By Laura DeAndrade, ANP-BC
- Myth: I am guaranteed to lose weight after weight loss surgery
- Myth: I can eat whatever I want after bariatric surgery but I just need to eat less of it.
- Myth: My insurance will pay for bariatric surgery.
- Myth: I don’t have to take vitamins after a sleeve gastrectomy.
- Myth: After my surgery I will just see the surgeon when I need to.
Reality: Nothing in life is a guarantee. Chances are that, YES, you will lose weight. But just because you had weight loss surgery does not guarantee you will lose weight. Surgery is designed to help ASSIST with weight loss efforts by controlling hunger and letting you feel full with far less food than you used to eat. Dietary and lifestyle modifications are still absolutely necessary after any bariatric surgical procedures or you face the possibility of losing no weight or gaining weight.
Reality: Dietary modifications after surgery are a lifelong commitment. The first year after surgery you will be focusing on a high protein and very low carbohydrate diet. Sugar intake will be quite minimal (or it should be). Even if you are eating very small meals, however these meals consist of junk foods, you will likely not lose much weight (or keep it off long-term). There is no weight loss procedure I know of that will make a person feel completely satisfied with 1 cookie or 3 potato chips. You will be able to eat these foods but the hope is that by avoiding them completely you do not have the desire to eat them at all. If you continue to make poor dietary choices you will most likely have a poor weight loss outcome.
Reality: Insurance companies have a strict list of criteria they follow in regards to approving coverage of bariatric procedures. For instance, if your BMI is over 40, most insurance companies do not require you to have any other obesity related medical condition and will cover surgery. If your BMI falls between 35-39.9 most insurance companies require that you have at least one obesity related co-morbidity (high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, etc).
Reality: Yes, you do! After any weight loss procedure, your dietary intake of food is limited. Therefore, the vitamins and minerals you once received from your food is now gone. Therefore, we recommend a multivitamin- usually twice daily. After a sleeve, a portion of your stomach is removed that is responsible for secreting a protein called intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor binds to dietary b12 and works as a vehicle for absorption of vitamin b12. After a sleeve you will need to supplement vitamin b12 either via sublingual or nasal spray form. Sublingual form allows b12 absorption to bypass the stomach and be absorbed via the capillaries under the tongue. Nasal spray forms are absorbed via the capillaries of the nose.
Reality: Your first few weeks after surgery will require visits on average every 2 weeks to the office to advance your diet and monitor your progress. After this it is recommended that you continue to come in monthly. These monthly appointments help you to stay on track, improve your outcomes answer any questions or concerns you may have. Even if you feel like you are doing well and there is not much to talk about we ask that you still come in for monthly appointments at least the first year. Patients who follow-up frequently, are patients who have positive long-term outcomes.