Is Bariatric Surgery “Cheating?”

I often talk with women and men who are hesitant to undergo bariatric surgery in California because they consider it to be “cheating.” They are determined to lose weight naturally without surgical intervention. While there’s nothing wrong with making healthy lifestyle changes of your own free will, I do think it’s wrong to label those who have bariatric surgery as “cheaters.”

Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix or an easy way out by any means. I’m sure those who have undergone this procedure and experienced “hell week” would agree. Pain, fatigue and withdrawal symptoms are all common after surgery, and many patients experience an unpleasant side effect known as “dumping,” which may include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Additionally, there is always the added risk of complications from surgery, such as infection.

The idea that bariatric patients lack will power is also false. Bariatric surgery is life-changing and requires a tremendous amount of will power and commitment. In fact, those who have bariatric surgery often have to watch what they eat more closely than those who lose weight naturally because of the changes in the digestive system. Eating a little too much or deviating from your diet can have serious adverse reactions, so the patient has to be extra careful. Plus, bariatric patients still have to exercise and eat right to maintain their weight loss. They do not simply sit back, relax and watch the pounds melt away. A regular workout routine and a strict diet are crucial for maintaining results.

With that said, most people who have undergone bariatric surgery find the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Some positive effects of this procedure include:

  • Reduction of body weight, often as much as 50% to 80%
  • Resolution of weight-related health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Improved self-image and confidence

Remember: Obesity is a serious problem that can be life-threatening. For many, losing the weight quickly through surgical measures is essential to their health and well-being. Delaying the procedure or trying to lose weight naturally may prolong – and increase the severity of – their obesity-related health issues.

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