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Is Weight Loss Surgery the Answer?

Many people view weight loss surgery as a way to solve or cure their struggles with weight. Some people believe that weight loss surgery will allow them to instantly lose weight with minimal personal effort, keep the weight off long term, and obtain the body that they have always wanted.

These unrealistic expectations of weight loss surgery give people the idea that this major procedure is the answer that they have been looking for. Yet, rarely are things as easy as they seem, especially regarding various weight loss procedures.

While advanced technology exists to allow for the laparoscopic completion of weight loss surgeries such as gastric bypass, gastric band, gastric sleeve, and duodenal switch, there are still potential risks and complications. These procedures can cause immediate concerns such as infection and leakage, along with long-term issues such as chronic dumping syndrome and nutritional deficiencies. In addition to the physical side effects of weight loss procedures, individuals are also at risk for experiencing depression if they regain the weight lost from surgery.

After recovery, people often expect to feel overjoyed by their weight loss. However, other issues that contributed to a person’s weight gain will most likely remain. This can cause people to become depressed that such issues have not disappeared along with the weight they are shedding. Personal habits must change after recovery from weight loss surgery in order to sustain long-term weight loss. Leisure activities often need to shift from meeting friends for lunch to meeting people for a hike. People may have to fill their spare time with activities other than late-night eating, watching television, and seeking comfort from food. If such tendencies do not change along with weight loss, people are very likely to regain weight after weight loss surgeries.

Doctors often recommend that food intake is limited and calories are restricted while a person recovers from weight loss surgery. However, the stomach can stretch to accommodate individuals who consume higher quantities of food over time. This stretch can cause individuals to regain weight, resulting in depression in some individuals. Thankfully, this outcome is preventable if individuals view weight loss surgery as yet another tool to help with their behavior change and contribute to healthy weight loss.

At Structure House, we support individuals who want to avoid weight loss surgery as well as those who are interested in procedures to assist in their weight loss journey. Regardless of which option someone chooses, we can guide them in developing a plan for healthy eating and exercise as they work toward long-term weight loss. Our comprehensive program ensures that participants have the support they need to achieve a healthy weight with or without weight loss surgery.

Learn more about Structure House’s behavioral approach to weight loss and how it can help manage thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and habits that can interfere with implementing and maintaining healthy behaviors.

About Valerie Dickerson

Valerie is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She received both her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and Master’s degree in Nutrition from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Valerie enjoys helping people develop a deeper understanding of food so that they have lasting lifestyle changes beyond their stay at Structure House. She prides herself on helping participants break down complex nutritional issues into practical realistic goals. She believes balance and a healthy relationship with food is the key to developing a lifelong food plan that fuels the body while not depriving it. Valerie conducts individual nutrition sessions, teaches nutrition classes, facilitates grocery store tours and restaurant outings, and supports participants on the Bridge Module for Binge and Emotional Overeating. Valerie originally joined the Structure House team in 2011, took a three year hiatus to be with her young children, and rejoined the team in 2018.

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