Weight loss and surgery

I’ve been looking through the old ‘Ask the…’ threads about gastric bypass and such, and seeing as they are old, I decided to start a new thread for myself.

I’m a female, 19, 5’7 and 225 pounds.

I have no motivation to exercise. I get bored of things easily if I don’t have some sort of intellectual stimulation. I don’t like watching TV when exercising. We had a treadmill - never used it.

As for food, I’ve made a few concessions in the last year or two - switching to diet pop, trying to eat fast food less, stuff like that. But I fall prey to convenience of things. I eat when I’m hungry, so I eat far too much in a day. If I am occupied (such as in class) I don’t notice the hunger. However, a person cannot be so absorbed for most of their waking hours.

I am on antidepressants and birth control, which has ballooned my weight. I don’t think I’ve ever been thin - I was on Paxil when I was 11. I probably hit 200 by Grade 9.

However, my BMI is 34 (40 is required for surgery), and I have no other bad health effects (blood pressure and sugar normal, no sign of diabetes or thyroid problems), but I’m guessing that is because of my youth.

I want to lose this weight now. I’m 19, so the younger I lose the weight the easier the lifestyle change will stick. And I’m not doing this merely for cosmetic reasons, but I stand a better chance of my skin being elastic enough to not sag too much from weight loss.

My ideal weight is between 122-149. If I could get down to 170, that would satisfy me. However, I’m not trying anything like Atkins (carbs are my life) or South Beach or anything, because I know I’ll gain the weight back. If I can’t get surgery, then I want a professional to plan my eating habits. My doctor realizes how at risk I am, so he referred me to a nutrionist who looked at me, and said ‘Well, what do you want me to do for you?’ in a condescending voice. She gave me the spiel about eating right and exercising. Hon, I know all that BS. I need help, not a lecture.

I’ve been looking on the Net to find a medical professional in my area who can help me. Needless to say, I can’t find much. My province’s healthcare site doesn’t even have bariatric surgery listed, and for nutrition tells you to call the woman I had the run-around with before. And as for support groups like TOPS, I need a better support structure than talking with some people once a week. Some people do well with that, I don’t.

I need to go see my doctor, and I will. But I want to arm myself with information. Any doctor will say ‘well, improve your eating habits first’. But I want a Doper that will share their experience. How did someone telling you ‘change your eating habits and exercise’ and then leaving you alone help you?

Have you considered Weight Watchers? The part that makes it work (for me), is that they don’t “leave you alone.” You, ultimately, are responsible for planning what you eat and sticking to it, but the meetings are there to provide information, support and a bit of accountability. You’ll also meet a lot of people of all ages and sizes who have tried lots of things and can give you some perspective. Every Weight Watchers employee is someone who was once where are now, more or less.

You are right to recognize that it needs to be a lifestyle change, too. I know that when I was 19, I just wanted a quick fix, but it doesn’t work that way.

Your insurance may vary, but I’m with United Healthcare and there’s a stipulation that you must be in excess of 100lbs above your ideal weight (according to their little charts) or above 80lbs with a secondary issue (diabetes, blown out knee caps, apnea, whatever) in order to qualify for the surgery.

I work with alot of women who have had the surgery and two look and feel really good, one’s husband had to be re-opened and went through HELL with his gastric bypass, one girl lost too much weight and kind of looks like a frail, skinny thing with alot of skin hanging on her, one is too early to tell, and another had it maybe 7 years back and is just as large as she was pre-surgery now. Apparently if you don’t start exercising and learning to eat differently after the surgery, your weight will come back. :smack:

HOWEVER! I am quite a bit more overweight than you are (though we’re about the same height) and as I refused (or rather, continue to refuse… everytime I go to my surgery-happy doctor) the surgery, my doctor decided to try me on phentermine.

It’s risky if you have any heart problems but I must say that I feel more in control of my food intake and exercise capability than I ever thought possible. Six months ago you couldn’t have paid me to haul my ass off the couch and walk around my apartment complex for twenty minutes.

Now I have to stop myself from driving to the park in the middle of the night to walk several laps.

Additionally, I’m not hungry and nothing usually sounds very appetizing. I might nibble on some cheese and an apple, an egg and some turkey meat and maybe have a salad for dinner or maybe one item from taco bell (old habits die hard).

I’ve lost 41 lbs since I started seeing my doctor in '04 and 25 of that has been since he put me on Phentermine in September. It’s not an overnight fix or anything and it definitely has it’s share of side effects, but it definitely gave me some needed sense of control about what I eat and how much I move.

They also mentioned something called Meridia, but I guess (And don’t quote me, I was only half paying attention) it works with your gall bladder somehow and mine fell out last August. :confused:

Just a few things you may want to discuss with your primary physician. :slight_smile:

I’m afraid that at your weight, you likely wouldn’t qualify for any bariatric surgery. However, I’ll just tell you that my beginning stats were 5’8" and 256 pounds. I lost 70 pounds in a manner of 9 months by following Weight Watchers and working out. It’s not nearly as difficult as you think it is; just think in terms of mini-goals. Five pounds, ten pounds, then reward yourself each time.

Get out and walk. Do something to get some physical activity. Eat more vegetables, drink more water - you’d be surprised at just doing those few little things will make a big difference.

PS: I hate people. I actually avoided them. I went to WW meetings for a month, and then did it by myself. I had online support from other friends who were dieting (not necessarily WW), and that was pretty helpful. So in essence, I did learn the program and leave, much like you’re afraid your doctor is going to tell you stuff and then you’ve got to continue on your own. BTW: you’ve got OHIP (guessing from your location). You can go see your doctor once a month, once every other month, whatever you need to do.

Even if you qualified for Bariatric surgery, they will ask you to lose 10% of your body weight first to show your commitment. Even if they perform the surgery, it is not a cure all. You can still gain or lose weight if you wished.

Last summer my stomach perferated and the doctor did a true by-pass, the esophogas goes straight into my small intestine, with no stomach in between. (I have a stomach, just nothing goes into it and he put a drain in that empties fluids to the small intesting lower down.)

I was able to gain 30 lbs because I have a sweet tooth and basically grazed all day on sweets. My Doc is glad because it shows that everything is working - but he has told me to stop gaining weight too.

I recommend WW or some other professional program BEFORE you do anything as drastic as surgery.

Please don’t get your heart set on bariatric surgery for such a relatively small amount of weight and at such a young age! Isn’t that a permanent solution to what could be a temporary problem?

Ultimately, there is no way to take weight off and keep it off without reducing your caloric intake (while maintaining good nutrition) below the level of your caloric use (which, at 225 pounds with no additional exercise would come out to roughly 2250 calories per day). It takes 3500 calories burned to lose a pound of body fat, so it doesn’t happen overnight either. Any exercise or physical activity helps both by burning calories and by keeping your metabolism burning hotter, and will make weight loss much easier and faster. If you exercise smart (focus on burning calories rather than building muscle, at least until you reach your goal) it will make the weight loss go much faster. Walking is great exercise for burning calories. Start walking where you would normally drive or ride. If you can’t walk a lot, start with a little - walk a block every day, then next week walk two blocks, and so on. You’d be surprised how fast you will grow to like walking.

I agree with those who suggest joining Weight Watchers or any other program, provided it has all of these things in it:
-Nutritional education. You would be amazed what you don’t know about nutrition.
-Record keeping. Nothing helps you not eat junk more than having to write it all down (and noting how many calories out of your daily allotment that junk used up)
-Encouragement and praise when you are succeeding, and support when you are falling off the wagon.
-Exercise of some kind.
-Building good habits.

Best of luck to you, and you might want to join the weight loss club 2006 thread in MPSIMS here

My mother did Weight Watchers when I was just a wee one, so I don’t remember how she fared, but needless to say, unlike me she is a candidate for surgery. She has been talking about going to TOPS though.

GingerOfTheNorth - no OHIP, but I do have SaskHealth. :smiley:

Normally I’m pretty supportive of people who are trying to lose weight, but not when I think that person is a lost cause. I mean, c’mon… you’re not exercising despite easy access to a treadmill and you admit your eating habits are shitty, but would rather correct them via surgery than just buck up and do it? Give me a break.

Losing weight is tough. It should be. Stop making excuses about it and lose the weight. It’s hard, but worth it. A few years ago, I went to the department store to get a new pair of pants. After not fitting into a size 40, I headed over to the shoe department instead. Got a pair of running shoes and resolved to lose the weight.

Talk about intellectual stimulation… researching foods and what your body needs to survive and lose weight is an amazingly fascinating subject. Look into it yourself. I did. I started running. I sucked at it at first and couldn’t run more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time. I was closing in on 260 pounds, as a 6’2" male.

I got down to 175 over the course of a year by researching how to do it on my own and keeping myself motivated by seeing results. No messy expensive surgery… my weight loss took an investment of a $40 pair of running shoes, which I easily made up by all the Taco Bell and McDonald’s I skipped after learning the havoc that food was wreaking on my body.

I slipped up and gained some back, but re-lost it. I’m back to about 185ish, and training for my first marathon now. I ran 10 miles last weekend. I run 12 on Saturday.

As a 260 pound guy, I friggin’ hated exercise. I friggin’ hated anything I couldn’t buy via a drive thru window or at a pub. I learned to love it. It’s an acquired taste, sure, but you’ll learn how great you can feel after only a few weeks of it.

Surgery is a last resort, not a first option. If you’re so interested in mental stimulation, look at weight loss as an exercise in mental and physical discipline, much harder than studying. Weight loss is hard, but worth it. Stop looking for the easy way out and just do it.


As a gastric bypass surgery patient who needed this surgery at 334 pounds & 5’10", and had to fight to get insurance approval, I don’t even know where to start.

  1. At your BMI, you’d be lucky to find a surgeon to even consider taking you as a patient. If you did find one, I’d be highly suspect of their ethics.

  2. At your BMI, you will never get an insurance carrier to cover this surgery unless you have a slew of co-morbidities (and fear of sagging skin and being bored easily with exercise ain’t gonna cut it). I had a BMI of 47.9 (according to your stats, your BMI is 35.2) and had to threaten to sue my insurance company to cover me.

  3. This surgery operates on your stomach - not on your head. All it does is give me a tool to get to an even playing field. Now I’m like the entire rest of the free world - I watch what I eat, how much I eat, I exercise faithfully and I am in this for the rest of my life.

I have a lot more to say, but it’s an emotional thing for me and I’m not very coherent right now. This surgery saved my life.

Here’s a link fo you to read:

Sally needed this surgery & couldn’t get it. If you feel like searching www.obesityhelp.com, there is a “Memorial Board” with several other stories like this. Maybe that will make you reconsider your situation and realize it’s not the cure for not having the motivation to exercise.

I apologize if this is harsh (OK - maybe I don’t apologize for that).


Your head is the problem, not the weight. You have to want to try before anything will happen. It sounds like you went to a not-very-helpful nutritionist, but that “BS” about eating healthy and exercising really does work. You just ought to give it a try.

Why do you assume that you’ll gain the weight back if you try Atkins or South Beach? Sure, some people do, but others don’t. Why do you assume you’ll be in the group that doesn’t? I don’t think it really matters what kind of diet you do, but you’ll have to do something to get the weight off.

Try small starts: walk 30 minutes a day, or treadmill, or go to the gym. Lots of people, me included, don’t really like exercise. We manage to do it, though, because it’s worth it. Listen to music/books while you exercise, or find an exercise you enjoy. Do you have access to an XBox/Playstation? Look into the DDR games - fun & exercise, too.

Take small steps with eating as well (it sounds like you’ve already done this.) Figure out one thing you eat that isn’t very good for you. Make sure it’s not your absolutely favorite thing - just something like “I eat a quarter pounder from McDonald’s every Tuesday.” Switch to something healthier - a salad from McDonald’s, a small Subway sandwich, etc. It’s a little harder to eat healthier, but not much.

Look into Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice meals. They’re easy to fix and not horribly expensive. Most are somewhat tasty as well.

Above all, though, have some confidence! Losing weight ain’t easy, but making positive changes in your life really isn’t all that hard. Don’t look at it as weight loss, look at it as healthy changes for the rest of your life. Giving up the fast food habit at age 19 is a GREAT goal. Exercise - even 30 minutes every other day - will stick with you forever if you make it a priority now.

Quoted for truth.
Kushiel, here’s a couple of pictures. I just wanted to show you what I did, by myself, without surgery. Just exercise and watching what went into my mouth.

Before (January 2003)
After (December 2005)

Hello there. Long time lurker, first time poster.

First of all, I appluad you for recognizing that you have a problem, and are seeking ways to rectify it.

However, surgery is not that way.

About 4 years ago, I lost over 100 lbs in under a month due to surgery. While the operation wasn’t for weight loss, it did have that as a side effect.

I was estatic about losing so much weight. However, I did little to keep it off. I didn’t exercise. I didn’t change my eating habits for the better.

In fact, I stopped exercising altogether, thinking my daily activities would be more than enough.

I ended up gaining back everything I lost, and then some. It was a hard lesson to learn, but one I needed. You cannot rely on a quick fix to lose the weight and keep it off.

Diets don’t work either. What you need is life style change.

This is what helped me start back losing weight the last couple of months.

Water. It’s very important. A lot of folks out there have a small sense of thirst. So small that it gets mistaken for hunger. Any time you feel hungry, drink 8 ounces of water first.

This serves several purposes. It’ll make sure you’re staying hydrated, which helps in weight loss. It’ll flush toxins out of your body faster, making you feel better. It’ll make you less hungry, so that you eat less.

Next is, don’t starve yourself. It amazes me at the people who skip meals and make themselves feel awful from skipping meals. You want to eat at least 6 times a day.

Have a good breakfast, nutrition wise. Half a grapefruit (or other citric fruit.) A piece toast. (I prefer raisan bread.) A glass of 2% milk. A piece of lean ham.

A couple of hours later, have a healthy snack. Half a can of water packed tuna, a banana, some type of fruit.

For lunch, have a healthy meal. A salad without dressing, a lean quisine meal, something.

A couple of hours after that, another healthy snack. Usually for me, it’s a pear, or raisins, or grapes.

Then a healthy supper. If you usually eat something fried, grill it or bake it. If you’re using ground beef, switch to ground deer, or turkey, or chicken.

Don’t cut out sweets altogether though. Just limit it to once a day.

Eating like this serves several purposes. You’re not constantly hungry. Your metabolism is constantly going. You’re still getting filled, but not eating as much as you used to.

You don’t need to set a period of time solely to exercising either. Just change how you do things. If you take an elevator, use the stairs instead. If you use a remote, get up and walk across the room to change something. If you need to go somewhere that’s within a 30 minute walk, walk instead of driving.

Fiber. You want lots of fiber. Take a supplement if you don’t like fibery foods. Also, start taking vitamans.

Start buying low fat/no fat foods. They generally taste the same, and are healthier.

Stop using sugar, and switch to splenda or nutrisweet. Don’t buy whole milk, get 2% or skim milk. Don’t use butter, use margirin. Don’t eat mayo. If you must, get no fat.

Might I suggest yoga as well? It’ll help your flexability and joints. It takes great concentration to do it right, so you won’t be as bored as say running on a treadmill, and it’ll keep your muscles from atrophying themselves.

I quoted this because it reminded me of a line in the OP:

I realize that right after that, she talks about surgery or diet plans, but even with surgery, eating right is still needed - you can gain back significant weight after bariatric surgery.

My husband is dealing with weight issues. He’s been overweight since his pre-teen years, often rather significantly. He’s a letter carrier with a walking route, so he walks several miles a day - which simply means that’s his “maintenance level” of activity, so a long vacation or being injured and off the job means his weight goes up more. He’s very tall and has a large, muscular frame under the “padding” so obviously he does need a decent amount of nutrition to keep his muscle level up and give him energy on the job. That has interfered with his attempts in the past to try to lose weight.

Earlier last year he had no energy, he would drag himself home from work, eat dinner, and doze off on the couch. He felt awful. I convinced him to go to the doctor for a checkup, and the doctor diagnosed him with mildly high blood pressure, somewhat high cholesterol and, of course, being overweight.

What got him to finally do it was really, no really, accepting for himself that he wanted to lose weight, and for him, talking to the doctor and being told he had to go on meds for his blood pressure helped trigger that. Sure, he’d always wanted to lose weight, but not enough to make him watch what he ate. You have to want it enough to read labels, to look at what you’re eating, to eat sensibly in a way that will help you lose weight and yet be something you can continue to do. You’re not going on a diet, you’re changing how you eat.

He had to do this for himself. I cook our dinners at home, but I’m not around when he’s having breakfast or lunch at work; I can’t monitor his food intake.

His doctor gave him information on the American Heart Association’s Delicious Decisions low-fat, low-cholesterol diet plan. He and I discussed its options, and agreed to raise his daily meat “allowance” since he does have such an active job, with the understanding that he would also tell his doctor about this. He’s become an avid label-reader, and we find that while grocery shopping, we discuss nutritional tradeoffs of foods and what our best choices are.

Since April, he’s lost 40 lbs. He has a ways to go yet, but we think we can manage this with more dietary improvement (more veggies!). His blood pressure and cholesterol, unfortunately, seem to be at least a fair amount due to genetics so he’s on very low doses of meds for those, currently. However, the doctor focused on what he considered important - my husband not only lost that weight, but feels better. The tiredness is gone.

While poking around on the AHA’s site, I found a program that is designed to help women build exercise gradually into their day and lifestyle, and improve their eating habits. You might want to check it out.

Find some kind of system that will help you. If you like poking around on computers, try the online version of Weight Watchers, or I’ve heard good things about eDiets.com as well. Alternately, if you think you can be a good calorie-counter, I thought that Liberal’s description of his new diet was interesting - if you’re scrupulous about the counting and make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, you can include your “forbidden foods” that you crave.

You’ve already made some good choices in changing how you eat. Pick a couple items off sikle’s list and work on those for now. Keep adding more.

I wrote the original post yesterday in a bit of a bad mood. I’ve never actually seriously thought I could get surgery, but I guess I want an easy way out.

My friends can eat any bloody thing they want, and still maintain a very slim body.

I live in a household of ‘junk food good’, and will be here for at least another year because of school.

I don’t know what to say, my mind’s a bit jumbled right now. wassoon and Veuve_ClicquotNJ have made me embarrassed by telling me what I already know and doing what no one else really does - talking straight to the person who wants to lose weight.

Healthy weight loss occurs at 1-2 pounds a week. How do you keep yourself going without the instant results? I do admit to being part of the entitlement generation, and I should have seen that to a lot of people who have had surgery I’ve pissed them off in the same way beautiful women like Keira Knightly throw out words like ‘I know by 25 I’ll be a has-been so I need plastic surgery to be beautiful’ or Sharon Osbourne’s constant breast enlargement and reduction merry-go-round.

I apologize for my words if they hurt anyone - I’m more rational now, and I do plan on joining Weight Watchers or TOPS or something similar and joining a gym or something. I didn’t mean to belittle anyone’s experiences.

I’m glad you’re reconsidering the surgery. But please don’t judge your intake based on what others can eat. Couple of things: people have different metabolisms. It’s like like how some guys cruise through school, never study, and make straight A’s while the others of us actually have to spend time studying. Some of us will alawys have to vigilant.

Plus, your friends are young (and bad diets often catch up with people as they age) and you may not see what they eat all the time. If you see me out at a pub with friends, sure, I’ll have some cheese fries or chips and queso. What you don’t see is that most days I have oatmeal for breakfast, tuna and vegetables for lunch, and a spinach salad for dinner.

Anyway, lots of good advice in this thread, I hope you find something that works for you. You’re right, you’re young now and if you make changes now, they’ll benefit you for life.

For what it’s worth, I’m not “pissed”. I was just scared that you would seriously consider something like surgery so blithely.

I really do wish you the best - I know it’s a hard row to hoe.


1-2 pounds a week will quickly add up to 4-8 pounds a month; more likely, because you’re young. Wait’ll you’re an old fart and you celebrate losing a pound a month!

You need to think of it in both the short and the long term. Once you lose that 2 pounds, treat yourself. Ten pounds? That’s a pedicure right there. Twenty pounds? That’s a whole size down. It really won’t take forever, I promise. Joining TOPS or WW is a sensible thing, and it’ll help you lose weight without losing you health.

The February edition of Consumer Reports arrived last night. It’s their annual “Get Fit” issue. In addition to the fitness machine test results they dedicated several pages to discuss bariatric surgery.

You might want to give it a read.