Published on March 03, 2020

Bariatric Surgery Is a Helpful Tool—Not the Whole Toolbox

Woman eating healthyWhen you buy a hammer for a home improvement project, you’ve got a tool for doing the job. But the project still takes work to complete.

The same is true when you undergo bariatric (weight-loss) surgery for health improvement. Surgery is a tool, but it still takes effort and commitment to get the best results. Contrary to what some people think, surgery isn’t a quick fix.

Giving Your Health a Makeover

Bariatric surgery can lead to substantial weight loss over time. Results vary, depending on the individual and procedure. Overall, however, nine out of 10 people who undergo bariatric surgery can maintain a loss of 50 percent or more of their excess weight. That, in turn, helps reduce or eliminate many weight-related health issues, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

Bariatric surgery can jumpstart these changes. But it’s not a replacement for healthy habits. Think of it this way: Most home remodeling projects can’t be done with a hammer alone. Similarly, lasting weight loss after surgery calls for other tools in your toolbox, too.

Building Healthy Habits for Life

For the best results, bariatric surgery should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Other components of a successful plan include:

  • Healthy eating habits, which help you lose more weight after surgery and keep it off. Eating protein at every meal or snack helps you feel full for longer. Limiting foods with added sugars and refined grains (such as white breads and pastas) may enhance your weight-loss results.
  • Regular physical activity, which helps maintain your weight loss over the long term. Grueling workouts aren’t necessary, however.
  • Consistent, moderate activity is often more useful in the long run.
  • Dietary supplements, which you’ll need to take for the rest of your life. You may also need to get periodic lab tests.
  • Follow-up health care, which helps you stay on track. As time goes by, there will undoubtedly be changes in your life. Your bariatric care team can offer tips on managing new challenges that come up.

Renovating your lifestyle takes work, but the good habits you learn are built to last a lifetime.