Shortcuts to Weightloss: From Surgery to Injections

After my 5 pm class at Gandhinagar on Friday evening, a few of the students got together to ask me an interesting question: What do I think of gastric bypass surgery? The reason for the question…. she went to a well known hospital on OMR and they casually recommended it to her as a means to weight loss and they made it sound like it was no big deal.

Needless to say, I proceeded to have a minor coronary attack. For the record, Gastric Bypass IS A BIG DEAL. A HUGE. BIG. FAT DEAL.

But this is not the only time I’ve been asked this question. So i figured I’ll write down all the major forms of weight loss surgery and the risks associated with it.

1) Gastric Bypass/ Bariatric Surgery


What does it involve?

Your surgeon will cut away a part of your stomach and create a smaller stomach. Your intestines are then also re-attached to the new stomach (Still think its no big deal to have more than half an organ missing and another one in a new position inside your body? Yeah.. i did not think so!)

How does it help? 

Your stomach is now the size of a grapefruit. Eat too much and you will throw up. The severe calorie deficit will result in rapid weight loss

Why its not worth it to most of us?

Gastric bypass comes with the severe risk of malabsorption and nutritional deficiency. Patients who undergo this procedure must take vitamin and dietary minerals above and beyond that of the normal population. Without these supplements, there is risk of serious deficiency diseases such as anemia and osteoporosis.

Because gallstones are a common complication of the rapid weight loss following any type of bariatric surgery, some surgeons remove the gallbladder as a preventive measure during BPD. Others prefer to prescribe medications to reduce the risk of post-operative gallstones

Alcohol also hits your bloodstream faster, so it is not uncommon to hear of people passing out after a glass of wine.

Why it ‘might’ just be recommended?

If you’re severely obese, and the risk of dying of a heart attack is greater than the risk of dying of anemia.. then maybe, just maybe it makes sense. But please, at least try to eat right and exercise before you make this decision.

2) Liposuction


What does it involve?

Under anaesthesia, your surgeon will make a small incision near the area where you’d like fat removed, and use a little tube to reach under your skin and remove fat. Much like a vacuum cleaner.. except, this is your body we’re talking about.

Compared to gastric bypass.. this procedure is relatively tame. But like all surgery.. it comes with risks

How does it help? 

It helps remove stubborn fat and contour the body.

Why its not worth it to most of us?

It leaves scars, takes about 6 months to heal and more importantly.. its not permanent. All your surgeon has done is remove existing fat from your body. Your bodies ability to absorb food and turn it into fat remains unharmed. So if you did not set up a lifestyle that can help maintain the loss of fat, you’ll put it all back on anyway.

Another problem: Unless you’re a young, non-smoking healthy individual, your bodies’ ability to bounce back from surgery might be quite minimal. So you could be left with loose/dimpled skin.

Why it ‘might’ just be recommended?

If you’ve come a long way in your weight loss journey and you have less than 3 kilos of stubborn fat that has a mind of its own and refuses to leave you AND it really really matters to the profession you’re in… then it might just work for you.

Personal opinion though.. give this one a miss and learn to like your curves.

3) Non-Invasive procedures that claim to sculpt the body in a few sittings.

What does it involve?

Depending on who you go to and what the procedure is, you might find yourself subjected to mild amounts of heat or electric current.

These procedures will in general do more harm to your wallet/bank balance than your love handles. And any weight lost will come right back if you don’t go back to a strict diet and exercise regimen

4) Crash Diets/ Pills/ HCG Injections

Will all work by either suppressing your appetite or upping your heart rate and are all equally unsafe.

Your body is not as stupid as you think, if you put it through a period of starvation, it will make up for it by lowering thyroid function, throwing out precious muscle tissue and waiting for its chance to hang on to the first bite of real food you eat.

You’ll come away weaker and eventually you’ll gain all the weight back.. and then some.

Conclusion: Exercise and sensible nutrition are still the only safe ways to lose weight. Everything else has its price. Instead of gaining and losing the same 5 kilos over and over and over again using a different method, go back to the basics and commit to doing it properly one last time.

Fitness is for life.




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