Take These Steps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

It’s no surprise that following healthy habits is especially challenging this time of year. Holiday treats pop up everywhere – the breakroom, gatherings with friends and family, work parties, and cookie swaps. How do you avoid holiday weight gain with so much temptation? Here is the answer – you need a plan to stay in control of your eating and stay on track with healthy lifestyle habits.

Download On Track with Barix: Take These Steps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain 

How to Plan for Success

A plan to have a free-for-all during the holidays and start back on your eating/exercise plan in January is sure to result in weight gain. Instead, set limits and stick to your goals. Avoid, limit, and replace foods and habits that don’t align with your goals. Starting 2023, a little leaner, more capable, and more confident will be great.

Your plan should take into account past struggles. For example, suppose you tend to stress over shopping. In that case, you may want to consider shopping ahead of time and simplifying your list. Maybe your struggle is the constant barrage of sweet treats – have no-added-sugar treats available to enjoy.

Before the bustle becomes full-blown, make a plan and a goal to make it to January without an extra pound gained. Below are some typical struggles encountered over the holidays and potential strategies to navigate them successfully.

Keep Stress at Bay

The holidays can be stressful. It’s worth thinking through this potential pitfall of the holidays since stress increases hormones related to cravings for junk food and weight gain.

To manage stress, you may plan to simplify holiday preparations, gift-giving, and celebrations. Other strategies could include the following:

  • Keep up with exercise
  • Add a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing.
  • Making time for self-care.

Physical Activity is a Must

It’s tempting to ditch your regular exercise routine when so many activities are vying for your attention. Exercise helps to relieve stress, increases metabolism, boosts mood, and helps you feel energetic – do you want to give that up? When time is at a premium, see if you can multitask:

  • Walk on the treadmill while watching the Holiday Channel.
  • Take the kids sledding (and maybe skip the cookie decorating).
  • Get your friends to sign up for a holiday fitness event instead of going out for drinks.

Remember that every step counts if you’re shooting for 10,000 steps a day,. Work to build in steps throughout the day.

Meal Prep Makes Daily Life Easier

Take the time meal to plan, prep, and stock up on healthy options. If you have healthy choices that you enjoy available, it will be much easier to limit or avoid foods that don’t fit into your plan. Buy foods in individual servings or prep and package to save time.

Keep Your Eating and Drinking Schedule

It’s easy to skip meals and snacks, but staying on schedule will help you make better food choices.

Eat foods in order. Start with protein. Next, eat vegetables, followed by a small amount of fruit or whole grain. Finally, if you want a little treat, make it no-added-sugar. Holiday meals can be high in simple carbs – you’ll naturally limit them if you prioritize protein and veggies.

Drink calorie-free beverages between meals.

Practice Avoidance

  • If the breakroom is always filled with treats, find another place to eat your lunch.
  • Don’t have holiday treats in your home – your family will have many opportunities to eat them elsewhere.
  • Hang out far away from the food/dessert table at a party.

Share Healthy Foods

  • Bring a healthy dish and a no-added-sugar treat to share. This way, you’re assured there will be something to eat that aligns with your lifestyle.
  • You’ll have some favorites to rely on if you try out recipes now.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

A lack of sleep can thwart your weight loss efforts in several ways.

  • Increased appetite.
  • More cravings for simple carbs.
  • Less likely to exercise.
  • Lowered metabolism.

Be Accountable

  • Weigh yourself regularly. Whatever works for you – once a day or once a week.
  • Track food and exercise – if you can’t squeeze it in daily, then three times a week.
  • Share your plan with a friend, family member, or accountability partner. Other weight loss surgery patients work great for this role.

Enjoy Non-Food Ways to Celebrate

The holidays are a time for celebration. Talk to friends and family about starting new traditions that don’t involve food. You could attend holiday concerts or shows, volunteer, make crafts (instead of cookies), attend church services, play games, or have a holiday exercise competition.

Find Joy While You Stay True to Healthy Habits  

It can be challenging to stay true to healthy habits over the holidays. You may feel that people expect you to bake cookies, drink eggnog, or splurge and eat larger portions or foods you usually avoid. Staying true to healthy habits is staying true to the #1 reason you had surgery in the first place.

Reach Out for Support

What works well for one may not work for you. If you get off track, don’t let it completely derail you. Reach out if you need to – your Barix team is here to support you as you reach your dreams and goals. Making it to January without weight gain may not be easy, but it is possible. We’re here to help.

Have a Joyful Holiday Season

Having a plan can help you feel in control. It can help you relax and enjoy the people and activities that make the holidays special. We at Barix wish you and your family the best as you learn new ways to find joy and meaning this holiday season.

Posted in On Track With Barix Newsletter | Comments Off on Take These Steps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Take these 7 steps to get the most from your Weight Loss Surgery

Surgery is the beginning of a new way of living – one that makes health a top priority. And the benefits are nothing short of amazing! When surgery is combined with seven specific behaviors, the rewards are multiplied. Consistently putting effort into these steps can pay off in a big way.

Download OnTrack with Barix: Take these 7 steps to get the most from your Weight Loss Surgery

Step 1: Track

Tracking provides valuable insight into current behaviors. It highlights what we are doing right and shows us opportunities for improvement. Over time, it can help us reach our goals. Studies show that people who track food intake and exercise are more likely to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off. Reasons why it works:

  • Tracking keeps us aware of what we are eating and how much we are moving.
  • When we track foods, we can weed out the foods we thought were “pretty healthy” but turned out to be higher in calories or added sugar than we realized.
  • Tracking may cause us to pause before eating and consider if the food helps us meet our goals.
  • Whatever numbers are vital to you; tracking provides them. You may track calories, protein, steps taken, vegetable servings, water intake, consistency of supplements, or other relevant numbers.
  • Tracking allows you to see how shifts in your intake and lifestyle impact your weight over time.
  • Portion distortion is a real thing. Tracking makes it clear that, although the portion size listed for almonds is 24 nuts, 15 almonds may be the portion you need if you’ve allotted 100 calories for a snack.

Setting, tracking, and meeting goals gives you a sense of accomplishment and encourages you to do more. 

Step 2: Eat Right

It’s easy to rely on fast and convenient highly processed foods. But these foods hijack your appetite and can limit your success after surgery.  You’ll eat better and consume fewer calories if you free up time to prepare foods at home. Start with a plan and then prep on your day off. You may want to put foods into single-serving containers for future meals and snacks. 

Eat the right foods.

  • Start with lean protein-rich foods and fresh vegetables. Add fresh fruits, small servings of whole grains, and healthy fat.
  • Eat mostly fresh, unprocessed foods.
  • Strive to meet your protein goal daily. It helps you maintain muscle and feel more satisfied. Initially, most protein will come from protein drinks. After you’ve healed, most protein should come from food.
  • Limit simple carbs – foods with added sugars, crackers, granola bars, rice, pasta, potatoes, and bread.
  • Choose carbs from low-fat dairy, fresh veggies and fruits, and small amounts of whole grains.
  • Keep between-meal fluids calorie-free. Milk and protein drinks count as a meal or snack. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Alcohol can also contribute significantly to caloric intake and may slow weight loss.
  • Log food intake to be sure to meet nutrition goals.
  • Eat six small meals.
  • Eating small frequent meals can help to maximize weight loss.
  • Eat every 2 ½ to 3 hours.
  • Keep portions in check. Eat ¼ cup to 1 cup of food per meal/snack.
  • Take 20 minutes to eat, then stop and put the food away. Don’t eat or drink calories between meals.
  • Sip on calorie-free and non-carbonated beverages starting 30 minutes after each meal.

Step 3: Move More

Regular exercise will help you to reach your goal weight and reduce your risk of weight regain. But the benefits go beyond weight control and include:

  • Exercise boosts mental health by improving outlook, reducing stress, and lowering anxiety.
  • You’ll lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer.
  • The capacity increases for physical activity, even simple things like walking up a flight of steps.
  • Sleep improves.

The benefits of regular exercise work in synergy to help improve results after surgery. After all, you’re more likely to make positive lifestyle choices when you feel better, and it’s not as hard to move.

Use your current fitness and comfort levels to set goals. Start small, track, and be consistent. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your body responds. Keep it as simple as counting steps or have a different activity each day – it’s up to you. As you lose weight and improve your fitness, you’ll need to increase your effort to get the same benefits. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out.

Step 4: Supplements

Taking the right supplements after surgery is crucial. You’ll need a multivitamin, calcium citrate, and vitamin D3. Talk with your surgeon or nutritionist for individual recommendations.

Step 5: Manage Stress and Emotions

Chronic stress can increase weight by releasing hormones, including cortisol and insulin. Hunger is increased, and fat storage is maximized. Regularly practicing stress management techniques can help reduce the stress response. Methods can be as simple as a breathing exercise or a stroll around the block.

Many of us have learned to eat in response to emotional highs and lows. Celebrating, grieving, happiness, and sadness all involve food when food isn’t what we really need. Celebrate with dancing, music, sharing the news with someone close, or a non-food reward. Find comfort with a warm bath, a cup of hot tea, a call to a friend, or a walk around the block.

Eating in response to stress and emotions can limit success with weight loss surgery. If you graze all day, feel that your eating is out of control, or continually make poor food choices, you may want to engage the help of a trained therapist.

Step 6: Sleep

A lack of quality sleep contributes to weight gain. Crazy, but those with poor sleep habits often eat less, exercise more, and still gain weight compared to those with adequate sleep. Who knew? Most of us need 7-9 hours of sleep a night to function at our best.

The bottom line is– good sleep is crucial. Here are some ideas to consider for getting the most out of your nights:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night. You’ll sync your body’s circadian rhythm (natural sleep cycle).
  • Keep your bedroom as quiet as possible. Use white noise or earplugs for unavoidable sounds like neighborhood dogs and traffic.
  • Sleep in the dark – light interrupts the circadian rhythm.
  • Keep your room cool and well-ventilated.
  • Put a bedtime routine in place to let your body know it’s time to unwind.
  • Turn off the television, cell phone, and computers an hour before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol, excessive fluid intake, heavy meals, greasy foods, and spicy foods in the evening.
  • Caffeine is for the morning—even an early caffeinated drink can impact your sleep.
  • You may want to include a light snack as part of your evening routine.
  • Exercise in the morning or early afternoon promotes a restful night’s sleep.
  • Use relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or visualization if stressful thoughts keep you up.

Step 7: Stay Connected

Over time, the natural tendency is to become complacent with our new eating and exercise habits. Old habits creep in here and there. One way to stay on guard is to be connected with other people who have had weight loss surgery. The Barix Clinics Facebook Support Group is an excellent way to do just that. It’s inspiring to see amazing before and after transformations. It’s motivating to read exercise posts.

Stay connected to your nutritionist and surgeon’s office too. We are here to help and support you along the way. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t a once-and-done feat but a life-long trek.

Additional Steps

  • Medications and medical conditions can affect your weight loss. Work with your primary care physician to manage medical conditions to minimize their impact on your weight loss. Medical conditions that can impact your weight loss include:
    • Low thyroid.
    • Medications can slow weight loss.
    • Joint pain can slow you down.
  • A probiotic supplement may reduce digestive discomfort, maintain higher vitamin B12 levels, and increase weight loss.
Posted in On Track With Barix Newsletter | Comments Off on Take these 7 steps to get the most from your Weight Loss Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Recovery Time Guide

You’ve done your research, attended a consultation, satisfied the insurance requirements, and now you have a surgery date! You probably feel both excitement and apprehension. After all, gastric sleeve surgery is life-changing. Clear expectations can help you more confidently navigate the first days and weeks after surgery. To help you prepare for life after surgery:

  • This blog post outlines expectations for the first weeks and months after surgery during your gastric sleeve recovery time.
  • Use the resources provided by Barix Clinics nutritionists to gain familiarity with the nutrition plan to follow after surgery.
  • Gain insight and inspiration from the Barix Clinics online support group. There, people who have already been through surgery are ready to answer your questions and help as you recover from gastric sleeve surgery.

Hospital Stay After Gastric Sleeve Surgery 

Most people have some anxiety about the procedure itself. Rest assured, Barix Clinics has over 30 years of experience providing bariatric surgery – and it’s all they do. They’ve earned the CareChex Safety Award 5 years in a row. You’re in good hands with highly skilled surgeons and support staff working in a specialty hospital.


The nurses here are the absolute best!  –Amber S.


If you’re wondering, “How long does the gastric sleeve surgery take?” the procedure itself generally takes under an hour. There will be some small incisions on your abdomen. Most people will spend one night in the hospital before continuing to recover at home.

Although individuals respond differently to pain, discomfort after surgery is typically moderate – managed at first with IV pain medication and later with oral medications.

While in the hospital, your diet will progress from nothing by mouth, to ice chips, to a clear liquid diet. You’ll be on a full liquid diet when you are discharged and can return home.

Frequent walking for short distances is encouraged and will help you feel better.

You’ll be discharged with a list of instructions and phone numbers to call if you have questions.

Gastric Sleeve Recovery at Home 

Most people are happy to continue their recovery in the comfort of their own homes. It’s not unusual to experience a wide range of emotions in the first days and weeks after surgery.

Continue to take frequent walks, increasing distance and speed as tolerated. You can add other forms of exercise six weeks from surgery when restrictions are removed by your surgeon.

As you increase activity at home, pain may also slightly increase. Patients often experience the most pain between days 3-6. Most discomfort is usually located at the larger incision site. If your current pain management is not controlling pain adequately, contact your surgeon’s office.

Your top nutrition priority is drinking at least 64 ounces of fluid daily. You’ll also want to use protein drinks, low-sugar yogurt without fruit, milk, and other protein-rich full liquids to meet your protein goal. Your diet will progress in the coming weeks. Follow the guidance of your Barix Clinics nutritionists.

 

How Long Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Take to Heal? When to Go Back to Work

You’ll want to take enough time away from work to rest and recover. Those who work from home or have sit-down jobs may be ready to go back to work sooner than others. Some people will need more time. Almost everyone is back to work within 4-6 weeks. Your surgeon can give you more specific guidelines based on your situation. 

As You Continue to Recover and Adjust to a New Lifestyle

Seeing the rapid weight loss in the first weeks and months following surgery is encouraging and energizing. Most will lose 5-10% of excess weight two weeks from surgery, 10-15% within six weeks, and 20-35% within three months. Joint pain often subsides, and many health conditions see improvement.

You’ll continue to adjust to a new way of eating and drinking:

  • It’s common to have less interest in food yet still crave some favorite junk foods.
  • You’ll find simple meals and snacks often work best when relying less on convenience foods.
  • You’ll still need to be mindful to drink adequate calorie-free and noncarbonated fluid between meals. As you heal, it gets easier since you can drink a little faster.
  • Eating six small protein-rich meals is an adjustment for most. This eating style is easier if you do some planning and prepping.
  • Taking small bites and chewing foods well takes practice until it becomes automatic.
  • You’ll identify foods that taste good and are easily tolerated. It’s fun to explore new nutritious foods – ones that you can make at home like these delicious black bean brownies.

Activity as You Recover from Gastric Sleeve Surgery

After six weeks, your surgeon may remove lifting restrictions opening up more exercise options. You may decide to expand your exercise program with something like water aerobics, lifting weights, exercise classes, working out at the gym, or a combination of activities. Increasing the duration and intensity of activities will help you build endurance, lose more fat, and maintain muscle. 

Follow-up Appointments after Gastric Sleeve Surgery 

A commitment to follow up with your surgeon and the Barix Clinics nutritionists regularly after surgery is essential. Generally, appointments are scheduled for two weeks, six weeks, three months, six months, nine months, twelve months, and then annually after surgery. If you’re doing great, it may be tempting to skip these appointments, but they are a vital part of your success. In addition to answering your questions, your surgeon and nutritionist will provide support to make sure you:

  • are on track with your weight loss
  • are meeting your nutrition goals and are making healthy food choices
  • have implemented behaviors that support a healthy weight
  • are taking appropriate vitamins
  • have lab values within normal ranges

Support After Gastric Sleeve Surgery 

Life happens. The holidays happen. Covid 19 happened. Complacency happens. Continued support can help you navigate successfully through uncharted territory.  At Barix Clinics, support can come from your surgeon and their staff, our team of nutritionists, and other patients through our online support group. You don’t need to do it alone. We are all here to help you continue and get back on along the path to success.

If You’re Considering Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Perhaps you found this post, and you’re not scheduled for surgery but are researching and thinking about it. If so, know that gastric sleeve surgery is life-changing. It empowers people to live a better life. The team at Barix Clinics will guide you through the steps before surgery and recovery and help you put lifestyle habits in place that support a healthy weight. The first step is to attend a consultation. You can submit information on our website, and we’ll call you with more information, or you can call us directly at 800-282-0066.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Gastric Sleeve Surgery Recovery Time Guide

Bariatric Surgery: Before and After Photos

Each person has unique aspirations for their life after weight loss surgery.  Some have specific goals, while others find it hard to envision life after weight loss. Reading about how others have overcome obesity to live a more fulfilling life can help you see that new life for yourself.

The Before and After Bariatric Surgery Experience

Below are three stories with before and after pictures and a few unexpected WOW moments to show just how transformative bariatric surgery can be.

Katie’s Story |  Weight Loss Surgery 2017

Katie saves animals in her spare time! She’s active with her family, job, and hundreds of animals who depend on her. When the aches, pains, and energy drain from excess weight started to slow her down, Katie took action. Now that she’s at a healthy weight, Katie pushes herself to do more, never backing down from a challenge.  Here’s Katie’s story with her before and after pictures:

I run an equine rescue center and have always been very active, but the excess weight took a toll on me. Joint pain and low energy made the daily chores at the rescue center hard to do. I needed to feel better – for myself, my family, and the hundreds of animals who depend on me. It was time for a change.

I had been contemplating bariatric surgery for over ten years. After being weight shamed at a clinic near my home, I was on a mission to find a place that didn’t treat me that way. Barix Clinics kept coming up in conversations, so I drove over 2 hours to check it out.

I knew this was where I was supposed to be the minute I walked in. I had the highest quality experience.  Every aspect of the program, including the insurance coordinators, nurses, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, and the receptionist, was staffed with professional and friendly people.

I joined the Barix Facebook support group immediately. It has been invaluable – helping me navigate post-bariatric surgery life. I have had excellent, timely, and well-explained follow-up appointments. The staff is always willing to answer questions when I call. Transitioning to new eating habits was not nearly as hard as I expected.

I am back to myself! I am energetic and outwork the youngsters around the farm. I can keep up with my crazy lifestyle without fatigue, and my knees feel amazing.

Shawn’s Story  |  Weight Loss Surgery 2013

Shawn was facing the big 4-0 birthday and didn’t like what he saw. His health was going downhill fast, and he was missing out on all the fun. Now, life couldn’t get better. Here’s Shawn’s story with his before and after pictures:

I was a 36-year-old 394-pound professional who had everything in life except my health. Even with high doses of medication, I couldn’t get my blood pressure under control. I had joint pain, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes.

I wanted to go zip-lining, ride roller coasters, and get the thrill of white water rafting. I couldn’t even travel on an airplane without feeling self-conscious and out of place.

With the big 4-0 birthday coming up, I decided if any time was right, it was the present. I wanted to reach that milestone birthday in the best shape of my life.

Barix Clinics was great! I had a great experience with everyone there -my surgeon, his staff, and the surgical and nursing staff at the hospital. I have recommended Barix Clinics to others.

Now, life is AWESOME. I’m living life to the fullest. I’ve been riding roller coasters at Cedar Point, snow skiing, hiking 10-mile mountain trails, cycling 15+ miles at a time, and keeping a daily gym routine. Life couldn’t be better!

Elena’s Story  | Weight Loss Surgery 2015

Elena was tired of sitting on the sidelines. That’s not her anymore – she’s full of energy playing alongside her kids. Here’s Elena’s story with her before and after pictures:

I taught in a high school where breakfast, lunch, and snack foods were up for grabs. I led a very sedentary life—our main form of entertainment was going out to eat.  As my weight increased, I couldn’t keep up with my two small children.

My best friend asked me to be her maid of honor. I was embarrassed when I couldn’t find a dress for her wedding that fit. At about the same time, I started a new job, and a co-worker showed me pictures of her transformation from bariatric surgery.  I knew I needed to make a change and found Barix Clinics in my research.

At Barix, I have never felt like I was a number. I met with the surgeon individually during the initial consult. He answered all my questions, made me feel at home, and discussed different surgery options—just an honest discussion. My husband was initially apprehensive about the surgery, and the doctor took time to answer his questions and put him at ease.

Life has been so different since surgery. I monitor my food intake and have a social life, but I have learned balance. The gym is my new “high” versus going to meet for dinner and drinks. I run six days a week. I have completed two half marathons and am considering a full marathon. I no longer sit on the sidelines in a folding chair but participate in my kid’s sports activities. I was overweight for 20 years and to be in single-digit-sized clothing and be called “skinny” by my daughter is mindboggling.

Unexpected WOW Moments

Weight loss surgery has many predictable results -weight is lost, health conditions improve, and moving is much easier. But what about those unexpected experiences that positively WOW people? We asked Barix Clinics patients to tell us their WOW moments – they are so inspiring that we decided to share a few with you. Enjoy!

I ran my first 5k race. I had a healthy, complication-free pregnancy and lost all the baby weight two weeks after delivery. I fit into a roller coaster seat again! When my son hugged me and said, “Look, Mom, my arms touch!” My WOW moments are when my husband looks at me like he used to when we met. I shop at Wal-Mart WITHOUT a cart to hold me up. I fit into a size 2 just 14 months after WLS. Who knew I had feet!! Before surgery, I could barely walk to the mailbox, and I’m now looking forward to a 50-mile biking weekend. My WOW moment happened about a year after surgery. I went to a graduation party and sat down next to my sister. She didn’t know who I was until she heard my voice!

Bariatric Surgery Before and After Pictures: A Snapshot of Success

Our patient success stories help highlight the life-changing difference bariatric surgery can make.

Call us if you think you may be ready to transform your life. Meeting with a surgeon at Barix Clinics is the best way to get all the facts and decide if weight loss surgery is for you.

 

Posted in Inspiration | Comments Off on Bariatric Surgery: Before and After Photos

Bariatric Surgery Statistics and Facts to Know

It’s hard to miss. Seventy-three percent of American adults are overweight with a body mass index (BMI) over 25. And forty-two percent of adults have obesity – a BMI over 30.

It’s clear people are trying to lose weight – each year, 33 billion dollars are spent on weight-loss products. People often lose significant amounts of weight with diet and exercise. However, it is rare to keep the weight off – the odds are less than 3%. What’s going on? There is a disconnect somewhere.

Even while eating a modest number of calories, the body’s powerful mechanisms cause it to return to its set-point weight. It’s discouraging. Time, energy, and money are invested into what seems to be a solid nutrition plan, exercise program, or medication. There are results. But then, leptin (the satisfaction hormone) decreases, and ghrelin (the hunger hormone) increases. The person is powerless as the scale creeps upward – often past the starting weight.

Obesity isn’t as simple as carrying around extra weight. It is a complex metabolic disease – stressing and straining every system in the body. As time passes, obesity-related conditions crop up, health deteriorates, and quality of life decreases.

There is an answer and an effective treatment for obesity – bariatric surgery. In contrast to diet and exercise alone, bariatric surgery causes a change in hormones, reducing hunger and promoting fat loss. It typically results in long-term weight loss. (2)

If you’re considering bariatric or weight loss surgery, you have questions. Here are some bariatric surgery statistics and facts to know as you look into options for treating and resolving your obesity.

How Many People Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Over 250,000 people had bariatric surgery in 2021. (1)

How Much Weight Can I Lose With Bariatric Surgery?

Success after weight loss surgery is defined as losing at least 50% of excess weight and keeping it off for five years or more. About 90% of people reach that goal. Many people lose more. The amount of weight that is lost and kept off depends on several factors:

  •   Age
  •   Amount of extra weight to lose
  •   Other health conditions and medications
  •   Type of bariatric surgery
  •   Physical ability to exercise
  •   Following nutrition/lifestyle recommendations
  •   Support of family and friends

Weight Regain After Weight Loss Surgery

Even those most successful with weight loss surgery can experience some weight regain. Weight loss surgery overcomes the robust systems the body has to return to its higher set point. But, after surgery, many things have not changed. Jobs are still sedentary. Fast food is still convenient. Large sums of money are spent to market obesity-promoting foods, while virtually no money is spent promoting lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits. A high priority on health must stay in place to overcome daily temptations. In simple terms, maintaining a healthy weight takes work.

Up to 1/3 of people will regain more than 15% of their initial weight loss within 2-5 years of surgery. (5) This can happen for several reasons:

  •  Change in anatomy – enlargement of the stomach or stomach outlet
  •  Physiological – altered fat metabolism resulting in easy fat storage and reduced fat burning
  •   Psychological – depression, lack of self-efficacy, binge eating, alcohol or drug dependence
  •   Behavioral – inactivity, not following eating guidelines, grazing (unplanned and repetitive eating of small amounts of food)

To prevent regain, stay in close contact with your bariatric team after surgery. At Barix Clinics, follow up appointments are scheduled with the surgeon (or physician’s assistant) and the nutritionist 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months and then annually after surgery.  We help you put behaviors in place that support a healthy weight for the long-term.

If you do start to regain weight, reach out to your nutritionist and your surgeon’s office right away. We are here to help. You may be a candidate for weight loss medication or benefit from more structured nutrition guidance.

Does Weight Loss Surgery Help People Live Longer?

Yes, it’s estimated that people without type 2 diabetes will live 5.1 years longer with weight loss surgery. Those with Type 2 diabetes increase their life expectancy even more – by 9.3 years. Both gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery provide this astounding result. (3)

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe?

On its website, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery shares that weight loss surgery is safer than gallbladder or knee replacement surgery. There are short-term and long-term risks from any surgical procedure. To determine if your individual benefits outweigh potential risks, attend a consultation with a bariatric surgeon and discuss with your primary care physician.

As a result of a long-term commitment to patient safety, Barix Clinics in Ypsilanti, Michigan, has earned the CareChex® 2022 Patient Safety Award for bariatric surgery, recognizing them as the safest hospital in the Midwest. State-of-the-art technology, experienced surgeons, and decades of caring for weight loss surgery patients set Barix Clinics apart from other providers.

Is Type 2 Diabetes Cured with Weight Loss Surgery?

In the first few weeks after surgery, 90% of people with type 2 diabetes see improvements in blood sugar control and are able to reduce or eliminate medications.

Although many people have normal blood sugar levels and no longer require medication, weight loss surgery isn’t necessarily a cure for type 2 diabetes. Perhaps remission is a better description because there is the potential for relapse over time.

Even if it’s not a cure, bariatric surgery is more effective in treating type 2 diabetes than medication. Researchers of one study stated, “Bariatric surgery is believed to be the only reliable means of achieving diabetes remission.” (4)

Do Other Health Conditions Improve with Weight Loss Surgery?

Effectively treating obesity with weight loss surgery brings about remarkable improvements in many weight-related conditions.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Within six months of surgery, more than 70% of those taking medication to control high blood pressure have normal blood pressure readings without medication.

Heart Disease

There’s an 83% lower risk of heart disease after weight loss surgery. It’s no wonder since bariatric surgery improves many of the conditions that lead to heart disease:

  •   High cholesterol – 80% resolved
  •   High blood pressure – 70% resolved
  •   Sleep apnea – 74-98% resolved
  •   Type 2 diabetes – 90% improved

Breathing Problems

Shortness of breath, experienced by many with obesity, improves quickly with weight loss seen in the first months following surgery. Sleep apnea, where breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping, is resolved in 74-98% of people. Asthma is improved or resolved in 82% of people. Oxygen once again circulates freely through the body, boosting energy, helping to replace worn-out cells, and supporting the immune system.

Aches and Pains

Relief to the aches and pains of the hips, knees, feet, and lower back is swift. It often begins the first month after surgery as inflammation cools and then more relief comes with additional weight loss. It’s tremendous – each pound of weight loss takes six pounds of pressure off the knees. With less pain, there is a greater inclination to get out and enjoy life more.

Other Medical Conditions

Those undergoing bariatric surgery see marked improvements in other medical conditions:

  •   Pseudotumor cerebri – 96% resolved
  •   Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – 90% improved stenosis
  •   Metabolic Syndrome – 80% resolved
  •   Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – 79 -100% resolved
  •   Venous Stasis Disease – 95% resolved
  •   Gout – 77% resolved
  •   Depression – 55% resolved
  •   Degenerative Joint Disease – 41-76% resolved
  •   Migraines – 57% resolved
  •   Stress urinary incontinence – 44-88% resolved

Does Insurance Pay for Bariatric Surgery?  

Insurance coverage is a necessary consideration for most people. Fortunately, many commercial insurance plans, Medicare, Blue Cross, and BlueCare Network, will cover bariatric surgery if specific criteria are met. The majority of insurers require:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 without an obesity-related condition**
  • A BMI of 35 or greater with an obesity-related condition
  • Past attempts at weight loss
  • Pass a physiological exam
  • Some insurers may require smoking cessation
  • Some insurers require you to work with a physician to change eating habits before surgery
  • Some insurers require a nutritional evaluation with a registered dietitian

**Medicare requires everyone to have an obesity-related condition (comorbidity) regardless of BMI.

The out-of-pocket cost for the patient depends on the co-pay and deductible amounts of the insurance plan.

The Bottom Line

When patients start to lose weight after surgery, they feel more energetic, have less pain, and are more enthusiastic about getting out and experiencing life. Weight-related health conditions improve and a better quality of life is achieved.

References

(1)   Long-term Study of Bariatric Surgery for Obesity: LABS https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/research-areas/obesity/longitudinal-assessment-bariatric-surgery

(2)   Bariatric Surgery FAQs: Patients: ASMBS https://asmbs.org/patients/faqs-of-bariatric-surgery

(3)   https://www.jwatch.org/na53611/2021/05/25/bariatric-surgery-associated-with-longer-life-expectancy

(4)   Arterburn, David, et al. “Comparative effectiveness of bariatric surgery vs. nonsurgical treatment of type 2 diabetes among severely obese adults.” Obesity research & clinical practice vol. 7,4 (2013): e258-68. doi:10.1016/j.orcp.2012.08.196

(5)   Firat, Ozgur. “Weight regain after bariatric surgery.” Annals of Laparoscopic and Endoscopic Surgery [Online], 6 (2021): n. pag. Web. 15 Jun. 2022

 

Posted in Pre-Surgery | Comments Off on Bariatric Surgery Statistics and Facts to Know