If you’ve had gastric bypass surgery, you’ll hear it all the time: you took the “easy way out.” Some even feel guilty for taking this option when they see others struggle to lose weight.
But weight loss surgery is anything but easy. And it can be maddening to hear others dismiss your sacrifice as an easy escape.
So here are 7 reasons why gastric bypass surgery is NOT the “easy way out”:
- Hell Week. The days immediately following surgery are the most intense, miserable experience you can imagine. You have been through major surgery and your body will not let you forget it. The pain is bad enough, but the fatigue is worse.
Then there is your sudden withdrawal from food. You see it everywhere: your family’s meals, in commercials. You will experience cravings that drive mental anguish to new levels.
Hormone levels go a bit haywire, and depression is common. So are vast mood swings. You may well feel like you’re just going insane.
All this leads to a serious case of buyers remorse. Why on earth did I do this to my body? Of course, this regret contributes to the mental anguish.
Hell Week can be as short as a few days or as long as a couple of weeks. And everyone goes through it.
- Dumping. Most gastric bypass patients will experience dumping at least once, some more often. Dumping happens when food (which hasn’t been broken down as thoroughly as it was before surgery) enters the small intestine too quickly. You start to sweat. You’re nauseas and you may even throw up. Or you could have diarrhea. And then you are exhausted and want to sleep.
It’s the most miserable feeling you can imagine, and you will do anything to avoid experiencing it again.
- Suddenly removing food from your life is traumatic. More so than you can imagine. And it’s not like you can sneak around and cheat like you can on a diet – at least not for a long while. It’s as if a close friend has died.
Then there are the emotional ramifications of this loss. You have to do “brain surgery” on yourself, discovering why you overate to begin with and how to change destructive behaviors. It can be very uncomfortable, even though its healthy in the long run.
- Complications. There are lots of potential complications and some unpleasant side effects. You can develop infections from surgery. You could develop gall stones and need your gall bladder out. You could develop a stricture (incredibly painful!) and need more surgery. You can develop reactive hypoglycemia, have food blocking the exit of your pouch (again very painful!) or become constipated. Or you could just have painful, smelly gas.
- Vitamins. With gastric bypass, the part of your intestine that absorbs much of your nutrients is bypassed. So you must take a range of vitamins every day for the rest of your life. This can mean anywhere from 4 pills up to 12 or more, each and every day.
If you don’t take vitamins, or if the ones you take aren’t good enough, you can develop life-threatening deficiencies. You may wind up having to take regular shots or get regular blood transfusions. Either way, it’s no walk in the park.
- Protein and water requirements. In addition to constantly popping vitamins, gastric bypass patients must get 60 – 80 grams of protein and 48 – 64 ounces of water every day into a pouch that holds about 1 cup at a time. Lets just say that’s not easy and requires constant effort.
- You still have to watch what you eat and exercise. This is the biggest myth out there – that having gastric bypass surgery means weight magically falls off of you with no effort. And while you may lose some weight without exercise, if you want to see real results you have to get moving. And you can’t just shove anything in your mouth, either. Even if you happen to be one of the “lucky” few who can eat anything without dumping, unhealthy foods will stop weight loss and start regain. Just like they will for anyone else.
So you see, gastric bypass surgery is anything but easy. What it is is a tool – a tool that helps you succeed if you use it properly. If you follow your doctor’s advice and work your tool correctly, you can indeed see fantastic results: better health and dramatic weight loss.
And in the end, most will tell you it’s more than worth the effort.