When Diets Aren’t Enough: Is Weight-Loss Surgery Right For You?

You may have seen it in the news: celebrities dropping out of sight, losing hundreds of pounds, then singing the praises of weight-loss surgery. Are you starting to wonder if weight-loss surgery might be right for you?

The decision is not to be taken lightly. Bariatric surgery — derived from the Greek words “weight” and “treatment” — permanently seals off most of the stomach to limit the amount of food you can eat. Like any surgery, it carries risks. And it changes your eating habits for life — whether you like it or not. Still, it can quickly help you lose weight and dramatically improve your health.

To see if it might be an option for you, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to each, see your doctor for more information.

  1. Have you repeatedly tried diets and exercise, or worked with a weight loss counselor?
  2. Do you have an obesity-related medical condition, or difficulty walking, working or caring for your family?
  3. Is your Body Mass Index (BMI) 40 or above (a serious health risk)? To determine your BMI, take your weight in pounds and multiply by 703.1. Divide that by your height in inches, then divide by your height in inches again.
  4. Are you prepared to follow a special diet for the rest of your life? Very small portions, vitamins and frequent doctor visits are required. Overeating can make you very ill. And milk shakes, high-fat and high-fiber foods may be off the menu forever.

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