I have been asked if I have considered weight loss surgery a few times over the last few years and my answer is always the same – after careful thought weight loss surgery is something I am not willing to consider. I know about 15 people who have been very open about their weight loss surgery, everything from the gastric sleeve to roux-en-y, and by and large the people I know who have done it follow the same pattern.
1. Go on multiple diets and fail at all of them, become depressed.
2. Talk to doctors about weight loss surgery, pick which one they think is right for them and go under the knife
3. Post-surgery recovery goes great, start losing lots of weight and exercising a bunch
4. Start discovering all of the downsides to ripping out your fully functional internal organs – must now take vitamin injections or double/triple amounts of vitamin supplements because they can’t absorb them the way they used to, shitting themselves without warning if they eat the wrong thing, requiring subsequent surgeries to fix problems that developed because of the weight loss surgery, severe malnutrition, etc.
5. Power through all the problems to look and feel pretty great for a while. Become a walking advertisement for the surgery, talk about how “it saved my life” online. This is usually the 18 month mark, but it can come a little sooner or a little later.
6. Yay, an important new thing happens in their life! New job, new baby, etc. They find that the time they used to spend dedicating to shopping for and preparing special foods is gone. They find that the time they used to spend exercising is gone. They find themselves sliding back into old, comfortable habits regarding food and movement.
7. Start gaining the weight back.
8. Panic and start trying the same old weight loss gimmicks – slimfast, appetite suppressants, etc.
9. Lose a little bit of weight.
10. Discover that their body cannot handle this type of abuse any longer and force themselves to give up the gimmicks because they physically hurt them now.
11. Regain at least half the weight lost. This is usually between the 5 and 8 year mark.
12. Quietly stop mentioning that they ever had weight loss surgery. If people ask about it they defensively reference the weight they managed to keep off, as though they would gladly have paid tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket and gone through surgery to lose such a small amount of weight.
13. Start dealing with the long term side effects of weight loss surgery – gallstones, osteoporosis, 5 times higher suicide rates than the average person, etc.
After seeing this so often I'm not willing to go through with an expensive, invasive surgery that doesn't seem very helpful long-term. I know that there are people out there for whom the surgery was successful, but so far I've not seen that in any of the people I know personally.