Have you ever considered weight loss surgery? Unfortunately, most media tends to either show the best stories where people lose 100kg, start running marathons, get a promotion at work and meet the partner of their dreams, or the worst stories when people get terrible complications, end up in the Intensive Care Unit for a month, spend the rest of their life eating baby food and vomit after every meal. In reality, these types of scenarios occur in less than 1% of cases.

Let’s look at 5 common myths:

1. Weight loss surgery is a ‘last resort’

Research shows that losing and keeping off over 10% of your weight can significantly reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. Weight loss surgery can be a great tool for helping you to improve your health. People who have a BMI over 40, struggle to exercise due to injury or have significant weight-related medical conditions should consider weight loss surgery sooner, rather than later. But, it is not a ‘set and forget’ operation either. You will need to continue to work on choosing a nutritious diet and optimising your physical activity.

2. Weight loss surgery will cause you to get down to your ‘ideal body weight’

The average weight loss after surgery is 50% of your excess body weight. So, if you weigh 140kg and your ‘ideal body weight’ (BMI 25) is 80kg, your excess body weight is 60kg (140 – 80) and you should expect to lose about half of this; about 30kg. If your weight is 80kg and your ‘ideal body weight’ is 60kg, your excess body weight is 20kg, so you should expect to lose about 10kg.

Weight loss surgery is a tool and the better you learn how to use it, and the more time and effort you invest in your health, the more weight you will lose, surgery or not. The type of surgery that you choose will also have an impact on the amount of weight that you lose. For example, you are more likely to lose more weight if you choose a gastric bypass than if you choose a gastric band, but the biggest determinant of your weight loss after surgery is your eating and exercise habits.

3. Everyone will know you’ve had it done

Unless you tell people, they don’t have to know. Contrary to some myths, you do not have to eat mashed food for the rest of your life. In fact, you’ll get better results eating more solid foods. Vomiting occurs after eating too quickly or taking large mouthfuls, so if you learn to eat slowly and cut your food up properly, then you shouldn’t vomit at all.

4. Weight loss surgery is too expensive

If you are currently spending a lot of money on medications and specialists appointments, then you may find that weight loss surgery pays for itself quite quickly. Do the maths. However, I would always recommend that you have private health insurance as if something does go wrong and you end up in hospital for longer than you expected, it can become a very expensive experience.

5. Weight loss surgery is ‘cheating’

I see many people who feel guilty about undertaking weight loss surgery. Opting for weight loss surgery does not make you a ‘failure’, instead it can be a smart choice for some. And it does not make weight loss easy, just easier. I’ve seen many people who have had weight loss surgery, and still choose to eat treat foods on a daily basis. Obviously if you’re eating chocolate daily, you’re not going to lose much weight. For weight loss surgery to be worthwhile, you need to commit to regular education sessions with your bariatric team to learn how to get the best results from your procedure. It’s a good investment to spend six months optimising your eating and exercise habits before having your surgery done. Developing good habits like learning to eat slowly will help the transition after surgery much easier. Don’t consider weight loss surgery if you’re not ready to make significant changes to your lifestyle and eating habits.

If you’re wondering whether or not weight loss surgery is right for you, book a consultation to see us. We will undertake your initial assessment and consider your goals, medical conditions, medications, physical activity, body composition and lifestyle and assess whether it is going to be the best option to suit your needs.