So will it work?
I sometimes get asked this question after explaining I am going to undergo elective gastric surgery; and apart from being fully aware about the excellent weight loss that results from the procedure, I know it won’t be a magic cure for my weight issues. The cure for my weight loss comes in retraining myself to eat a healthy balanced diet once I am back on solid food and with the resultant weight loss, make it easier for me to increase my activity and be able to partake in a regular exercise program.
At present, a standard sized stomach can mange approximately 4 cups of chewed food. After the surgery is completed the stomach is so small it will only hold a table-spoon of food. It will also still be in the process of healing. This is why all calories are taken in liquid form for the first 3 or 4 weeks after surgery. If solid food is eaten, the risk of something becoming stuck in the stomachs new opening is an issue that can lead to vomiting and possibly damage to the newly reduced pouch. Eventually the liquid food is changed for puree and smoothies and if no issues are experienced, 6 to 8 weeks after surgery soft foods can be introduced and a healthy diet can be maintained as the stomach grows again slightly to allow eating the equivalent of almost a cup of chewed food. However, there is no bolting of food and eating on the run. All food must be chewed thoroughly 20 to 30 times at a minimum and each meal will take at least 30 minutes to eat.
There will be regular check ups at the hospital for two years following the surgery to ensure that I am getting the correct nutrition my body requires and that I am following a sensible exercise regimen. The Bariatric Clinic is set up so that people are contactable at most times through the day so they can offer help and support if I should happen to require it. I am fully aware of the failure rate of the surgery but do not plan on being in the small percentage that requires further procedures in order to deal with it, however sometimes you don’t always get what you wish for. The procedure I am having (Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy*) is about 10 years old and is still relatively new in terms of statistics but it does appear to be the one that works most efficiently arming the recipient with more tools to fight the battle of the bulge with most patients being expected to lose somewhere in the region of 60% of their excess BMI in the first year alone.
Now quite obviously I know that the real work starts after the operation and I am back on solid foods. I am hopfull that due to the small size of my “new” stomach and the reduction in the amount of Ghrelin (the hunger hormone), it will manage to curb my constant craving attitude toward food as there simply will not be any room for it. In the first weeks of liquids and puree’s I will be required to “eat” 6 times a day in order to get sufficient nutrition into my body however this does eventually reduce to the standard three small meals once solid food is once again being taken. I will also have to be selective about what I eat as there is no point in consuming the empty calories of sugary foods and alcohol. Again I suppose every once in a while a treat will be okay but not to the detriment of a lack of nutrition.
This is why wholesale changes to my life are expected. As I said yesterday, I will no longer be a drinker as I won’t have the room. If I do find myself in McDonalds a year down the line, it won’t be the end of the world as it will simply be a burger in a bun that will be on the menu as nothing else will fit. However, with a new lifestyle comes a new opportunity to change. I imagine that I will refrain completely from the fast food joints I have ever so considerately supported over the years, I will no longer be a bar fly and I will no longer be interested in the pursuits of one either.
I plan to change and grow and hope this opportunity really will be the making of me. I plan on being away as many weekends as I can, indulging in whatever new activities I take up. My blog in Huffington Post this week explains a little more about some of the things I would like to achieve after the weight loss has taken hold and I am fairly sure these will keep me busy thus making my life changes an easily acceptable process.
So the answer to the question (finally I hear you groan) is, it will work as long as I want it to and have the support network around me to continue its success into my greying years. Lets face it, if I have the surgery, ignore all of the benefits that I have received and start to pile the weight back on, I will not get a second chance to ensure I live longer without fear of Diabetes 2, Stroke, Heart Disease or Progressively Worsening Joint Issues all of which are by products of being a fat lad.
No brainer then is it?
Stay out of the fridge.
*Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, first developed about a decade ago, “was initially intended to be a primary intervention in high-risk patients before laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or as the first step of biliopancreatic diversion duodenal switch,” the authors noted in their introduction. But evidence has been mounting that sleeve gastrectomy itself is an effective surgery for weight loss.