My legal assistant gave me notice today that she’ll be off for seven to ten days next month; she’s having It done.
She’s certainly not alone. Two of my stepdaughters have had It. My ex husband got the Veterans’ Administration to pay for It. Several of my clients and more of their ex-mates have as well. Even Star Jones did It. You know, the surgery. The magic solution to everyone’s overweight problem: gastric bypass surgery.
Seems easy enough, right? Doctors whittle down the size of your stomach until you can only eat a few tablespoons of food at a time. Your diet also has to change so you eat much less fat and processed sugars. Strangely enough, if you significantly reduce your consumption of calories and move bad foods off your plate–you lose weight!
The procedure, spelled out in detail here, involves the division of the stomach into two parts and then the division of the second section of the small intestines. The larger portion of the stomach is left then the bowel is reconnected in order to allow the juices of the stomach, pancreas, and liver to assist in digestion.
Lucky participants can use a laparoscopic procedure to minimize recovery time and scarring. Otherwise this involves major abdominal surgery, with its risks of infections and so on.
My assistant has had to go through extensive blood work, counseling and other requirements to even be considered. But she says she’s ready now. She wants the magic.
I’m not denying people lose weight with the surgery, and often dramatic weight loss, at least at first, if they strictly follow the recommended protocols. But it seems to me, and I’m not alone, that people are jumping to the conclusion that bariatric surgery is the “Come to Jesus!” solution to overweight.
Any of us who have been overweight most of our lives have dreamed of that pill that we could just swallow to become one of the Beautiful People. You know, the “Lose Weight While You Sleep! Don’t Change a Thing you Eat!” Method. It just ain’t happening. The way to lose weight is the same as it’s always been: burn more calories than you eat.
The easy fix often comes with high risks. One Florida friend of mine took a powdered herbal diet product for six months before suffering a very bad stroke she has not recovered from after nearly 15 years. One of my stepdaughters is now about to have a kidney removed; no one has linked the direct cause to her surgery, but no one has ruled it out, either.
Most of these people were 50-100 pounds overweight, some a little more. They did not engage in the kind of exercise and diet program that would cause a significant weight loss before grabbing for the surgery. I guarantee if I ate five tablespoons of food per meal and walked two miles a day, that I would lose many pounds as well, without any of the attendant risks of surgery. What I lack–and these other people as well–is the motivation to succeed at the task.
This is the year I intend to work at it, though I’m sure at this point I’ll never be model-thin. That’s okay, too. I just want to make it easier to move, get around and feel better. Without having someone cut me all up to do it.