If you're considering weight loss surgery, it's important not to take the matter lightly. It's a life-changing decision, and a big step you should evaluate with the help of your doctor. You need to think about how this will affect your life. A weight loss surgery is not a magic solution – just something to push you in the right direction, but the outcome will still depend on you only. Here are the basic questions you need to ask yourself to determine whether this surgery is the smartest choice you can make in your weight loss journey.
Am I a Good Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight loss surgery is recommended for patients who have found themselves in one of the following circumstances: they have over 100 pounds of excess weight to lose; their BMI is over 35; they have tried many other weight loss treatments, and failed; they are in good health; and they are willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes to be applied right after the surgery. If this is you, then you can go under the knife.
Do I Have Any Weight-Related Medical Conditions?
As you might already know, being morbidly obese can cause or worsen conditions such as sleep apnoea, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In some cases, these conditions can make you a good candidate for the surgery, as the weight loss afterwards can improve their symptoms or even reverse the condition. However, in others, they may affect your ability to withstand the procedure. Talk it through with your doctor, as he or she will be able to tell you more.
Have I Tried Losing Weight Any Other Way?
If you've tried losing weight with diet and exercise, but to no avail, surgery might be a good option for you. After you've tried to lose a lot of weight on your own but with no success, what follows is usually a medical weight loss program, working with a dietitian on a supervised diet plan tailored for you. If this has not generated any success either, the weight loss surgery might be the next step.
Have I Researched the Different Types of Surgery?
A "weight loss surgery" is an umbrella term that covers several different procedures. The three common types are the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, that creates a bypass and restricts how much food you eat before feeling uncomfortable; the band-inserting gastric band surgery, and sleeve gastrectomy, that involves removal of the left side of the stomach. Each of these has different risks and benefits, and you should get informed on each before choosing the right one. Of course, the choice has to be made together with your physician.
How Much Does It Cost? Will My Insurance Cover it?
Depending on the procedure, the surgery costs from around $10,000 to $30,000. Check with your insurance provider whether they cover this procedure. Most of the insurance company will cover it if it is medically necessary due to other health issues caused by the excess weight. But even without the coverage, many people feel that the surgery is worth the investment as it improves their overall health and mobility, quality of life, and the ability to make more money in the future.
Am I Ready for Major Changes in My Lifestyle?
As we said, undergoing a surgery isn't a magical solution that will make you fit. You will still have to change your diet and eating habits dramatically, as well as start exercising. Sticking to your new lifestyle can easily be the hardest part of the process. Be sincere with yourself and know that the truly difficult process comes after the surgery and is likely to take about 6 months, a year, or even more – and then for a lifetime. Are you ready for that?
An honest conversation with yourself is the first step to take when considering a weight loss surgery. Only when you fulfil the criteria and feel you are ready to change will this come as a solution. Good luck!