Weight Loss & Diet

Weight Loss Surgery and Bariatric Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery and Bariatric Surgery
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, is a more extreme option for higher-weight individuals who have not found long-term success controlling weight with dietary changes. You may qualify for bariatric surgery if:

  • You have extreme obesity, or a BMI over over 40 kg/m2, OR

  • You have Class II obesity, or a BMI between 35 and 40 kg/m2, and an obesity-related comorbidity such as sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, or hypertension, AND

  • You have tried diets in the past and they have not worked for you to lose weight and keep it off.

Bariatric Surgery Basics

There are a few different types of weight loss surgery procedures. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the most common are:

  • Gastric sleeve – 58% of procedures. The surgeon removes your stomach pouch and creates a vertical “sleeve” for food to pass through.

  • Gastric bypass – 19% of procedures. A small stomach pouch is created and attached to your lower small intestine, so much of your digestive system is “bypassed.”

  • Gastric band – 3% of procedures. A small band is placed around the upper portion of your stomach, so the pouch where food goes during a meal is smaller.

All of the approaches are restrictive; they restrict the amount food you can eat by making your stomach smaller. The gastric bypass is also malabsorptive; it reduces the absorption of food, so you get fewer calories, but also fewer nutrients.

After surgery, you must follow a strict diet. It progresses over the course of weeks or a couple of months from liquids, to pureed foods, to semi-soft foods, to solid foods. As you continue to lose weight, you continue to emphasize a low-calorie, high-protein diet.

Bariatric Surgery Benefits and Success

Bariatric surgery can be the most effective way to lose a lot of weight and keep it off. It can also lower your risk for obesity-related conditions, and improve them if you have them.

You can improve your chances of success by:

  • Choosing a surgeon with a history of safe and effective procedures.

  • Making sure your team includes a nutritionist, exercise specialist, and mental health professional with experience in bariatric patient care.

  • Going to all of your support group meetings and any follow-up appointments.

  • Above all, following your instructions for the post-op and long-term diet and exercise program.

Barriers to Weight Loss Surgery

About 8% (1 out of 13) adults have extreme obesity, with a BMI, but only 1% of patients who are eligible for weight loss surgery get it. Barriers can include social stigma, lack of information, and, frequently, lack of coverage or difficulty getting approval from health insurance plans – a procedure can cost $15,000 to $25,000 out of pocket. There are also concerns such as:

  • Risks of side effects and complications, such as nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal discomfort, and food intolerances.

  • Long-term commitment – your eating patterns will need to change for life to maintain your weight loss.

  • Fitting in “real life,” such as social engagements and vacations, on your restricted diet.

Best weight loss health coach app

You are putting in the work, so you deserve to maximize the benefits. A weight loss health coach app can help you do just that. A health coach app serves all the functions of a regular coach: informing, motivating, guiding, cheering, and organizing. The best weight loss health coach app:

  • Informs you about healthy ways to lose weight and incorporate healthy behaviors into your lifestyle.

  • Motivates you to keep setting and chasing new goals.

  • Guides you through your weight loss journey in your own way.

  • Cheers your successes, your efforts, and, should you fall short of your goals for a time, your renewed dedication.

  • Organizes by encouraging you to log your food, activity and weight, and storing that information.

Lark Health Coach serves all of those roles, and then some. Lark is available 24/7 to be your coach and friend. Your health coach automatically customizes your program for you.

Lark even learns your patterns and coaches around them. Do you prefer a gluten-free or dairy-free lifestyle? You’ll get tips on healthy ways to get your nutrients without eating gluten or dairy products. Do you normally take an afternoon walk? Then do not be surprised if Lark gives you a gentle nudge if you forget to take it one day.