Weight Loss: Best bariatric patients prepare early for success

The growing epidemic of obesity leads many people to consider surgical solutions for weight loss. Their motivation is more than simply a slimmer look; in addition to wear and tear on the body, obesity increases the risk of developing major health problems affecting other organ systems.

“Among other things, obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and even cancer,” says Dr. Michael J. Lee, director of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s bariatric surgery program.

Bariatric surgery can be a highly effective tool for patients who haven’t been successful with diets and exercise. When a person’s body mass index exceeds 35, maintaining long-term weight loss can be extremely difficult without bariatric surgery.

“The best patient is one who’s educated and committed and who prepares diligently in anticipation of surgery,” Dr. Lee says. “Weight loss doesn’t begin after bariatric surgery. It begins once you’re committed and trust the process that’s been proven to work.”

While surgery helps to curb hunger so you eat less, it doesn’t eliminate the work in choosing the types of food you eat. But with hard work and expert guidance along the way, most patients will reach their goals within two years, he notes.

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