases reverse them. This could provide the opportunity to reduce the amount of medication you take or eliminate your need for it altogether. Chronic health conditions related to obesity include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, gallbladder disease and sleep apnea, all of which can severely impact your life, compromise your longevity, and result in greatly increased medical expenses throughout the years.
- Increased energy: Carrying extra weight can lower your energy level and make it more difficult to exercise and be active. After bariatric surgery, many patients find that they have more energy and find it physically and mentally easier to get the exercise they need to stay healthy.
What are the psychological benefits of bariatric surgery?
When you think about bariatric surgery benefits, physical changes probably come to mind. Your body will certainly benefit from these positive changes, but you’re also likely to reap psychological benefits. For instance, years of obesity can lead to the habit of feeling “less than” and wanting to hide when family and friends take photos or engage in a physical activity, and many obese patients develop depression and have less social interaction than they might otherwise.
Both anecdotal evidence and research back up the significant psychological benefits of bariatric surgery.In one study, researchers questioned a group of patients who underwent bariatric surgery a year or more after their procedures. They found that positive gains were made in appreciation of life, sense of personal strength, and improvement in relating to others.
Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery have also shown improvement in their overall mood and psychological health. They’ve reported having less depression, anxiety and body dissatisfaction, along with an increase in energy.
A study in the Journal of Obesity also found a trend suggesting psychological improvements after bariatric surgery. More specifically, significant weight loss leads to improvement in patients’ body image, self-esteem and self-concept. You’re also likely to benefit from the knowledge that you’ve taken control of your life to make significant, positive changes.
Are you ready to experience the benefits of bariatric surgery?
To learn more about bariatric surgery’s brain-to-body benefits, contact BMI of Texas today. We have the experience and expertise needed to determine whether bariatric surgery is right for you and which type is most appropriate. We realize that although bariatric surgery is an important step, you’ll still need plenty of support to achieve your long-term goals. Our team, including a nutritionist, will help you develop the right habits to keep the weight off and live a happier, healthier life.